/ˈdärk ˈˌhôrs/- a candidate or entrant judged unlikely to succeed.
The odds are stacked so incredibly high against artists in today's world. It takes strong will, courage, and a little bit of luck to make one’s mark. To us, all artists are Dark Horses and we support the underdogs. Behind the scenes we are about camaraderie, not competition.
The way we see it, we’re not competing against each other… we’re competing against screens.
To make strong choices and have fun doing it.
We strive to produce bold, imaginative, theatre in an accessible way. Being trailblazers by nature, we're not afraid to go off the beaten path. That's why we work on both new and established plays. We pledge to avoid the mundane and think outside of the black box. Dark Horse recruits the most hard working and committed talent, both onstage and off, while welcoming all who are willing to learn. We endeavor to create transformative experiences on both sides of the stage. It is a major priority to keep professional theatre inclusive. We accomplish this by keeping all tickets $20 or less, ensuring free parking at all venues, making each production experiential for the audience, holding occasional open rehearsals, and offering Q&A sessions with cast and crew after performances.
Join us and raise the stakes on your theatre experience.
Dark Horse Theatre Company, L.L.C. was founded in 2009 by Natasha Parnian and founding member Arianne’ Warner out of a mutual compulsion to produce challenging, collaborative, and daring theatrical work. They soon began work on the very first Dark Horse production Oleanna. At this time, the company was in residence at Artistree (later called The Artory) in Herndon, VA teaching classes and rehearsing. DHTC performed regularly at the DC Arts Center in Washington D.C. After many successful productions, the team decided to take a break from performances to regroup and focus mainly on workshops and education. In 2013, the company relocated to Fauquier County, VA. In 2018, Dark Horse began residence at Grace Church in The Plains. Calamity Improv was conceived and cast in August of 2018. In early 2019, we partnered with ArtsHerndon in efforts to share our work with even more Northern Virginia audiences. The company debuted IMPROVICON of Northern Virginia in June of 2019, which is now held bi-annually throughout Northern VA.
Dark Horse utilizes a studio theatre philosophy. Meaning, each show is developed under a workshop atmosphere and will evolve from the first rehearsal until closing night. Emphasis is placed on table work in the early stages. Homework and research are done throughout the entire rehearsal process. We have a 120 hour rehearsal period for all mainstage shows to allow time for exploration. We are highly inclusive and encourage anyone to come audition for productions or to be involved with our group, regardless of experience.
Casting between 14-16 weeks out
First Read Through is 12-14 weeks out
Considerable table work and study 8-12 weeks out
Actors on their feet and off book 8 weeks out
Production is ready by onstage rehearsals 1 week out
Call times are 60 minutes prior to curtain
Actors are required to participate in a Q&A after every performance
All roles are compensated by stipend