Archive 2008 - 2019

Black Box Theater

by Paul Deschenes

Black Box Theater

Among the early 21st century educational needs not easily accommodated by Holliston’s high school building mentioned at last month’s presentation by Dr. Bradford Jackson, Superintendent of Schools, on the future of Holliston High School was one related to the performing arts: a black box theater. It was a term I had heard or read about in passing, but was not very familiar with. I have come to find out it is a small, easy-to-maintain, simple, but flexible and versatile, space, usually square, with black walls and a flat floor.  Below is an example of a Black Box theater in Utah.

The origin of black box theater is traced back to the early 20th century in Europe. In the 1960’s it became popular as a practice space for theatrical presentations. Such an environment provides drama classes and clubs the opportunity to explore and stage at low cost a variety of experimental productions requiring limited set construction.

I recently attended an evening of six one-act plays presented by Holliston High School students in a black box theater at our high school. It was a makeshift environment situated on the stage of the auditorium. The stage curtains were closed and the auditorium seats were to our rear behind the curtains. The presentation area for the six productions was minimalist, as it should have been, and situated at the very back of the stage. The lighting was a temporary erection of towers. The seating, for an audience of approximately 125, consisted of folding chairs on risers.

Comments (2)

We used to make one, You take the risers and build frames. It's really not that hard, it's how the spring play was set up every year.

Andrew h Mades | 2019-02-28 08:51:40

Seems adequate as is.

Art Winters | 2019-02-22 09:03:10