“Black box is the purest form of theater. What takes place inside is still supported by light, sound, costumes, props, and great writing and acting, but everything has been distilled down to its purest form.”

-Harry Lipstein, founding producing artistic director at DENIZEN

About our space

DENIZEN Theatre in New Paltz, NY is a non-profit, arts organization producing live, professional black box theatre for members of the community. Our flexible, 70 seat, black box theatre allows audiences to experience compelling, actor-driven, live theatre with a season of plays that focuses on new works, emerging playwrights, and powerful themes. 

What is Black Box?

A black box is a bare room with a movable seating area, a movable stage, and a flexible lighting system. The name “black box” comes from the fact that the room is typically, but not always, painted black which gives the appearance of "anyplace." This way, it’s easier to make the audience feel like they’re actually in the location, which is helpful when the shows are so intimate in nature. This intimate feeling appeals to many actors doing monologues and solo shows, because it allows them to connect with the audience on a deeper level. Black is also a neutral color which means it won't clash with costumes, sets, and lighting. 

black box theatre design, black box theater design

There are 5 basic staging designs for a play: with the audience on one side, two sides, three sides, four sides (called theatre in the round), or environmental staging, in which the audience and actors intermingle. Black box theatre opens the opportunity to have any one of those configurations! The ability for the stage & seating area to be rearranged enables the director to create unique, intimate spaces for the actors & audience to share.