Cornerstone Theater Company

The D/N/Lakota Theater Project

Youth campers at Lakota Youth Development on Rosebud take a bow with Cornerstone company members after performing their original play, Peji Oyanka, in August of 2021.

The D/N/Lakota Theater Project is the third in a series of productions in collaboration with playwright Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation) and Indigenous people of U.S. lands. Following Urban Rez with and about Native people of and/or living in the Los Angeles Basin, and Native Nationa collaboration with those of and/or living in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

The D/N/Lakota Theater Project builds on these two processes working with Native communities in South Dakota and explores the strength, beauty, humor, and perseverance of their culture, language and identity. Collaborating with residents of the Sicangu Lakota Nation (Rosebud), Oglala Lakota Nation (Pine Ridge), Ihanktonwan Dakota Oyate (Yankton), and other Lakota reservations, as well as Rapid City, Cornerstone will present this new production in multiple South Dakota locations. Expect music, marketplaces, dance, fashion, ritual, and telling of current Native stories in an interactive, accessible theatrical experience.

Partner organizations include First Peoples Fund, Racing Magpie, Black Hills Playhouse, Black Hills Community Theatre, the City of Rapid City, Lakota Youth Development, and Lakota culture bearers.

We are visiting Native communities to meet people and hold talking circles to create the topics, style and text of a new script. As we learn more and build partnerships, the project will take shape based on who is interested and on experiences, perspectives, and stories shared. 

Cornerstone teams have been visiting South Dakota since 2019, but the project was on hiatus during the pandemic. Since August of 2021, we have resumed visits to get to know the land and the people, and have safely traveled the state three times. Over the course of 2022, our team will tour across the state four more times, to deepen relationships, to bring workshops and theater camps to communities, and to share the early drafts of the script for feedback. 

In 2023 we will present a full, live production that includes residents onstage, backstage, and in the audience.

Photo Journal


Below is a gallery of photos that have been taken over the course of five trips across South Dakota by the members of the team. This gallery does not come close to representing the full breadth of these trips, the six-dozen-plus engagements the teams have attended, the literal weeks upon weeks of work, but they can impart a small sense of what the process has been like so far.