Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Behind the scenes

The new vision of a revived Theatre Society Club
Noah Westergaard
Kaitlyn Williams attends the first meeting of the Theatre Society Club

The Theatre Society has officially drawn its curtains open for the first time since the club dissolved in April 2021. 

Staff Advisor of the Theatre Society, Casey Hibbert, and Theatre Society President, Bella Dietrich, are planning to change the structure of the club.

In previous years, the Theatre Society was only open to students who were majoring in the Theatre Department. The Society is now open to all BHSU students.

“It was more a club for people who were already in theatre to go hang out with the other people who were… in theatre,” Dietrich said.

Also, cultivating connections with local theaters is a goal that Deitrich is hoping to achieve this semester.

“With theaters, especially in smaller areas, we don’t have professional production,” Dietrich said. “It’s so important to build bonds and to make connections [within these programs], even if it is just loaning out props, costumes, getting designers and carpenters.” 

Dietrich moved from California to the Spearfish area when she was around 8-years old. Dietrich participated in theatre in both middle school and high school. 

“Personally, I didn’t have the best relationship with my family for a lot of reasons,” Deitrich said. “Mostly for my queer identity and for being the baby of the family, so I was kind of ousted. Being in pretty much any extracurricular was a way for me to escape my home life… [and be] in a safe place.”

Dietrich graduated from Spearfish High School in 2017 and attended University of South Dakota (USD) for her first semester of college. Dietrich then transferred to BHSU in 2018. After her spring semester at BHSU, she elected to take a break from school. 

After a brief stint in local stage acting, Dietrich then re-enrolled at BHSU in 2022. A year after she re-enrolled, Hibbert was hired on as the new theatre instructor.

Hibbert encouraged her to become president of the Society and she took the opportunity. 

Aside from his roles as the staff advisor for the Theatre Society and the theatre instructor, he is also a production designer at BHSU. Hibbert was born in Rapid City, S.D. and grew up in Spearfish, S.D. 

Hibbert did not participate in theater during middle school or high school; his career in theater didn’t begin until he arrived at BHSU in 2004.

“I actually came to school to be a Computer Science major,” Hibbert said. “I sat in my first computer science class and said, ‘I cannot sit in front of a computer for the rest of my life.’ I actually walked out of class and saw an audition poster for Story Theater.” 

Despite having never auditioned for a play, Hibbert got involved. Although he was not cast in the play, he was presented with the opportunity to work backstage. 

“I was cast in the next show which was “Lend Me a Tenor,” Hibbert said. “From [then] on I was hooked.” 

Hibbert graduated from the BHSU Theatre Department in 2009. He then left Spearfish to grow within his career as a professional actor, juggler, singer, dancer and designer for the next 15 years until he came back to his hometown.    

“Without art, life is boring,” Hibbert said. “We need art as a way to expand our minds, and always keep ourselves entertained… I think, especially being biased, live theater is important for everyone to experience in their life. There’s nothing like seeing people on stage, acting… It’s just kind of a surreal moment where you can take yourself out of real life… It [also] helps kids to get… out of their shell, [and] gets them doing something uncomfortable. Finding the comfort in discomfort is really important.” 

About the Contributor
Kaylee Jordan, Senior Staff Writer