Funding from GCA allowed us to provide high-quality, professional programming for our 43,000+ diverse audience members from across the state, supporting eight full professional productions of contemporary plays that reached patrons from a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and ages. With funding, we were able to hire more than 200 local professional actors, directors, musicians, visual artists and designers. We grew our professional staff and encouraged them to lead initiatives that benefited the whole community, such as Project Dawn, one of our most ambitious play projects of 2017. Directed by Horizon’s Co-Artistic/Producing Director, Lisa Adler and featuring a cast of seven talented Atlanta actresses who doubled as both the victims and court staff, Project Dawn is based on a real life problem-solving court that offers rehabilitation to women seeking ways out of commercial sexual exploitation.
In its National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere at Horizon, Project Dawn was critically acclaimed and had deep community impact. Atlanta is one of the top cities in the country for sex trade and trafficking. Horizon partnered with twenty non-profit agencies to educate audiences about this issue. After every performance, guest respondents (survivors of sex trafficking, victims of the sex trade, social services professionals) participated in discussions with our audiences. Women, who had been trafficked, spoke passionately and honestly about their experience; bringing audiences to tears. Safe house and social service workers told the difficult truths about what recovery truly takes. Non-profit leaders spoke of laws to prevent exploitation in Georgia. These powerful activists gathered to engage with audience members to increase awareness. Lobby displays, hand-outs and our website provided concrete ways to help. We raised funds and supplies from our audiences for our partners, collecting a truck load of supplies for a residential program for women in rehabilitation.