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Black Box Arts Center premieres ‘Around the World in Eight Plays’

By Staff | Mar 22, 2019

Linus Pritchard performs the character of Bernardo. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN Experience the wonders of the globe with Black Box Arts Center’s Youth Workshop Production “Around the World in Eight Plays,” through March 17.

Director Laura Bakin, in association with Black Box Arts Center, and the Youth Workshop present “Around the World in 8 Plays”, a diverse and multinational tale of travelling storytellers, busking with stories from India to Brazil. With a script from Patrick Greene and Jason Pizzarello, the cast and crew of the workshop production have transformed the Black Box Theater into their wagon-based sideshow, with rousing performances and a professional level of detail in sound, stage, lighting, and costume.

Kristen Bohlander, crew member and mother of cast member Aiden Bohlander, is a “theater mom” who has seen her son grow and learn through the Youth Workshop program. “We started about two years ago with the youth workshop. My son goes to Washington county public schools, and they didn’t offer theater programs. So, I knew I had to find something for him to participate in.”

Bohlander went on to praise the environment that the program has created for her son to flourish on the stage and off it. “His confidence has skyrocketed and that has been mainly because of Laura Bakin and the wonderful individuals here at the Black Box!”

Bakin, the director of the production and leader of the Youth Workshop, has been with the program since 2007, developing it into the program it is today with the help of volunteers, and parents of the children involved. Any child who registers with the program is guaranteed spot in the production.

The cast dances to introduce the next story in "Around the World in Eight Plays." Courtesy photo

“We hold auditions and then rehearse through the performances, just as we would with any other show, but we also throw in seminars to help the participants learn more about specific skills, and work days to give them a chance to branch out into other aspects of theater production (like marketing, set construction, and property building),” said Bakin. “Every rehearsal is a learning process, and the entire 10-week workshop is a lesson not only in producing a show to sell to the public, but also a lesson in commitment, in teamwork, and in disciplined artistic creation.”

Bakin went on to explain one of the goals, set with the program, is “to enhance the lives of our community’s children by providing opportunities to see live theater.” Learning that theater has been unavailable to many adults had saddened her and this drives her to shape the minds and perspective of the following generations by offering these artistic experiences.

“In the end, I hope that children find our theater a safe space to explore their world. I hope that they learn skills that are useful to them throughout their lifetimes, and I hope they develop a love of the arts — and particularly theater — that will last throughout their lives!”

The Black Box Arts Center and the Youth Workshop are preparing for their next production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, premiering March 23 and lasting through June 2.