James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre

The intimate James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre seats 100 patrons and gives our students a unique space to work.

"what a glorious feeling" dress rehearsal in the black box theatre
Located in the McClintock building, the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre is a wonderfully versatile space, providing a more intimate playing space for the actors and the audience alike without neglecting any of the technology available in a larger theatre. Featuring a full lighting and sound system and dressing room, this modern space reflects the movement of the current theatre industry and provides a perfect training ground for our students. The Black Box hosts our annual Fringe Festival, a repertory collection of student one-acts, and is the home of many theatre classes including Acting, Musical Theatre, and Directing Theory. The Black Box is an interesting, one-of-a-kind space in which to watch and produce theatre, and is a favorite of the FRT's students. 

Why Students Love The Black Box

"As an actor, working in a smaller theater helps me not only learn how to perform with an audience on multiple sides, but also how to stay in character when I am only a few feet away...smaller venues are becoming the trend in this industry, so we are able to take the opportunity to work in a smaller theater and experience what we will likely be working with once we move on from Northern Michigan University." - Katherine Marsh (Theatre, '18)

"I love the energy and the rush I get when performing in the Black Box space. It has helped me focus more as an actor because you have to be on top of your game." - Jacob DeLong (Theatre, '16)

"Designing for the Black Box, you have to think a lot more about the tiny details that the audience may notice. Scenery can't have false backs, costumes have to fit perfectly, lighting can't spill into the seating. When I work in the Black Box, I get to create an immersive theatre experience for the audience that depends heavily on my design work." - Regan McKay (Theatre, '19)