Third Space Initiative

Making Theater a Space for All
Charlotte Northeast and Steven Wright (The Agitators, 2020)
Photo by Daniel Kontz

Our Opportunity

We will re-imagine how theaters function with and for their communities by becoming Norristown’s Third Space.

The “Third Space” is inspired by the work of sociologist Ray Oldenburg, who defines it as the social surroundings separate from home and work that are essential for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and creating a sense of connection. Examples of third spaces include:

Third Space Examples

To create a cultural space for all
takes the vision & generosity of Theatre Horizon enthusiasts 
just like you!

Our goal is to raise $1,000,000 from members of our committed community by June 30th, 2022.

Third Space Initiative Progress Bar

Your gift allows us to…

  • Serve our community in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Lead peer theaters in adapting art-making post-pandemic.
  • Provide our space as a learning center for Norristown students.
  • Produce engaging, award-winning theater, both in-person and virtually.
  • Develop Our Norristown, an original play that will give paid, creative opportunities to community members.
  • Establish ourselves as an antiracist theater by rethinking how we operate & developing a residency for local Black artists.
  • Offer Norristown education programs on a sliding scale  & continue our $2 ACCESS ticketing program.
  • Create new opportunities for Spanish-language speakers, young audiences, & our community partners.
  • Keep our teachers & staff employed to prioritize arts education.
  • Make our lobby a public space where people can gather regularly.

We are  so excited to create this space with the community.

Will You Join Us?

Nell Bang-Jensen (Artistic Director) has been making theater in Philadelphia for the past ten years. She has created four full-scale original works, in addition to producing and directing for many of Philadelphia’s major theater institutions including FringeArts, Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Wilma, Pig Iron, and the Painted Bride. Nell has served as Associate Artistic Director of Pig Iron Theatre Company and on the artistic staff of the Wilma Theater. Her passion for making art outside of the usual theatrical circles guides much of her original work. THE CAREGIVERS premiered at Pig Iron last year and was made with Philadelphians who work as home health aides and hospice workers. Her upcoming BOY PROJECT, a play made with 12-15 year old boys about masculinity, is being produced by FringeArts and was awarded a 2019 National MAP Fund grant. Nell is the recipient of a Next Stage Director’s Fellowship from the Drama League (2019), a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship (2011-2012), and was a participant in Theatre Communication Group’s Leadership U: One-on-One program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications group; a national fellowship given to eight individuals who TCG believes are the core and future of theater. In October 2018, American Theatre magazine named her as one of six “theatre workers to know” across the nation. Nell is also a Co-Founder of HATCH, an arts residency in Harrisville, New Hampshire that provides female-identifying and non-binary artists with time and space to create new theater. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Nell is also passionate about Education and is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Arts as well as a Visiting Faculty Member at Carleton College. Email Nell at Nell@TheatreHorizon.org.

Cara Frisina (Managing Director) is originally from upstate New York, where she earned degrees in Theatre Arts Management and Communications from Ithaca College. She has worked for various summer theater festivals including The Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College, Bard College’s SummerScape, and Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. An apprenticeship at the Walnut Street Theatre brought her to Philadelphia—which she is now happy to call a permanent home. During her time at Theatre Horizon, she has served as Production Manager, General Manager, and now Managing Director. Email Cara at Cara@TheatreHorizon.org.

Bryan Buttler (Public Relations) specializes in bringing unique public relations and marketing solutions to a variety of arts and entertainment organizations. Some of his current and past clients include PlayPenn, LiveConnections, Theater with a View, Juniper Productions, The Committee of Seventy’s Voices of Voting, plus the world premiere productions of Amanda Palmer’s JIB and In My Body. Bryan is also a former journalist whose work has appeared in Philadelphia MagazineOUTNewNowNextBilly Penn, and more. Bryan has taught mass communication and writing courses for over ten years at a number of regional colleges, and lives in Philadelphia. Find out more at bryanbuttlermediarelations.comEmail Bryan at bryanbuttler@gmail.com.

Mackenzie Raine Kirkman (Patron Services) is a North Carolina native with a BFA in Creative Writing and an honors BA in Theatre from the University of North Carolina Wilmington as well as an MA in Theatre, Performance, and Practice and a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Miami University of Ohio. She has held numerous creative positions from dramaturg to director to playwright. She also serves Theatre Horizon as both House Manager and as a Teaching Artist for various clubs and Norristown community programs. Email Mackenzie at Mackenzie@TheatreHorizon.org.

Dawn Loveland Navarro (Director of Education Outreach) moved to the Philadelphia area from Connecticut, where she was the Director of Education at Playhouse on Park. She created, oversaw, and taught programs that served approximately 4,000 students per year. In addition to being a theatre educator, Dawn is also a director and a stage manager. Recent Playhouse on Park directing credits include ProofOleannaThe Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, and Red Light Winter; plus shows for young audiences including BusytownGoodnight MoonGo, Dog. Go!, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Dawn has stage managed over 30 productions at regional theatres. She was a directing assistant at Berkshire Theatre Festival and traveled to Florida Studio Theatre for theatre education professional development. Dawn is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email Dawn at Dawn@TheatreHorizon.org.

Steven P. Nemphos (Webmaster & IT Director) has worked with Disney, SeaWorld, Yosemite National Park and many of the region’s professional theaters; both on and off the stage; and, in all major mediums including television, radio and film. Steven lives in Los Angeles where he is pursing an acting career. Broadway: The Big Knife (Assistant Director) at Roundabout Theatre Company under Tony-Award Winner Doug Hughes. BFA, NYU. Email Steven at Steven@TheatreHorizon.org.

Shelby North (Producing Director) is a passionate theatre practitioner originally from Atlanta, GA. She works to facilitate dreams coming to life onstage and believes in the power of theatre to change hearts and minds. Previously, she worked as an Equity Stage Manager for theatres including The Alliance Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, Delaware Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Quintessence Theatre Group, and The Yale Repertory Theatre. Shelby received her undergraduate degree from College of Charleston and her Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama. Email Shelby at mailto:Shelby@TheatreHorizon.org.

Erin Reilly (Founder), a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Erin co-founded Theatre Horizon with Matthew Decker, recently leading a $1 million campaign to build and open a new venue for the company on Arts Hill in Norristown. Erin has directed over 15 productions, working with both professional actors and students. As an equity actress she has performed on numerous area stages including the Walnut Street Theatre and Wilma Theater. Theatre Horizon’s Education Department is near to her heart, and she draws on her experience teaching for education programs at the Wilma Theater, Lantern Theater, and Mum Puppettheatre, among many others. She serves on Creative MontCo and the Board of Theatre Philadelphia, and was named one of Philadelphia’s 76 Creative Connectors by Leadership Philadelphia. Email Erin at Erin@TheatreHorizon.org.

Mydera Taliah Robinson (Education Director) is a writer, visual artist, educator, and TEDx speaker. As the founder of SpeakMeFree Productions, Mydera Taliah has curated events and programming for a wide range of audiences.

A sought after talent, Mydera has shared the stage with many great artists, speakers, and performers.

Her passion and commitment to excellence has in turn allowed her to become a major presence in the regional arts community. Acting as an educator, consultant, and board member for diverse list of schools, universities, organizations, and associations: Mydera Taliah is recognized as a leader in her industry.

Mydera Taliah has made it her mission to help others find confidence in their being through the freedom of expression. Email Mydera at Mydera@TheatreHorizon.org.

Mydera Taliah Robinson (Education Director) is a writer, visual artist, educator, and TEDx speaker. As the founder of SpeakMeFree Productions, Mydera Taliah has curated events and programming for a wide range of audiences.

A sought after talent, Mydera has shared the stage with many great artists, speakers, and performers.

Her passion and commitment to excellence has in turn allowed her to become a major presence in the regional arts community. Acting as an educator, consultant, and board member for diverse list of schools, universities, organizations, and associations: Mydera Taliah is recognized as a leader in her industry.

Mydera Taliah has made it her mission to help others find confidence in their being through the freedom of expression. Email Mydera at Mydera@TheatreHorizon.org.

Marisol Rosa-Shapiro (Community Coordinator) is a theater artist, educator, community builder, clown, mail art maker, and creator of original works of theater. She has recently appeared onstage in the Up Close Festival at the New Ohio Theatre and in several Spellbound Theatre productions in NYC and Miami. Marisol is a teaching artist at The New Victory Theater, and has served in a similar capacity for at least a dozen theaters and arts organizations across the country. She was Shakespeare in Clark Park’s Director of Community Engagement for the 2019-2020 season, and is part of the steering committee for TYA/USA’s new BIPOC affinity group for artists and administrators creating theater for young audiences. Marisol is a new board member for Clowns Without Borders USA, and has been a proud volunteer artist on three projects with CWB, all concerning the U.S./Mexico border. Keep up with her most recent work at marisolmakes.comEmail Marisol at Marisol@TheatreHorizon.org.

Alix Rosenfeld (she/her/hers, Manager of Individual Giving) is an arts journalist and multi-hyphenate theatre artist specializing in dramaturgy, playwriting, and performance. Originally from Jackson, MI, Alix has been living and making art in Philadelphia for five years, and has worked nationally and internationally at such companies as the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. Recent dramaturgy credits include: Shakespeare In Love (People’s Light) and Box Clever, (Inis Nua Theatre Company), and The Merchant of Venice (Delaware Shakespeare). In 2016, Alix was the national award-winner for the Kennedy Center’s Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy and a critic fellow at the National Critics Institute. She is a contributing writer to American TheatreHuffPostHowlRoundThe Flashpaper, and Broad Street Review. Alix serves as the Philadelphia Metro Regional VP for the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and she is a Senior Lecturer in Dramaturgy for the University of the Arts. Alix holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA in Theatre from Villanova University. Email Alix at Alix@TheatreHorizon.org.

Gilberto Vega (Manager of Institutional Giving & Communications) is a Costa Rican-American creator, educator, and administrator for music and theatre. Most recently, he served as dramaturg for Theatre Horizon’s production of The Agitators.

Originally hailing from Lancaster, PA, Gilberto was the Education and Community Engagement Director for The Philly POPS and an Arden Professional Apprentice. His recent theatre credits include: Asst. Director for The Wiz (Theatre in the X), Playwright for Miley Vs. Mozart: An Epic Poperatic Smackdown as part of The Vs. Series (Theatre Contra), and Audio Describer at Arden Theatre Company (12 productions!).

Gilberto was a Micro-Resident Artist at the Painted Bride Arts Center and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a recipient of the Wallace Award through Platt Performing Arts House. Email Gilberto at Gilberto@TheatreHorizon.org.