Theatre Horizon. Come as you are. Leave transformed.
Theatre Horizon’s mission is to use the transformative power of storytelling to foster empathy and to create an inclusive home for artists, audiences, and students alike. We stage stories that illuminate the full range of human experience, bring people together, connect students with theatre artists, and contribute to the revitalization of our diverse and underserved community in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Founders Erin Reilly and Matthew Decker
Founded in 2005 by Erin Reilly and Matthew Decker, Theatre Horizon has become an award-winning leader in Montgomery County’s arts community. Our heterogeneous Norristown community is currently 35% Black/African American, 35% White, 28% Latinx, and 2% other races/ethnicities.1 Notably, in the past 20 years, Norristown’s Latinx population has tripled in size.
In October 2012 we completed a $1 million capital campaign and opened our permanent home: a 123-seat blackbox theatre in the heart of Norristown’s Arts Hill District. Since moving to our new home, our services have attracted over 40,000 people to Norristown, making us an anchor of revitalization to the downtown area.
1 US Census Bureau
Autism Drama Program
Theatre Horizon has become a lauded contributor to the arts in Montgomery County through: a critically-acclaimed season of artistic programs; drama clubs and camps; Norristown Supplemental Theatre Education Partnerships (NSTEP), which offers ongoing free theatre arts education programs in collaboration with our community partners; and our 18-year-old Autism Drama Program that inspires imagination and social development in individuals on the autism spectrum. Autism Drama Program was the proud recipient of the 2019 Victory Foundation Award for Outstanding Theatre Education Program at the Barrymore Awards in Philadelphia. Additionally, we have become a national leader in inclusivity for individuals on the autism spectrum and with other sensitivities, receiving Art-Reach’s 2019 Accessibility Award.
The Color Purple
In recognition of our work, Theatre Horizon has received multiple grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and received the American Theatre Wing’s National Theatre Company Award in 2017—one of only twelve companies in the nation to be honored with this prestigious award from the organization that presents the Tony Awards.
Our critically-acclaimed production of The Color Purple brought 4,218 patrons to Norristown over the course of its twice-extended run and became the highest-grossing show in Theatre Horizon’s history. The show went on to win more Barrymore Awards for theater than any musical in the history of the awards. Amina Robinson, the director, became the first Black woman to receive the Outstanding Director of a Musical Barrymore Award.
In 2019, on the cusp of our 15th Anniversary Season, our Board of Directors carried out a successful one-year leadership transition, conducting a search to move from being a Founder-led organization to hiring Nell Bang-Jensen as Artistic Director. Six months into her tenure, we were forced to close our doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to virtual programs. As a result of the pandemic and the social and cultural movements it ignited, a dedicated group of Theatre Horizon’s staff, board, artists, audience members, and EDI facilitators created our Antiracism Action Plan, which details actions through September 2023 to become an actively and explicitly antiracist theatre.
In September 2022, Theatre Horizon will present Our Norristown. 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 residents engaged throughout the development process.The project will culminate in free, large-scale performances featuring community members alongside a cast of professional performers, Our Norristown has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
TOWN, which premiered in September 2022, was Theatre Horizon’s largest-scale production in our nearly 20-year history. Helmed by Artistic Direct Nell Bang-Jensen and Playwright Michael John Garcés, TOWN was a three-act play with original music by Philadelphia-based hip hop collective, ILL DOOTS. This new play celebrated and explored the nostalgia and myth of small-town American life. Inspired by stories from over 130 Norristown residents, TOWN featured an ensemble of over 60 community members and professional theatre artists ranging in age from 5 to 98. Over the course of four nights, over 1,2000 audience members set up a chair or blanket on the lawn of Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy to watch the world premiere of this play for and about Norristown. Major support for TOWN has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with additional support from PNC Arts Alive. Click here to read to read more about TOWN.
Over the years, Theatre Horizon has proudly partnered with community organizations including: Greater Norristown Arts League, Laurel House, the Norristown Public Library, A Chance to Heal, the Centre Theater, 11th Hour Theatre Company, The Colonial Theatre, Montgomery County Community College, Power Street Theatre Company, Norristown Area School District, ACLAMO Family Centers, GirlsFirst, the WOW Program, and The Willow School.
Theatre Horizon uses the transformative power of storytelling to foster empathy & provide an inclusive home for artists, audiences, & students alike.