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CHAW’s Black Box Theater

August 17, 2012

If only the walls of the black box theater of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) could reveal the stories that have taken place in that space.  Or, imagine if we could peel back the 140 layers of black paint (a conservative estimate) to uncover the different images that have rested on the walls over the years.  Or, capture the different sounds that have been uttered or manufactured within its four walls.  CHAW’s black box theater (with newly-upgraded lighting) has proved its versatility in countless ways over the years.  In early August, it became Venice (decorated with venetian blinds) for The Gondoliers.  In the past year, the theater has functioned as a ship (for CHAW’s HMS Pinafore), country bar (for CHAW’s resident company, Taffety Punk Theater Company’s Measure for Measure), a psychiatrist’s office (Capital City Players’ Shining City), the devil’s outer office (American Ensemble Theater’s Bobby Gould in Hell), a high-school gym (dog and pony dc’sBeertown,) a rest-stop on the Iditarod trail, and a cabaret for CHAWbaret as well as classroom for adult guitar, poetry, dance, children’s theater, a rehearsal space for CHAW’s 40th Anniversary Chorus, and meeting space for CHAW’s Board of Directors.  The 55-seat theater offers an intimate perspective to audience members; there is not a bad sightline in the house.  Its chairs have arms and cushions so a person can sit comfortably while taking in a special theatrical experience.  Ticket prices range between $10-$20.  CHAW’s theater partners present theatrical works that can be cutting edge, experimental, interactive, multi-disciplinary, and/or bold – but whatever the show, they will impress with the intentionality and artistry of their craft.

Below are photos from CHAW/GLBT Arts Consortium’s recent slightly-twisted version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. Photographer:  Yianni Papadopoulos, Fashion, Commercial, Editorial Photography,

Jill Strachan, Executive Director, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop