Whether or not you consider yourself an artist, there is no doubt that art touches your life. The arts tell our story, they are a beautiful legacy. Engaging people from an early age in the arts enhances their development by opening their eyes to different experiences, different voices, and uniquely personal ways for them to express their own dreams and visions.
The Black Box Youth Playhouse feels passionately about bringing the performing arts and young people together. It grew from seeds planted 12 years ago, when a group of actors started an arts organization with a home in a storefront on Princess Street. Discovering the need for robust youth theater programming in the area, and understanding the confidence and joy the performing arts bring to children and families, the theater’s leadership eventually focused exclusively on vibrant performing arts programs for youth aged 4 through 21. The playhouse offers a variety of classes, workshops, productions, and other opportunities to encourage and nurture young actors, technicians, directors, and playwrights.
The Black Box believes that all children, no matter what their economic status, should have the opportunity to enjoy the tapestry of the arts that is part of our human heritage. As a non-profit organization, the Black Box exists to benefit the community. The Youth Playhouse has always maintained an all-volunteer staff, believing that children would best be served by putting profits into scholarships and lower-priced tickets to ensure access. Unfortunately, the lack of paid staff disqualifies the organization the various government grant and loan programs recently enacted to assist during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The theater closed for several months in March and the Youth Playhouse is currently operating with limited programming until it’s safe to continue normally. In order to help with a backlog of COVID-related refunds and to help it meet bills coming this fall, a charity GoFundMe has been started. Those who feel able and willing to assist in that way can access it here.
Black Box Youth Playhouse is located at 131 South Princess Street in Shepherdstown, WV, check out their website, or visit them on Facebook.By Laura Richards Bakin