-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
Photo by John C Hawthorne
Theatre Horizon, located in Norristown, the county seat of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has been eagerly preparing for the world premiere of TOWN, a new work with music written by and for the residents of Norristown. Helmed by Artistic Director Nell Bang-Jensen and Playwright Michael John Garcés, TOWN is a three-act play with original music by Philly based artist collective, Ill Doots, in collaboration with Norristown, PA residents engaged throughout the development process. TOWN will premiere on the lawn of Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy (1601 Markley St, Norristown, PA) September 15-18, 2022. All performances are at 7:30PM.
“TOWN is a play that celebrates and interrogates small town American life in the 21st century,” said Bang-Jensen. “The work is rooted in stories from over 130 Norristown residents. We hope that audience members see themselves in the piece and transcend their daily realities to experience Norristown like they never have before.”
What emerges when members of a wildly diverse city tell a collective story? TOWN is a social practice theater work that uses Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town as a provocation and structural map to reconsider the nostalgic myth of homogenous small-town America, and revise our understanding of community in the 2020s. Inspired by interviews and story circles with more than 130 Norristonians throughout 2021 and 2022 led by Community Coordinator Marisol Rosa-Shapiro, TOWN is a free, large-scale performance, featuring community members alongside a cast of professional performers, activating a well-known community space in a brand new way.
Building on the practices and aesthetics of The Public Theater’s Public Works program, and the 30-year legacy of Cornerstone Theatre Company, TOWN will offer an original performance that is both rooted in community and commensurate with the high bar of artistic rigor set by its lead artists and Theatre Horizon. It will be the largest-scale production in Theatre Horizon’s nearly 20-year history. The 50-member cast includes several full-time professional actors from the region, plus dozens of community members of many different ages, identities, and amounts of performance experience, including several who speak Spanish. The majority of the cast is made up of people who live, work, or have deep relationships with Norristown. All community members are being compensated for their rehearsal and performance time.
Tickets to TOWN are complimentary but reservations are highly encouraged. Reservations will be open on Theatre Horizon’s website on August 15; guests should bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the performance. Food trucks and other vendors will be available for refreshments. More information can be found at theatrehorizon.org.
Please note: a potential “rain date” performance is scheduled for Monday, September 19 at 7:30 PM.
Major support for TOWN has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with additional support from PNC Arts Alive.