The Black Box Arts Center
Local Artists with a Mission
Created initially by a group of local actors, the non-profit Black Box Arts Center has become a vibrant organization with a mission to advocate for artists and the arts. Serving the tri-state area, the center provides a regular season of theatrical performances and a space for artists of all styles to meet, rehearse, study, collaborate, write, show, and perform. Whether it's music, theater, dance, writing, film, photography, painting... if you can dream it, we can nurture it.
Once the home of a machinery dealer on Princess Street, the space that now houses the Black Box went through several transformations, including most recently a gift shop, before it was renovated by a group of local actors in 2008 for use as a community space in Shepherdstown featuring an auditorium with flexible seating, lobby, and green room available for performances, recitals, classes, parties, exhibits, and events of any kind.
Laura Richards Bakin,
Artistic and Managing Director
The founder of The Black Box Arts Center, Laura brings over 30 years of experience in the performing arts as an actor, director, teacher, producer, and manager. On stage she has performed and directed with a variety of theater companies from Florida to New York. Behind the scenes, she spent many years teaching both children and adults around the D.C. area, where she founded and managed Encore! Dramatic Institute for the Young Actor. She was an administrator at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. for eight years, and the artistic and managing director of the Rhapsodic Theater Company in Virginia before settling in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia with her family. She has written over 20 plays and musicals, directed over 100 shows, and has conducted countless workshops, seminars, and private classes. Laura is also a published author of both juvenile and adult fiction.
Mendy Cockrell, Director of Youth Programs
Phil Bakin, Technical Director
Helene Richards, Box Office Manager
Marsha Lutz, House Manager
Ty Unglebower, Writing Program Coordinator
Nancy Jenks, Dance Program Coordinator
Nicholas Day, Photography Program Coordinator
Julie Keller, Film Program Coordinator