'Black Watch,' which opened last night at the Armory Community Center. Photo: Brenden Mendoza

The American Conservatory Theater's latest production, Black Watch, is making use of a new space some of you might already be familiar with: The 38,000-square-foot Drill Court at the Kink.com Armory. As promised back in 2011, Kink owner Peter Acworth wants the largely unused indoor space — which famously was used by George Lucas as a studio for Star Wars, where they shot many of the spaceship interiors in the film — to become multi-use community center, and with the A.C.T. production, this is coming to fruition for the first time.

Black Watch is an experimental play originally produced by the National Theater of Scotland, based off of interviews with Scottish soldiers serving in the 100-year-old Black Watch regiment in the Iraq War. The play combines their war stories with choreographed marches, video, and Scottish ballads, and a New York production was called "thrilling" and "transporting" by the New York Times.

Kink has redubbed the Drill Court the Armory Community Center, and they now have a full-time staff member devoted to the programming and use of the space.

As ABC7's Carolyn Tyler amusingly notes, the Armory Community Center "has its own entrance, away from the kinky stuff."

And ACT's artistic director Carey Perloff tells ABC after looking for huge spaces all around the Bay to produce the unique play, the Drill Court presented itself, and "it's like it was made for it."

The Mission Merchants' Association is fully in support of the new uses for the Armory space, saying this ACT production will be a "game-changer" for this end of the Mission. We'll see about that.

Below, a photo of the large stadium theater that's been constructed in the space for Black Watch, as well as ABC 7's coverage. On Thursday we'll be bringing you our review of the production, which plays through June 16.


[ABC 7]

The new theater set-up at the Armory. Photo: Mike Stabile