The Horizon Stage Performing Arts Centre officially raised its curtain for the first time on Saturday, February 5, 1983.
That inaugural evening featured music by the Meridian Singers, dance from Stony Plain Ukrainian Dancers, a presentation by the Spruce Grove Composite High School drama students and a special guest performance by then Assistant Deputy Minister of Culture Walter Kaasa.
The building was designed by acclaimed architect Douglas Cardinal whose other work includes government buildings in Spruce Grove, St. Albert and Ponoka, the Telus World of Science, Grande Prairie Regional College and the Museum of Civilization (1989) in Gatineau, Que.
Horizon Stage came about as a cooperative effort between the Town of Spruce Grove, the County of Parkland, Parkland School Division No. 70, the Kinsmen Club of Spruce Grove, and local visionaries who helped drive and guide the project. To conserve funds, it was designed as an addition to the new $11 million Spruce Grove Composite High School being built in 1980.
Horizon Stage marked the first time the Town and the County had jointly funded the capital cost of a project. They worked together to build the theatre and established the Theatre Management Board in 1982, which became the Theatre Advisory Board in 1990. The partners financed about half of the $1.3 million cost of the facility, with Alberta Culture providing matching funds.
The first manager of Horizon Stage was Bob McFarland. Fast forward through a few other names, until Lawrie Seligman managed the theatre from 2000–2013, and was the longest-serving manager. In 2013, Brandi Wurtz took over management of the theatre.
After undergoing extensive renovations in 2008, the theatre now seats 318 people and has state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems. Front of House operations are run by The Horizon Stagelighters while Horizon Stage Tech Team members volunteer backstage and in the booth.
Over the years a tremendous array of performers has graced Horizon Stage. From local amateurs and young students in school, dance and music recitals to internationally-acclaimed professionals, they have all served to enrich the cultural life of our community. In the past 30 years over half a million audience members have had the opportunity to enjoy live theatre, music, dance, family performances and more in the theatre’s intimate, informal setting. Every performance is Up Close and Personal.