Black Nativity, Theatre Horizon, 2016. Photo by Matthew J Photography.
The Caregivers, directed and created by Nell Bang-Jensen, Pig Iron Theatre Company, 2018. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.
Magic Fruit, written by Michael John Garcés, Cornerstone Theater Company, 2017. Photo by Jenny Graham.
A large-scale play with music will draw on the varied stories of Norristown, PA’s residents as it challenges the myth of American small-town homogeneity. Using Thornton Wilder’s Our Town as a structural provocation, playwright Michael John Garcés and director Nell Bang-Jensen will create a work to be performed by both professional performers and “citizen artists,” with an original score sourced from the sounds of Norristown by artist collective ILL DOOTS. The lead artists will conduct public “story circles” with local residents, collecting personal stories to inform the piece’s script and lyrics while incorporating Our Town’s themes of daily life, love and marriage, and death and eternity. The free culminating performances will be staged in Norristown’s courthouse-adjacent Airy Street parking lot, a transient civic space that will serve as a site for public reassessment of Norristown’s image.
The total grant amount represents project funding plus an additional 20% in unrestricted general operating support.