Pictured: Thaddaeus Peay II, Karen Siwik, Dr. Taneeka Harper, Kathryn Griffin, John George, Denise Ashe, L. James Watters
Photography by John Hawthorne
Helmed by Artistic Director Nell Bang-Jensen and Playwright Michael John Garcés, Our Norristown will be 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.
“We are thrilled to receive support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for this exciting project,” said Bang-Jensen. “Building on the practices and aesthetics of The Public Theater’s Public Works program, and the 30-year legacy of Cornerstone Theatre Company, Our Norristown 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.”
What emerges when members of a wildly diverse city tell a collective story? Our Norristown 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. The project will culminate in free, large-scale performances during the fall of 2022, featuring community members alongside a cast of professional performers, activating a highly visible, centrally located parking lot in Downtown Norristown as a public commons.
We are looking for community members of Norristown to participate in the initial phase of our creative process. No theater experience is necessary.
ILL DOOTS performs at Haya Ground: A Norristown Open Mic. Photo credit: John C. Hawthorne.
Our Norristown has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge-sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center invests in ambitious, imaginative, and catalytic work that showcases the region’s cultural vitality and enhances public life, and engages in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural practitioners and leaders. Learn more about The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the other 2020 Grantees.
Michael John Garcés