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Black Hills Playhouse


Turn Back O Man – Godspell – Black Hills Playhouse 2012


From the Black Hills Playhouse 2012 Production of “Godspell,” Sonia – Samantha Barboza and Jesus – Patrick Beasley

The Black Hills Playhouse 

An American theater located just off the Needles Highwayand Iron Mountain Road in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The playhouse is managed by Black Hills Playhouse Inc. It is one of the oldest continuously operated summer stock theaters in America. Founded in 1946 by University of South Dakota drama professor Dr. Warren M. Lee, the Black Hills Playhouse and its dormitories for actors had been constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. The current theater was built in 1955. New Dormitories for its theatrical company were built between 1979 and 1982. Leonard Anderson took over as the Managing Director in 1976. In 1987 Jan Swank became Managing Artistic Director. In 2007 a restructuring occurred and Bruce Halverson was hired as the Executive Director with Dan Workman as the Artistic Director and Debra Kern Workman as the Business Manager. In 2008 Michael Burgraff became the Executive Director.

In December of 2010, Linda Anderson was named Executive Director and Dan Workman was named Artistic Director.

In 2011, a successful fundraising campaign raised $500,000 to make improvements to the historic campus. The theater roof structure was strengthened and the building was brought up to 2011 building codes, including covered stairwells, new fire suppression system, a new sanded paver system and sidewalks outside of the building. In addition, a new dining hall was constructed and the snack bar structure foundation was strengthened.

The Black Hills Playhouse is affiliated with the University of South Dakota. Each summer 5 to 6 plays are offered covering musicals, drama, and comedies. The playhouse also supports an outreach program for children called the Children’s Theater Company of South Dakota.

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