Article by Lauren Madeira | Owl Staff
The growth of the credited theater program at HCC has prompted a new addition to Joppa Hall. The Fall 2011 semester will be the first semester to use The Blackbox (Theatre at Joppa Hall) in J032. Along with a wall of mirrors and a dance bar, the portable stage includes lighting and audio systems for students in the theater program to hone their skills, as well as providing a creative outlet for the students.
Doubling as a classroom, The Blackbox seats seventy-five people for performances and houses thirty student tables for daily use. The room also holds a shop for storage and set design for various performances on campus.
Currently, Harford has two stages, the Amoss Center and the Chesapeake Theater, but The Blackbox “will provide a home for theater students,” says Ben Fisler, the Associate Professor of Theater.
Paul E. Labe, Jr., the Dean of Visual, Performing and Applied Arts at HCC explains the space is “primarily an instructional space for students in the credit theater program.”
The space will also be available to students for student productions, as well as the Actor’s Guild to practice and perform. As of now, the Actor’s Guild performs two to three productions a year.
According to Labe, the credit theater programs have seen a 200 percent growth with a total enrollment of 270 students for the 2010-year. The theater program as a whole has experienced a one to fifty increase in students with a declared theater major from the 2006 fiscal year to the 2010 fiscal year.
Jeremy Ross, a participant in HCC’s theater program, shares, “I love the idea of the College having another performing space. Not only does it create an exciting new space for creative output, but it also provides new experiences for HCC’s many performing arts majors and performing enthusiasts.”
The Blackbox stage will enhance learning opportunities and promote creativity in theater students by providing them with a new space to explore and develop their skills, as their learning will take place on stage as well as in a classroom.