Archive for May 7th, 2020

An outdoor theatre begun at the close of [WWI] by Clarence Lyon was formally inaugurated in June, 1920, with a commencement play. Located in a former wasteland back of the Science Hall [and between the Pardee Estee Laboratory and the National Music Museum] it emerged throughout the next ten years as a moderately attractive facility. A sloping grass amphitheater faced westward toward an elevated leveled stage, both surrounded by linden trees and buckhorn hedges supplied by the Women’s Art Club and honeysuckle bushes donated by [USD President] Slagle.

From Cedric Cummins, The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966, 1975, page 167.



1917-1918 USD campus map. The outdoor theater was located near the yellow star. Number 3 was the Science Building, and that building is now gone. Number 6 is now the National Music Museum. Number 8 is now the Pardee Estee Laboratory.


The first commencement play in 1920 was Prunella. The principal parts were played by Professor Clarence Lyon and Mrs. Lyon.

From the Alumni Quarterly, June 1920, page 59.





The second commencement play in 1921 was Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night or What You Will  performed by the Shakespearean Playhouse Players of New York City.

From the Alumni Quarterly, July 1921, page 68.


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