Dear Friends of Theatre Horizon,
Pay it Forward
This summer, I’m thinking a lot about what we pass on to others.
That’s because next season — our 10th anniversary — is a journey through the stories of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. It’s three plays about the lessons we leave our children.
It’s also because this summer, Theatre Horizon is mentoring a brand new theatre company, New Cavern Productions, founded this year by talented University of the Arts theatre students and an enterprising young theatre producer named Steven Burke.
In response to my challenge to Steven to fill the theater during summer months when Theatre Horizon is dark, this 19-year-old and his equally skilled NCP co-founder, Evan Rieger, created a company overnight! They spent the last six months fundraising and casting, then produced and directed The Who’s Tommy, rockin’ and rollin’ at Theatre Horizon through Sunday. (Get tickets here!)
My challenge to Steven echoed the challenge put to Matthew Decker and me ten years ago by State Senator Daylin Leach in King of Prussia. Daylin told us the state could give us a $10,000 grant if we would produce a musical in the park. So we did Grease on $10,000. (That’s right! Theatre Horizon was 100% funded by the government that first summer. We are now .005% funded by the government, just one more reason why individual donors really ARE the lifeblood of Theatre Horizon, and the main reason art survives in America.)
The Importance of Supporting Emerging Artists
With a pay-it-forward mentality, I transferred the opportunity to create, explore, and discover at a critical moment in the lives of emerging Philadelphia artists. These young artists are on the road to breaking through, with new solutions to old problems.
For ten years, Theatre Horizon has been an incubator for emerging artists. These artists, in turn, have become the most sought-after actors in Philadelphia — Rachel Camp, Alex Keiper, and Michael Doherty, to name a few of the many talented, inventive, and highly entertaining actors who’ve lit up our stage.
These are the people moving theatre in our region forward. Do you want artists in your community? Well, here they are! At Theatre Horizon!
Dare to Fail
Young artists are especially brave, because the creative act is a tango with failure. Every time I produce a play, I leave in my wake piles of discarded ideas and failed dreams: the many seeds that must be scattered in order for one to finally flower.
Let’s all agree to just accept a certain amount of failure in our lives. Failure’s okay. It’s the only way to learn. Thanks to audiences like you, who continue to give Theatre Horizon room to fail, I believe we succeed more often than not in bringing you great shows about life’s big questions.
When Senator Leach called, Matt and I took the dare. Steve Burke and everyone creating Tommy are taking the dare right now.
I hope you’ll dare with us, too. Next season has some knockout shows, like an epic journey through South Africa in The Syringa Tree, an ambitious re-conceptualization by Matthew Decker of Into the Woods, and a searing drama about family life on the streets through In the Blood.
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