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March 12, 2024 | General, Theatre,

A History of the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theater

ArtsEmerson is home to a number of theater spaces, including the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre located in the Emerson Paramount Center at 559 Washington St. Named after former Emerson College President Jacqueline Liebergott, the black box theatre boasts an intimate setting, seating 150 patrons. This incredibly intimate atmosphere allows artists to forge unique personal connections with the audience.

The Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, also known as the JLBB or “The Jackie,” is a parred-down space with exposed brick walls, tall windows, and a flat floor – allowing flexible seating arrangements and fostering dynamic stage and audience interactions. Traditionally, black box theater spaces have been used to inspire director’s experimental creativity, providing a platform for productions that diverge from the conventions of traditional plays and musicals. The history of black box theaters makes the The JLBB particularly aptly named, as Jacqueline Liebergott was a true champion of creativity and thinking beyond typical confines and conventions. In 1993, Liebergott was named the first female-identifying president of Emerson College (one of the few college heads in Boston in general) and headed the school’s renovation to move from Back Bay to the Theater District. 

Dozens of shows have made their way through the The Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre over the years, including the world premiere of The White Card, which was done in collaboration between ArtsEmerson and The American Repertory Theatre, as well as other performances like Mala, How to Be a Rock Critic, and the latest production, Mrs. Krishnan’s Party. The Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre truly is a one-of-a-kinda theater space that hosts one-of-a-kind shows. Have you seen any performances in this space? Drop a comment below and tell us your favorite Jackie Liebergott Black Box show!

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