'The Syringa Tree'

The Syringa

Kristyn Chouiniere & Alice M. Gatling (The Syringa Tree, 2014)
Photo by Matthew J Photography

OCT 16-NOV 9, 2014

by Pamela Gien
Directed by Steve Pacek
Honorary Producers:
  Carol & Tom Beam

It always seems impossible until it's done.

Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa showed the world that conquering institutionalized racism could be done. In The Syringa Tree, Elizabeth, a white South African, shares the story of her black caretaker and of generations of family straining against the chains of apartheid. Love conquers fear as two gifted actresses fill the stage with the people, music, and verdant countryside of South Africa from 1963 to present.

The Cast

Kristyn Chouiniere
Kristyn Chouiniere


Alice M. Gatling
Alice M. Gatling

Suggested Reading and Listening

Deepen your engagement with the play with the following materials:

A Short History of South Africa
Apartheid in South Africa
Impact on Daily Life
The Prayer Song - Music from The Syringa Tree

Norristown Night - October 22, 2014

Hear from local Norristown artist and poet Mydera SpeakMeFree before the play. Mydera will present a short poem about the themes of The Syringa Tree.

Born and raised in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Mydera Robinson is a poet, writer, artist, actor, host, educator, and Creative Director of SpeakMeFree Productions.

Also known as 'Mydera SpeakMeFree, Mydera has been writing and performing since childhood. In 2012, she released her debut spoken word album 'Confessions of a Caterpillar'. In 2013, Mydera SpeakMeFree founded the Open Words Open Mic. She now works as Host and Co-Organizer for the Open Words Open Mic Poetry Network.

Since her appearance on the scene, Mydera SpeakMeFree has become a major presence in her community. She holds several board positions and is recognized as a leader of the arts in Norristown, PA.

Mydera SpeakMeFree has made it her mission to help others find their voice. You can often find her teaching workshops, hosting events, working with the youth, and volunteering in her local arts community.

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Production Team

Steve Pacek

Assistant Director
Mekeva McNeil

Production Manager
Molly Braverman

Assistant Production Manager
Stephen Hungerford

Scenic Design
Thom Weaver

Lighting Design
Thom Weaver

Lighting Assistant
Amanda Jensen

Sound Designer
Toby Pettit

Costume Designer
Jillian Keys

Production Stage Manager
Melissa Erlick

Master Electrician
Eric Baker

Technical Director
Stephen Hungerford

Scenic Painter
Amy Scheidegger

Vocal & Dialect Coach
Susanne Sulby

Lobby Art Show

Artist Susan Wallack

Lobby artist Susan Wallack will display her artwork alongside The Syringa Tree for the duration of the run. To learn more about the artist, visit her website.

6abc Loves the Arts

October 5, 2014 (WPVI) -- Theatre Horizon in Norristown kicks off its 10th season with a story of a South African family's personal strife with apartheid.

Pam Gien's The Syringa Tree is a semi-autobiographical story that opened off Broadway in 2001 and was originally performed through the eyes of its main character, Elizabeth... [READ MORE]

'The Syringa Tree'
Alice M. Gatling and Kristyn Chouiniere (The Syringa Tree, 2014)

2017/18 Season Sponsors

Horizon $5,000


Vista $3,000

Vista Sponsors

Scene $1,000

Scene Sponsors