Nick was appointed joint Executive Director of Black Hills Community Theatre and the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City in April 2014. He started his arts administration career with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Northwestern University in the 90’s, worked for the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for nearly ten years, and recently led the WYO Theater, Sheridan, Wyoming through a $5 million capital facility project. He has a Bachelor’s of Music from University of Arizona and a Masters of Music from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
Zach Curtis hails from Minneapolis, MN, where he spent the first 23 years of his theatrical career as a freelance actor and director. For nine seasons he served as the Artistic Director of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji MN (the oldest professional summer stock theater in the state), making him the longest tenured AD in their history. Prior to PBP, Zach was the Artistic Director for ten seasons for the critically acclaimed Fifty Foot Penguin Theater, which City Pages named “Best Independent Theater in the Twin Cities” in 2002. Zach has directed over 100 shows for dozens of theaters, including Park Square, Commonweal, Actors Theatre of MN, Pioneer Place Theatre Company, Lyric Arts, Artistry MN and Theatre L’Homme Dieu.
As an actor, Zach is an 18 year member of Actors Equity, and has appeared in over 100 productions across Minnesota and the US. His stage work has included the Guthrie Theater (Born Yesterday, His Girl Friday), Great River Shakespeare Festival (As You Like It, Julius Caesar), Park Square (The Liar, Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet), Theatre Latte Da (The Full Monty), 10,000 Things (Measure for Measure, Waiting for Godot) and the Springer Opera House in Columbus, GA (Of Mice and Men). In 2015, City Pages named Zach “Best Actor in the Twin Cities” for his performance as Charlie in The Whale with Walking Shadow Theatre Company.
In addition, Zach is a skilled fight choreographer and fight captain, with over 30 shows to his credit. He has a BA from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, and is a graduate of the National Shakespeare Conservatory Program in NYC.
Ryan is originally from Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he began doing theatre at a young age and eventually graduated from Northern State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Theatre. Since graduating, he has worked as a stage manager, director and production assistant for Northern State University, Northern Fort Playhouse and Aberdeen Community Theatre in Northeastern South Dakota and for Egads! Theatre Company, Spinning Tree Theatre, Kansas City Fringe Festival, St. Peters Players and The Monocle in Kansas City, MO. Most recently, Ryan was the Box Office Manager for La Crosse Community Theatre in La Crosse, Wisconsin for 3 seasons, where he was also a teaching artist, actor, stage manager, and director. Ryan is looking forward to his adventures here in the Black Hills.
Rebecca began her relationship with the Performing Arts community in Rapid City in 2000 as a volunteer with Black Hills Community Theatre, beginning first in the Costume Shop before venturing into the Box Office where she spent a decade or more while also pursuing various other roles both on and off stage. In 2016, she was promoted to the corner office as Bookkeeper for both BHCT and the Performing Arts Center. She is a graduate of Augustana University with a BA in Business Administration.
Education and Outreach
Rodger Hartley (B.A., University of Virginia, 2005) became BHCT’s technical director in August 2016. Formerly an associate editor of the South Dakota Historical Society Press in Pierre, Rodger’s formal educational background is in linguistics and history, and his theatrical skills come largely from his experience as a volunteer for Pierre Players Community Theatre, where he acted, directed, created technical elements, and occasionally slept from 2008 to 2016. In that time he was directly involved in twenty-three productions as an actor, director, technical director, stage manager, rehearsal manager, scenic, light, and sound designer, master carpenter, technical operator, composer, choreographer, dialect coach, running crewman, publicist, strategist, board member, consultant, and guy who brings tacos.
Selected PPCT credits include: as a director: All in the Timing; Six Characters in Search of an Author; Yankee Tavern; The Farnsworth Invention; as a designer: Boeing Boeing; Crimes of the Heart; Almost, Maine; Little Shop of Horrors; The Clean House; as an actor: The Lion in Winter; Leading Ladies; Proof; All My Sons; The Laramie Project.
Selected BHCT credits include: as a designer; The Lion in Winter; Man of La Mancha; as an actor: True West.
Assistant Technical Director/
Raised in Montana, John Easton, Jr., is a 2015 graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Theatre and Dance program. His passion for theater began much earlier, however, with the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s travelling productions. He played lead roles in multiple summer camps and in high school and attended the Stagedoor Manor performance-intensive camp in New York State. John later began to explore the technical side of theater in order to improve his high school’s productions.
John began his secondary education in pre-medical sciences with a theater minor, but later focused his efforts on attaining a bachelor’s in theater, where his felt more at home. He honed various technical skills in shows including 1001 Arabian Nights, Fiddler on the Roof, Chicago, Avenue Q, Pentecost, and Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter. John also volunteered with the Alberton, Montana, PEAK program as a director for their production of Welcome to Mudville. John hopes to return the favor one day to everyone who’s given him the opportunity to do what he loves, and looks to own and operate his own theater some day in the future.
Costume Shop Manager
Christine Lee is a Black Hills native who grew up in Sturgis. She got her Bachelor’s Degree at Black Hills State University majoring in Speech/Theatre. After graduating from BHSU, she went on to receive a Master’s degree at Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN, where she studied costume design and history. While attending MSU, Chris interned at Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis. She worked in costumes for Music Theatre of Wichita for one season of summer stock and then became Costume Assistant for the Oklahoma Theatre Center in Oklahoma City and then was promoted to Assistant Costume Designer. After returning home to the Black Hills, Chris was involved with many performance groups such as the Sturgis Area Arts Council, Matthews Opera House, Deadwood Productions and produced a vintage fashion show for Cavalry Days in Sturgis for several years. In 1993, Chris started designing costumes for Black Hills Community Theatre and was eventually hired by BHCT as Costume Shop Manager in 2006. In that time, she has designed costumes for many productions. Among her favorites are Amadeus, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Les Miserables. Chris has also designed costumes for the Firehouse Brewing Theatre.