Firehall Fact #25: The Infamous Black Box

If you’ve come to the Firehall to see a performance, you’ve noticed the theatre is what we in the bizness like to call a “black box”.  A black box theatre, according to Wikipedia, is an “unadorned performance space, usually a large square room with black walls and a flat floor. It is a relatively recent innovation in theatre.

Yep, that’s what the Firehall theatre looks like, and it’s been pretty much that way since 1982, which in the grand scheme of things, is fairly recent.

Now, the great thing about having a black box is how malleable and versatile the space is.  Sets are generally simpler than at larger theatres, but because of the technical specifications of the space, can be extremely unique and interesting. Lighting can also play a grander role in a performance in a black box theatre because there is no place for lighting leaks or for it to be diffused.  The theatre itself can also be configured specifically for each new show, a feature impossible in larger, static spaces.


This year alone, we have had the theatre capacity go from our regular 136 to 155 and 162 as well as taking it from the regular arrangement of seats in the picture above and reconfiguring it into an L shape for VIMY and a thrust stage for Goodness.

This versatility provides the opportunity to present work to the public in the most interesting way, allowing the audience to interact in the best possible way with the work.

That’s pretty cool.

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