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A Theatre In The Woods

I don’t know if it’s the setting, the plays, or the actors - probably a combination of all three, but there’s something truly special about the Black Hills Playhouse. The performing arts on display here will exceed your expectations and provide you with a truly unique experience.

Located just off the awe-inspiring Iron Mountain Road and the out-of-this-world Needles Highway you’ll find a stunning theatre in the middle of the woods. Black Hills Playhouse was created by Dr. Warren M. (Doc) Lee – a theater professor at the University of South Dakota - to house a variety of performances that would draw crowds from across the country. Today, Black Hills Playhouse remains South Dakota’s first homegrown professional theatre company. It’s a space for locals and visitors to enjoy high-quality entertainment and offers employment opportunities for students and theatre professionals.

Over the years, the facility and grounds have undergone many improvements. Originally, the company was housed in abandoned Civilian Conservation Corp buildings built in 1934. A new theatre was built in 1955, and was upgraded in 2008, 2011 and again in 2016. Where there use to be outhouses, now you’ll find modern bathrooms (yay!). Where there use to be dirt and gravel roads that visitors had to travel on to attend a play, you’ll now find them paved (also yay!). Since 2010, more than $1.6 million has been spent on making improvements to the playhouse while still preserving the history and atmosphere that makes it so unique.

Every summer, the playhouse rotates four to five different plays throughout the season, spanning all different genres. Over the years, the Black Hills Playhouse has put on some fantastic shows like Mamma Mia!, Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, and so many more. In 2020, the Black Hills Playhouse will be celebrating 75 years! The summer will offer the plays The Odd Couple, Something Rotten, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and A Gentleman's Guide. Check out their website for more information and a description of the shows being performed.

For more than 75 years, this theatre in the woods has been home to some of the most entertaining shows in the area and has transformed the lives of performers and visitors alike. While vacationing in Rapid City and the Black Hills, make sure to catch a performance at the Black Hills Playhouse.

Meet the Author

Kelsy Koerlin

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her two dogs and fiancé. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, at a local ice cream shop, or perhaps home taking a nap.

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Kelsy Koerlin
Social Media and Content Manager

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her two dogs and fiancé. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, at a local ice cream shop, or perhaps home taking a nap.

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