Billy Estes is the executive director of the historic Midwest Theater and of the Midwest Skyview Drive-in Theater in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. We talk about the historic theater and its role in the community during COVID, Billy’s love for the arts and the creative spark of Burning Man, entrepreneurship and his other life as a farmer, and much more.
Billy Estes has been part of the Friends of the Midwest Theater team for 21 years starting as a technician and projectionist until he became Executive Director in 2013. Since then, he has managed three capital campaigns and is now in the middle of a major Marquee restoration project due to be completed Fall of 2022. These major projects total $1.4 million in work and fundraising. During COVID-19 Billy was responsible for pivoting the organization, offering a free pop-up outdoor screening. This has led to the opening of a permanent drive-in theater, The SkyView. When Billy is not at the theater he enjoys spending time on the tractor tending to crops on his organic farm near Bayard, NE with his partner Jonathan. They grow hay, corn and over 80 types of pumpkins and squash offered via a u-pick pumpkin patch in the Fall.