Blogs > Norristown Arts Hill

Destination Norristown Arts Hill: Creating change through creativity The Norristown Arts Festival brings together talents from across the Philadelphia region for a day of food, fun and entertainment for people of all ages. Showcasing local and regional talents the festival strives to bring new life to the Norristown community through the arts. Visit for directions and more information.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Independent Voices Return to The Centre Theater for Third Year

Three weeks of performances at Norristown's Anchor Theater includes classic, comedy and histories.

The Centre Theater hosts its annual Independent Voices Festival, Montgomery County's only performing arts festival, January 6-22 at its newly renovated 208 DeKalb Street location.

The Independent Voices Festival spotlights performers who deserve an encore performance or who want to bring new work to the stage. The Centre Theater also offers opportunities for new performers to explore professional productions. The month long festival highlights more than three premieres and performances from many genres’ including theater, movement, music, and puppetry.

The 2012 Independent Voices Festival includes 16 performances of eleven different productions to begin the new year. This year the festival spotlights works about American history, a bilingual play, dramatized Irish stories and contemporary theater.

“Our core identity at the Centre Theater is to enhance the cultural life of Norristown beyond our own work. This festival helps us to collaborate with many artists and bring support to emerging artists from our entire region,” stated Fran Doyle, Executive Director of The Centre Theater.

The variety of productions are exciting. Josh Hitchen's will open the festival with his one man interpretation of “Stoker's Dracula”.Exciting, entertaining and haunting, this adaption of the classic vampire tale plays January 6 and 8.

Susan Gidding's production of “Brilliant Traces”, featuring Victoria Rose Bonito and Michael Parducci will be performed Thursday, January 12 and Friday, January 13. “Brilliant Traces," by Cindy Lou Johnson, is a one-act play with two actors--a woman who plays a bride running away from her wedding, who somehow finds her way to the home of Alaskan recluse Henry Harry. Their story evolves over a few days in which they learn more about each other and reveal more about themselves that they would ever have dreamed imaginable. At its heart, the play deals with self-identity, isolation, and ultimately the search to find someone out there to connect to, and the play is both raw and poetic--intriguing to see how these people unfold.

The second weekend of the festival also spotlights a one person production, “She Moved Through the Fair”, a magical critically acclaimed dramatization of the stories of Edna O’Brien illuminates the romantic life of a contemporary Irishwoman with bittersweet, often comic tales of coming of age, illicit love affairs gone wrong, an unforgettable plan for revenge, and its surprising aftermath. It was first performed at the West End Theatre (NYC) in the Artists of Tomorrow Festival and subsequently had productions at the Way Off Broadway Theater in Houston and the Capital Fringe Festival in DC.

Continuing the solo performances will be “FESTUS the three legged wonder dog”, a fascinating piece about disability and diversity told triumphantly with puppetry by Dominic Scudera. Also closing the festival is “Sojourner” featuring Zuhairah McGill. McGill's performance, seen all around the region, about Sojourner Truth details her long-suffering life and parallels the history of slavery in America. It answers the questions why she felt she had to become Sojourner Truth and what she hoped to accomplish. Iron Age Theatre will reprise, “Citizen Paine” as well on January 16.

The festival also includes two special events. The opening Saturday is WALLA FEST, the new music event housed at the Centre Theater. This evening of rock music features two headliners, Satellite Hearts and the Jawnettes . Also The festival will bring Walking Fish Theater’s Un Viaje-a, a new holiday themed bilingual play perfect for the growing Latino community in Norristown. Un Viaje-a has played to sold out audience and critical acclaim in December.

The Norristown Educational Theatre will present the premiere of their "Three American Indian Tales" on Saturday January 21 at 1pm. This entertaining journey into history is great for the whole family an enhances the festival's multicultural flavor.

The festival also includes “From the Heavens” on January 21 at 8pm. the story of a group of performers who have found themselves the slaves of a government in economic crisis, much like animals enslaved to a Circus. One among these performers has been prophesied to lead a rebellion against the state, but is unsure of his ability to challenge the ever intimidating Ring Leader.

“We are working with each of the participating companies to continue our collaborative spirit” stated Fran Doyle. “our continued effort to revitalize Norristown is at the core of the festival.”

Each weekend there will be performances in the Centre Theater’s 4th floor space Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm. All seats are $15.00. Most performance dates are 60-75 minutes long. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Centre Theater website and checking the posted calendar for performances and times or at Patrons can also call the Centre at 610-279-101 3.

The Centre Theater and Iron Age Theatre have received Barrymore nominations for Outstanding Ensemble in “Terra Nova”, Best LeadActor in “The Elephant Man” and Outstanding New Play in 2011 for “Molumby's Million”. As City Paper’s Mark Cofta calls theCentre Theater “Norristown's Theatrical treasure.”

The Centre Theater has been involved with the project to develop an arts district in Norristown. The Theater has been the anchor for the arts in Norristown for more than 16 years. The theater is located at 208 DeKalb Street one block from the Norristown Transit Station, the street that has become “Norristown Arts Hill”. The facility is undergoing a massive renovation including the development of a new larger theatrical space.

Working together, The Centre Theater and Iron Age Theatre have been one of the most critically acclaimed companies in the area. The Philadelphia City Paper called the companies, The area's most under appreciated professional theater. The companies have also premiered ten plays in the past two years including “Molumby’s Million,” “Waiting for the Ship from Delos,” Philadelphia playwright Chris Braak’s “The Life of John Henry,” Jeffrey Hatcher’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and the 2011 smash hit “MAROONS” by Ray Saraceni.

The Centre Theater is in the Montgomery County Cultural Center at 208 DeKalb Street in Norristown. It is easily reached via routes 202, I-76, I-476 and Ridge Pike. There is plenty of free parking and the theater is one block from Septa’s Norristown Transit Center on the Manayunk/Norristown line. Call 610-279-1013 for tickets and information or visit the web at

Tentative Schedule
Three weeks of performances by groups including
January 6: Stoker's Dracula 8pm
January 7: Walla Fest: Local Music 7pm
January 8: Stoker's Dracula 2pm
January 8: Un Viaje-a from Walking Fish Theatre 8pm
January 12 and 13 Brilliant Traces 8pm
January 14 and 15 She Moved Through the Fair Sat@ 8pm and Sunday @ 2pm
January 16 Citizen Paine 8pm
January 20 F E S T U S: The 3-Legged Wonder Dog 8pm
January 21 Three American Indian Tales 1pm
January 21: From The Heavens 8pm
January 22: Sojourner 2pm
John Doyle
Co-Artistic Director
Iron Age Theatre

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Soldier's Christmas at Selma Mansion, December 10th

Christmas at Selma Mansion with

Company C, 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

1301 Airy Street in Norristown

----------------Schedule of Events----------------

10:00am: Formation and roll Call
10:10am: Flag Raising Ceremony
10:15 am: Bayonet Drill Demonstration
10:45am: Soldiers available to speak with the public in Camp.
11:30am: Paymaster and uniform exchange senerio.
12:00pm: Lunch in Camp. (Civil War food and cooking demonstration.)
1:15pm: Company Drill Demonstration. (Conducted in German)
1:45pm: Soldiers are available to speak with the public in Camp.
2;30pm: "Join the Army!" Spectators may be sworn into the army and join in marching and drilling with the soldiers.
3:15pm: Packages From Home and songs of the Soldier.
4:00pm: Crime and Punishment in The Civil War. The Trial and Execution of a Deserter.
4;30pm: End formal Program. Soldiers will remain to speak with the public and for the Caroler's program.
5:30pm: The Norristown Chorale will perform a program of Victorian era Christmas Carols.
6:00pm: Soldiers depart.

Share link below with your contacts for this saturdays selma event!