Horizon Theatre Blog

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes: Horizon Theatre tries to become more inclusive onstage and off

It is often true that if you don’t set an intention for something you want to happen, it won’t.

It’s also true that if you don’t put dedicated action behind the intention, it certainly won’t come to pass.

Take, for instance, Horizon Theatre Company’s desire to expand its Black audience as well as produce more plays by Black playwrights. For nearly 20 years, the theater has tried to build both constituencies, first by showcasing one play each summer designed to appeal to Black audiences, particularly Black women. In a city such as Atlanta, with a significant and engaged Black cultural class, the move made sense even if it did give the appearance of earmarking one show a season as The Black Show. While Black people attended other productions throughout a season, and non-Black audiences attended the summer show, the Black audience was underserved. Then, three or four years ago, the theater decided to add another play to its annual season schedules, again, aimed at Black or non-white audiences.

Despite the number of Black playwrights out there working, the Horizon found it often got out-bid by other local theaters for the rights to produce popular plays by Black artists. It also didn’t have as many relationships as it wanted to with young, up-and-coming playwrights of color who would trust the theater with their work as they were trying to establish themselves as writers to watch.

“We are struggling every year to find things that we want to produce, that the audience wants to see,” said Lisa Adler, co-founder and co-artistic producing director of the Horizon. “So we said, let’s see if we can put a pipeline in place to make that happen.”

The result is a new initiative called the “New Georgia Woman Project: Black Women Speak.” Organized and led by Marguerite Hannah, Horizon’s Associate Artistic producer, the project is designed to be an incubator for both established and newer playwrights. In an effort to make sure the resulting work resonates with its target audience, this summer the theater invited 170 Black women from across metro Atlanta — some Horizon patrons, some not — to participate in virtual “coffee chats.”

In 21 chats held since July, the topics have ranged from parenting to traveling to health and religion, all through the experience of going through this life as a Black woman. The program’s inaugural nine playwrights joined the chats, mostly to listen. It’s from these candid conversations that the Horizon is hopeful their company will become more diverse, and writers of color will get a better shot at having their work produced.

“We’re not a monolith and we’re tired of the larger population thinking of us as a monolith,” said Hannah.

“It’s all valid”

Hannah said the theater did a national search for the playwrights but required them to either have a strong connection to the South or live in the South.

There are four established playwrights: CandriceJones, AriDy Knox, A’ndrea J. Wilson, and Shay Youngblood. The emerging playwrights are: Tramaine Brathwaite, Amina McIntyre, Chiwuzo Ife Okwumabua, Kelundra Smith and Dana L. Stringer.

That the program is launching now is significant. Adler said the Horizon, along with other theaters across the country, have faced an onslaught of criticism since the killing of George Floyd by police forced a racial reckoning in many corners of American life. After the scathing manifesto, “We See You White American Theatre,” was conceived and released by some of theater’s most celebrated artists, directors and producers of color (and a few white allies) last summer, theaters around the country have been grappling with its mandate: do better with inclusion and diversity both onstage and off.

“We know that in the theater world, it is top of mind of every single conversation that I have,” Adler said. “There is no conversation in which that is not at least part of the subject matter of whatever meeting I’m in, and we’ve been in a lot of meetings nationally and locally.”

The national conversations struck a nerve: At least seven new plays opening on Broadway this fall are by Black writers. According to a New York Times report, in the three years prior to the pandemic, there had only been three, total.

Adler said her theater — as well as others locally — has had its share of criticism as well.

“We have not been immune,” Adler said. “It’s all valid and we try to do better.”

“Hear these stories”

The Horizon produced writer Shay Youngblood’s early work in the late 1980s, in what was the start of the artist’s long, prolific career. Youngblood has sat in on several of the coffee chats. So far about 70 of the invited women have joined at least one gathering. Youngblood said that while the conversations have been valuable to her as a Black woman, as a playwright she often works in isolation creating trajectories for imaginary Black lives that she’s hopeful resonate with real women. The chats have created a community of other playwrights like her, she said, but they’ve also given her the chance to hear the unvarnished thoughts of Black women struggling with life but also rejoicing in it.

“What has grown out of the coffee chats has been unbelievable,” Hannah said. “It has become like bridge clubs used to be in my mother’s generation. At the end of it you hear women say, ‘Wow. This was so good I don’t need to go to therapy this week. We have common bonds. We’re affirming each other, but honoring our diversity.”

In a recent conversation about travel, there were stories of trips to far flung places pre-pandemic, but one woman confessed that travel wasn’t a priority for her because of her family’s finances. But the woman has come up with an alternative.

“She and some other friends get together and go out and just for a night they’re not mommies,” Youngblood said. “It gives them a chance to be themselves.”

Another upcoming chat will be about the men in their lives. But even with such unfettered access to private thoughts, Youngblood said neither she nor any of the other writers are scripting plays directly based on what they hear or on any one person. Instead, the conversations are serving as catalysts for larger stories.

“I’m writing to and for Black women, but I’m not writing only for Black women,” Youngblood said. “I want other people to come to the theater and hear these stories and perhaps be educated.”

The established writers turn early drafts of their work in to Hannah in November and by late January or early February there will be public readings of some of the plays. The emerging writers will turn in drafts in spring. Then, some time in 2023 or perhaps even late 2022, some of those works will make it to the Horizon stage.

Horizon Theatre Announces the New Georgia Woman Project: Black Women Speak

A Groundbreaking Project Amplifying the Stories and Voices of Black Women 

(Atlanta, GA) – Horizon Theatre Company announces the launch of the nationally recognized New Georgia Woman Project: Black Women Speak (BWS) program to develop plays that will amplify the voices of African-American women.  BWS is a groundbreaking initiative to create works of and by Black women and for all, inspired by conversations with real Black women of Georgia.  Horizon through Black Women Speak has commissioned a cohort of nine Black female playwrights to create new plays to bring to the stage the stories, lives, and concerns of Black women.  Black Women Speak is the recipient of the National New Play Network (NNPN) inaugural Bridge Program funding awarded to only 18 theaters in the US and an innovation grant from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.

One year after America’s latest period of social reckoning, the BWS initiative seeks to explore the question: What are Black women thinking, feeling, and doing now? 

Led by Horizon’s Associate Artistic Producer Marguerite Hannah, Horizon’s BWS team has gathered to date over 150 Black women in and from the Atlanta metro area and across the south to join Horizon for a series of small group conversations or Coffee Chats.  Conducted via Zoom, Coffee Chats have brought together Black women to meet, share life stories, engage, and grow in community with one another. They include women from various backgrounds, including career professionals and business owners, physicians, educators, community activists, stay-at mothers, and retirees. In turn, these chats are inspiring nine playwrights to create new scripts featuring dynamic Black female characters to expand the canon of work by Black women writers. Through this project, Horizon aims to seed plays that will be produced on our stage over the next five years, beginning in 2023. 

Though these plays will be based on the thoughts and feelings of Black women in Atlanta and across Georgia, the goal is to create works that resonate with Black women nationwide and with audiences of all genders and races.  These powerful stories will be developed by and grounded in the cultures of Black women. This increased canon of work by female playwrights of color will positively impact audiences, the American theatre, and the world by expanding the narrative of Black voices.  We will also provide artistic opportunities for BIPOC actors and creative teams as these scripts continue to develop into full productions. 

The BWS Playwright Artists Cohort of four playwrights developing plays for Black Women Speak includes: Candrice Jones, AriDy Nox, A’ndrea J. Wilson, and Shay Youngblood. The BWS Emerging Playwrights Collective of five playwrights includes Tramaine Brathwaite, Amina McIntyre, Chiwuzo Ife Okwumabua, Kelundra Smith, Dana Stringer (biographies for each playwright are listed below).

The power of the BWS project is best exemplified by the words of Associate Artistic Producer Marguerite Hannah: The past, present, and future of Black America cannot be told without referencing Atlanta and its people. We have political power, culture, wealth, higher education, and a proud history as the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement. The cultural upheaval of 2020 has stirred many powerful images of Black women and their impact on the landscape of America. We must not miss the opportunity to use our art to give voice to these times.

Horizon Co-Artistic/Producing Director, Lisa Adler shares: Our goal through this project is to develop new relationships with artists and audiences who will have an ongoing, long-term connection with Horizon and the BWS project. We hope and believe that these relationships will also generate new connections for Horizon Theatre, helping to create a more diverse and equitable organization on all levels.

Horizon has invited Black women from across Georgia to participate in our Coffee Chats, beginning with our audiences and branching out from there.   We are honored to partner with the City of Alpharetta and Alpharetta Arts Center to reach audiences in the North Fulton area for Coffee Chats and with upcoming readings.   

Readings of excerpts from the works in development for Black Women Speak will be held virtually and in person at the Alpharetta Arts Center October 29-30, 2021 and at Horizon November 5-7, 2021.   More details and reservation/watch information will be announced in October.  Development and public readings of the BWS full-length plays will begin in 2022, and production of selected BWS plays will begin as part of Horizon’s 39th season in 2023.

Anyone nationwide interested in the project is encouraged to sign up to receive updates by filling out the first page of our BWS survey.  Black women of Georgia can fill out as much of the survey as they like and request to join us for a Coffee Chat:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/bwsparticipants

Or visit the Black Women Speak page on the Horizon Theatre website for more information and regular updates: https://www.horizontheatre.com/black-women-speak/

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BLACK WOMEN SPEAK PLAYWRIGHT ARTISTS COHORT

Candrice Jones is a Steinberg awarded playwright from Dermott, Arkansas. Candrice’s artistic mission is to write love letters for and to women of the American South. A VONA Playwriting alum and CalArts Critical Studies MFA recipient, she has been a resident fellow at Ground Floor housed by the Berkeley Rep, the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, and MacDowell’s Colony of the Arts. She is scheduled to be a resident playwright at Djerassi’s Colony of the Arts in the fall of 2022. Candrice has received the Many Voices  (2020) and Jerome Fellowship (2021) from The Playwrights’ Center . Her play, FLEX, was developed at VONA, Ground Floor, the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, and was scheduled to premiere at Actors Theater of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays, but was cancelled due to COVID. In the 2020-21 season, Candrice received virtual commissions from People’s Light Theater (Leaving Teaching) and Actors Theater of Louisville (Beyond the Crossroads), as well as reading opportunities from Theatrical Outfit, National New Play Network, and San Francisco Playhouse. Recently, Candrice’s full length play, A Medusa Thread, received a reading in UC Santa Barbara’s BIPOC Reading Series where it will go on to receive a preview production scheduled in spring of 2022.  Currently, Candrice excited about opportunities she has received from Virginia’s Signature Theater to collaborate with composer Nolan Williams as well as upcoming opportunities with Horizon Theatre’s Black Women Speak playwriting lab, and Orchard Project’s 2021 Episodic Lab. In May 2021, she took on the role of Director of New Programs at The Arkansas Repertory Theater in Little Rock, AR where she is in the midst of creating opportunities for playwrights who focus on the American South.

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AriDy Nox is a multi-disciplinary Black femme storyteller and social activist with a variety of forward-thinking creative works under her/their belt including the historical reimagining of the life of Sally Hemmings Black Girl in Paris (2020), the ancestral reckoning play A Walless Church (2019), the afrofuturist ecopocalypse musical Metropolis (2019), and many others. AriDy writes with a fervent belief that creating a future in which marginalized peoples are free requires a radical imagination. 

Their tales are offerings intended to function as small parts of an ancient, expansive, awe-inspiring tradition of world-shaping, created by and for black femmes. As a graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU and a beneficiary of the Emerging Writer’s Group at the Public Theatre, she has been inordinately privileged to share the workings of her imagination among a vast array of inspiring and supportive artists of various radical backgrounds throughout the city. 

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A’ndrea J. Wilson, Ph.D. is a multi-medium creative writer, educator, and speaker. She integrates her clinical background, interest in interpersonal/intrapersonal development, and love for the African-American community with storytelling. A’ndrea holds a B.S. in Psychology, a M.S. in Counseling Psychology; an MFA in Dramatic Writing, and a Ph.D. in Global Leadership.

A’ndrea works has been nominated for the Kennedy Center’s Graduate Playwrights Workshop, and selected for readings at the National Black Theatre Festival. An alumnus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, A’ndrea was the recipient of a 2017-2018 Alumni Atelier Award/Ambassadorship, a quarter-long writing residency. A’ndrea is also the Braida Endowed Chair of Creative Writing, and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Grand View University. She teaches English, Creative Writing, and Theatre courses. 

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Shay Youngblood is a writer, visual artist, and educator. She is the author of several novels including Black Girl in Paris, collections of short stories and numerous essays. Her published plays including Shaking the Mess Out of Misery, Talking Bones and Amazing Grace, a stage adaptation of a children’s book (all produced by Horizon), have been widely produced and her short stories have been performed at Symphony Space and recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. In 2021 she was appointed Commissioner to the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission and serves as a board member of Yaddo artists’ community. Her current projects include an illustrated children’s books, a super hero graphic novel collaboration, a radio play and The Architecture of Soul Sounda multi-media performance work about architecture, memory and the environment inspired by research in Japan, China and the U.S. 

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BLACK WOMEN SPEAK EMERGING PLAYWRIGHTS COLLECTIVE

Tramaine Brathwaite is a Guyanese-American playwright and writes about topics that are honest, uncomfortable, and sometimes taboo. She believes that life is a play waiting to happen…just write. Some of her written plays include: Unnerving Stains, Enigma, Last Train to Glen Echo, Point…Blank…Period!, and Count It All Joy. She also wrote and produced a short film entitled Unheard. Tramaine was a 2015-2016 Horizon Theatre Company Apprentice, 2016-2017 Working Title Playwrights Rhame Scholarship recipient, a 2017-2018 Atlanta Women in Theatre Mentorship recipient, and is a member of The Dramatist Guild.  In 2017, Tramaine was published in The Louisville Review No. 81. She holds a B.S. in Business from the University of Maryland College Park and a Masters in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She uses her experiences and writes pieces that speak to the realities around her. Tramaine is a Maryland native residing in Hampton, GA.

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Amina McIntyre is a playwright from Atlanta, GA, who has had productions and readings of her plays with Working Title Playwrights at OnStage Atlanta, TipMyCup Productions at the Roy Arias Theater in New York, Wabash College, Colby College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Spalding University, Indiana Theater Association ITWorks 2008, West Side Community CME Church, Sabrina McKenzie Ministries’ EPIC Women’s Conference, Lenoir-Rhyne University and the Hickory Museum of Art. Amina received a BA in Anthropology at Colby College, a MA in African American and African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, a MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and a MTS from Emory University. She is a member of Working Title Playwrights, an Atlanta-based play development company, and Managing Director of Karibu Performing Arts, LLC/Songs of Karibu. Recently she presented her play All’s Fair in Jewels and Dresses at the Fort Wayne Fringe Festival and she was an invited playwright for the Atlanta One Minute Play Festival.

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Chiwuzo Ife Okwumabua (Chi Ife) has over ten years of experience in arts administration and the performing arts. She has worked as a show producer, production manager, lyricist, and actress for various productions nationally and internationally. As a producer, she is passionate about presenting innovative bodies of work that empower and create social change. As a lyricist and writer, her mission is to create original work that is thought-provoking, elevates audiences to a higher state of consciousness, and motivates people to live their best life. The original work that she creates is influenced by West African and Black American culture. Ife is the creator, songwriter, and co-writer of A Song for Adaeze, an original Afro-Futurism musical production. Presentations of Adaeze have been featured at The Atlanta Black Theater Festival, Art on the Beltline, Push Through Arts Festival, and will be a part of the 2022 Atlanta Musical Theater Festival.

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Kelundra Smith is a theatre critic, arts journalist, and playwright whose mission is to connect people to cultural experiences and each other. Her work has been published in: The New York Times, Food & Wine, American Theatre Magazine, Bitter Southerner, TDF Stages, ArtsATL, Atlanta Magazine, and many other publications. She holds a bachelor’s degrees in magazine journalism and theatre from the University of Georgia and her master’s degree from the Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University.

Kelundra is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Theatre Critics Association, where she serves on the executive committee and the equity, diversity & inclusion committee. She has been a fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Critics Institute and guest critic at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Today, she primarily reviews plays by and about diverse people from marginalized communities and writes articles about artistic works created by women and people of color.

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Dana L. Stringer is a playwright, poet, screenwriter, and writing instructor with an MA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is an adjunct creative writing instructor in the Inspiration2Publication program at Antioch University Online. Dana has served as a guest playwright and judge for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and serves currently as the Artist-in-Residence at Out of Hand Theater. 

Her recent play, We the Village, was selected for Theatrical Outfit’s Made in Atlanta new play development program and the Unexpected Play Festival (2020), as well as Working Title Playwright’s First Light Series (2018). Dana’s work have been presented by Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Billie Holiday Theatre, Black Theatre Network, Vanguard Repertory Company, Ain’t I a Woman Playfest, Blue Pearl Theatrics, National Black Theatre Festival, Fade to Black Play Festival, and MoJo Fest, amongst other companies. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild and Working Title Playwrights.

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Horizon Associate Artistic Producer Marguerite Hannah will be the lead artist on the project. She is a Black female, Producer, director, and actor with over 30 years in the industry and 15 years at Horizon. She has been in a leadership role at Horizon for 15 years, serving as business manager first, director of the Horizon Apprentice Company, and now director and Producer. She began her 30-year professional acting career as an actor at Horizon. She is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., another “Black Mecca.” In addition to her work at Horizon,  Marguerite Hannah is also working to further equity in the theatre industry through leadership positions with the National New Play Network (where she serves as the current Board Secretary) and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (where she serves on the Board and Co-Chair of the NAMT Festival)

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Horizon Theatre Company connects people, inspires hope, and promotes positive change through the stories of our times. We produce professional area and world premieres of smart, funny, and provocative contemporary plays. We also develop the next generation of diverse artists and audiences. We are currently producing online theatre and special events through our new “Horizon at Home” program, which can be found at horizontheatre.com/horizon-at-home. For more information about Horizon Theatre Company, call 404.584.7450, email boxoffice@horizontheatre.com, or visit horizontheatre.com.

Major funding is provided bythe City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and Fulton County Arts and Culture, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, The Shubert Foundation, The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Horizon is also supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. We are grateful for our play and program corporate sponsors: Warner Media; Macy’s; the National Alliance of Musical Theatres; and the National New Play Network. 

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MEDIA:  Click here for images to go with this release

For more information and to set up interviews, please contact Elizabeth Hodges at elizabeth@horizontheatre.com.

About EARTH LOVE

Watch some of your favorite Horizon artists celebrate our planet and its future!
Experience a dozen short plays and scenes from local and national writers whose stories and styles are as diverse as their settings.

From RuPaul’s fracking ranch in Wyoming to a dreamworld of talking trees,
go on a series of adventures with over 20 characters straight from your computer.
This show was recorded with a live Zoom audience on May 13, 2021 at 8pm.

You’re sure to leave this virtual live performance full of theatrical Love for our Earth!

Horizon Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival Takes Off

Thank you to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for your coverage of the Horizon Theatre Company Young Playwrights Festival held virtually the week of May 26, 2021.

We are proud of these college-aged students who participated in an intensive week-long training workshop for some of the country’s most promising playwrights and storytellers. The workshop culminated in professional actors performing the short plays, with each show streamed online by Horizon. We’re especially proud of Chayton Pabich Danyla, Yazmeen Mayes, and Kalani Washington for being the faces of this great article!

Tony-Award-Winning Playwright Joins Us for Virtual Production

September 17, 2020 (Atlanta, GA)

What happens when brain and heart collide? Two grad students might have the answer, if they can look up from their research long enough to find out. At 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25-26 and Oct. 2-3, Horizon Theatre will premiere a Horizon at Home virtual production of Completeness by Tony-Award-Winning playwright Itamar Moses (The Band’s Visit), who will join the theatre live via Zoom for a special performance intro and talkback. This romantic comedy takes a modern look at love through a scientific lens.

Post-show discussions immediately following each showing of the play will allow audience members to engage directly with the artists, as well as special guests. Moses, along with the cast and director, will take questions from the audience on Saturday, Sept. 26. Following the Sept. 25 and Oct. 2-3 showings, Horizon is partnering with Science ATL to give audiences access to scientists studying the types of computer science and molecular biology described in the play.

In Completeness, Elliot, a computer scientist, and Molly, a molecular biologist, are struggling with the realities of romance. When love is the answer, how do these two intellectuals manage to figure out the equation in the first place? When Elliot builds a computer program to help Molly with her research project, the variables in their evolving relationship shift as rapidly as the terms of their experiment. You’ll see both their romantic triumphs and regressions mirrored in the science they create.

The filmed reading of Completeness is the second collaboration between Horizon and Moses. Horizon previously produced Moses’ musical Nobody Loves You in 2017.

“We’re delighted to be working with Itamar [Moses] again, and thrilled that audiences will be able to meet him,” says Producing Artistic Director Lisa Adler. “His writing is smart, funny, and about people searching for deep connections. This is a wonderful show for our four talented actors. We’re proud of all of Itamar’s accomplishments, and happy to present this play that’s close to his heart.”

Moses links the idea for Completeness back to a college engineering course, where he learned about the “Traveling Salesman Problem.”

“I remember liking how simple the problem was and that it had this evocative, non-science sounding name,” says Moses. “The Traveling Salesman Problem…is essentially a problem of choice-making when there are too many possibilities, and it suddenly occurred to me that it was a good metaphor for choosing a life partner. I immediately saw the seeds of a romantic comedy about someone working on the problem who also sees it manifest in his personal life, and my protagonist, Elliot, was born.”

At its heart, Completeness is a play about the impossibility of certainty…in life, love, and cellular reproduction. At turns hilarious and seductive, Completeness will inspire both laughter and empathy.

Though performing virtually has its challenges, the medium also has its advantages. The natural setting of the actors’ homes, along with minor editing and music design, lends the piece a cinematic feel. The intimate nature of the camera gives audiences closer access to the actors’ craft than they would have in a live setting.

The medium also enables Horizon to coordinate a live introduction and live post-show discussions for each night of the run with participants from all over the country. Moses will login from Brooklyn, NY, where he is based as a playwright. Director Heidi McKerley and the cast—comprised of Atlanta favorites Chris Hecke, Naima Carter Russell, Shelli Delgado, and Eric J. Little—will join from their homes across Metro Atlanta.

“Staying at home is changing the way we see the arts world, especially theatre,” says video and sound designer Amy Levin. “We want to make sure everyone still has access to plays, so it’s become a matter of translating something written specifically for one medium and adapting it to another.”

Atlanta-area scientists will also weigh in on the real implications of the science posed in the play thanks to a partnership with Science ATL.

“I’ve invited scientists with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences within the fields of computer science and molecular biology,” shares Kellie Vinal, Ph.D., Public Events Coordinator for Science ATL. “I think the unique combinations of expertise and experiences will make for lively discussion.”

Completeness is part of the Horizon at Home series, which began after theatres across the country went dark to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Previous Horizon at Home events have included Cooking Ala Lala (a weekly cooking show with Horizon actress Lala Cochran), Tom Talks (a talk show hosted by long-time Horizon playwright/director Thomas W. Jones II), Sing with Keena (a singing workshop for audience member amateurs with music director Keena Redding), and Nope, That’s Just My First Name (a weekly series of intimate stories from actor/playwright Suehyla El-Attar).

“While we are all anxious to get back to live performance, there have been some wonderful benefits of living in the Zoom world,” Adler says. “Restrictions always birth creativity, and so for theatres, we are exploring all the possibilities for taking our theatre story-telling tools into other mediums and locations.”

Completeness will premiere at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25-26 and Oct. 2-3. Tickets are free, but donations are encouraged (suggested donation of $10 per person or more), and registration is required. Audiences can register to attend at horizontheatre.com/horizon-at-home-completeness.

STORY

In Completeness, Elliot, a computer scientist, and Molly, a molecular biologist, are struggling with the realities of romance. When love is the answer, how do these two intellectuals manage to figure out the equation in the first place? When Elliot builds a computer program to help Molly with her research project, the variables in their evolving relationship shift as rapidly as the terms of their experiment. You’ll see both their romantic triumphs and regressions mirrored in the science they create.

PLAYWRIGHT

An acclaimed writer for both the big stage and the small screen, ITAMAR MOSES is the 2018 Tony-Award-winner for the Best Book of a Musical for the hit Broadway production of The Band’s Visit–for which he and David Yazbek (music and lyrics) also took home top honors in Musical Theatre from the Obie Awards (for its Off-Broadway debut at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2016-17). Born in Berkeley, CA, and a resident of Brooklyn, NY, Moses holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU, has taught playwriting at both his alma mater and at Yale University, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. His other plays (which include The Four of UsBach at Leipzig, and Completeness) and musicals (Nobody Loves You with Gaby Alter and Fortress of Solitude with Michael Friedman) have appeared Off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally. Horizon Theatre produced the hilarious Nobody Loves You, set in on a dating reality show, in 2017. His writing for the popular TV series Men of a Certain Age (TNT), Boardwalk Empire (HBO), and Outsiders (WGN) is well known to viewers throughout the country. 

DIRECTOR

HEIDI McKERLEY is a Horizon Artistic Associate who has been directing for Horizon for over two decades, including most of Horizon’s musicals, most recently the acclaimed Once. She has been fortunate to work with most professional theatres in Atlanta during her thirty-two years of living here; including, the Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse, Georgia Shakespeare, Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, Aurora Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Actor’s Express, Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Theatre Emory, Dad’s Garage, Fabrefaction, Jewish Theatre of the South, Theatre in the Square, Push Push Theatre, and has been a guest artist for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, Berry College, Kennesaw State University, the Lagrange Lyric, and the University of Georgia. She has also taught for the acting intern companies of Actor’s Express and the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Heidi has been nominated for thirteen Suzi Bass Awards, and won Best Director of a Musical in 2011 for Avenue Q. She enjoys writing and wrote the book for one of the three first official entries to be showcased in the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival, The Fine Art of Forgetting. Heidi was the Founding Producing Artistic Director of Soul-stice Repertory Ensemble, offering thirty-one theatrical classics at 7 Stages in eleven years. Regionally, Heidi has worked for the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and the Oasis Theatre and Hippodrome State Theatre in Florida. She is a member of the Southern Order of Storytellers, the National Storytelling Network, the Alliance for Theatre in Education, Georgia Thespians, the Georgia Theatre Conference, and the Educational Theatre Association of America. 

CAST

CHRIS HECKE (Elliot) is a regional actor and a proud Immigrant from Brazil. He holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Arkansas. Since moving to the US at the age of 18, Chris has been blessed to work from Atlanta, to Fayetteville, to Greenville, to Gainesville. Since making Atlanta his professional, home-base in 2016, his favorite credits include: Hotspur (Henry IV Pt.1), Edmund the Bastard (King Lear), and Berowne (Love’s Labours Lost) at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern; stints in Shakespeare in Love and My Father’s War at Theatre Squared; and Pablo (Native Gardens) at Aurora Theatre. He has also been an actor in Horizon Theatre’s New South Young Playwright’s Festival from 2018-2020.

NAIMA CARTER RUSSELL (Molly) is an Atlanta resident, FSU Alumnus, and a Suzi Bass Award winner for her role as Felicia Farrell in Memphis (Aurora Theater /Theatrical Outfit). Other regional credits include: The Nacirema Society…and Christmas Carol (Alliance Theatre); Big Fish and Godspell (Theatrical Outfit); Tranced and Lark Eden (Aurora Theatre); Antigone (Georgia Shakespeare), Caroline, or Change (St. Louis Black Rep), and Rejoice (True Colors Theatre Company). Film/TV credits include: “House of Payne”, “Let’s Stay Together”, and “Banshee”. She is a passionate diverse book reviewer and shares the drama of mothering two girls. Her handle is @itsthedramamama on Instagram.

SHELLI DELGADO (Lauren/Nell) recently played Siobhan in Horizon’s & Aurora Theatre’s joint production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Regional Credits: A Christmas Carol, Max Makes a Million, Tiger Style!, Little Raindrop Songs and Dinosaur! (Alliance Theatre); A Doll’s House Part 2, The Crucible*, RENT (Actor’s Express, *Suzi Bass Award for Featured Actress), Hamlet (Atlanta Shakespeare Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Warehouse Theatre), Into the Woods, Don’t Dress for Dinner, 4000 Miles, Les Misérables (Aurora Theatre), Sense & Sensibility (Synchronicity Theatre), Grease, Miss Saigon (Serenbe). TV: “The Vampire Diaries”. IG: @shellidelgado Black Lives Matter.

ERIC J. LITTLE (Don, Franklin) is an actor, teacher, director, and writer. Having received his MFA in acting from Louisiana State University, he has acted on professional stages across Atlanta, as well as in New York and Louisiana. His Film/TV work includes “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” “Necessary Roughness,” “The Clubhouse – (Pilot)”, “The Know Better Effect – (Pilot),” “Hamlet’s Ghost,” “Lottery Ticket,” the lead in two short films “Perfect Day” and “A Beautiful Death,” and also various commercials. Eric’s been nominated for Five Suzi Awards, and the winner of the 2011 Suzi Award Winner Lead Actor for Superior Donuts (Horizon Theatre Company). Eric is currently an Adjunct Professor at Clark Atlanta University where he teaches acting and where he has directed productions of “for black boys who have considered homicide when the streets were too much,” “Before It Hits Home,” and “The Brothers Size.”

ABOUT HORIZON THEATRE COMPANY

Horizon Theatre Company connects people, inspires hope, and promotes positive change through the stories of our times. We produce professional area and world premieres of smart, funny, and provocative contemporary plays. We also develop the next generation of diverse artists and audiences. We are currently producing online theatre and special events through our new “Horizon at Home” program which can be found at horizontheatre.com/horizon-at-home.

For more information, call 404.584.7450, email boxoffice@horizontheatre.com, or visit horizontheatre.com.

Major funding is provided by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, and The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts. We are grateful for our play and program corporate sponsors: the Warner Media and Macy’s.

ABOUT SCIENCE ATL

Science ATL brings people together through the wonder of science. Our mission is to cultivate an equitable community of lifelong learners across metro Atlanta who are connected and inspired by the wonder of science. We achieve this by fostering a love of science, building community around science, and enabling equitable access to science learning opportunities.

About The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

ATLANTA (September 2019) – Horizon Theatre Company is continuing its outstanding 35th Anniversary Season with one of the most critically acclaimed plays of the past decade, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Winner of 7 Olivier Awards and 5 Tony Awards including ‘Best Play,’ the show brings Mark Haddon’s beloved best-selling novel to thrilling life on stage, adapted by two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens.  Horizon Theatre Company’s Atlanta premiere starts performances September 20, 2019 (Press Opening September 27, 2019) and runs until October 27, 2019 at Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points/Inman Park (1083 Austin Avenue N.E., Atlanta, GA 30307)  Atlanta. This show is a co-production between Horizon Theatre Company and Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This production will move to Aurora for a run from January 9 through February 9, 2020. The play is sponsored in part by The Marcus Autism Center, a subsidiary of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Osiason Educational Foundation.

Horizon Co-Artistic Director Lisa Adler and Aurora Associate Artistic Director Justin Anderson co-direct the play along with guest artist movement director Roger Ellis (movement professor, Northwestern University).  “The production is highly theatrical – using choreography, the actors’ imagination, projections, lights and sound to create Christopher’s very different world from his perspective,” said Adler.  “The ensemble of eight actors creates Christopher’s environments and all of the people and places he encounters in his incredible journey.  It’s part mystery/detective story, part whimsical peek into a young man’s mind and part suspenseful thriller.”   

Tenacious and intelligent, Christopher is an autistic teenager who’s better at solving equations than navigating a world that’s stubbornly out of sync with how his mind works. After being wrongly accused of murdering his neighbor’s dog, he resolves to find the real culprit. But, when his investigation uncovers painful truths about his family, he dares to strike out on his own, embarking on a thrilling adventure that turns his whole world upside down.

Playwright Simon Stephens’ stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won the 2013 Olivier Award and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. He is an artistic associate at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London and is an acclaimed writer whose plays have been produced in London, New York and around the world. Mark Haddon‘s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was published in 2003 and was the winner of more than 17 literary awards and became a New York Times bestseller. He has written extensively for both adults and children as well as for BBC Television.

ABOUT MARCUS AUTISM CENTER

Marcus Autism Center is maximizing the potential of children with autism today and transforming the nature of autism for future generations. As one of the largest autism centers in the U.S. and one of only five National Institutes of Health (NIH) Autism Centers of Excellence, Marcus Autism Center offers families access to the latest research, comprehensive testing and science-based treatments.

What started as an act of compassion for local children with autism by Bernie Marcus, is today one of the country’s largest clinical centers for pediatric autism. After realizing the difference the Marcus Autism Center was making for kids with autism, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta saw potential to combine efforts to provide top-quality healthcare to all children. In 2008, Marcus Autism Center became a part of Children’s. When it became clear that the transformative work being done should be shared nation- and even worldwide, Children’s with collaboration from Emory University, helped make that a reality.

Marcus Autism Center is the comprehensive resource for children with autism, and the only place poised to change autism for kids today and into the future. Marcus goes beyond the center’s doors to share research and train providers worldwide so that all kids with autism live happier, healthier lives.

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A Visit from Sweet Water’s Playwright

A Visit From Sweet Water Taste’s Playwright, Gloria Bond Clunie

Horizon Theatre Company’s production of Sweet Water Taste opened on July 12th to audience acclaim and critical kudos.  We were lucky enough to have the show’s playwright, Gloria Bond Clunie, with us for the opening weekend. Playwright Gloria Bond Clunie was inspired to write Sweet Water Taste after reading an article in Time Magazine about Jefferson & Hemings. While the play is set in modern day, it is not hard to see the connection.  Originally from North Carolina, Clunie set Sweet Water Taste there.

W. E. B. Dubois declared that the most difficult question of the 20th century is the color line! Even as we slip into the twenty-first century, this question still begs to be addressed. Though integration in some arenas is evident, the vestiges of racism still lurk under the trappings of a legally desegregated society.

As cities explode over which monuments should stand or fall, we wonder when the next “Charlottesville” will erupt. We ask ourselves, “Are ‘both sides’ really to blame?” In this “Post- Obama Era,” why are some outraged when NFL players drop a knee with Kaepernick? What are the unspoken thoughts when two African-American sisters compete at Wimbledon? Are there times when integration is inappropriate? Should all doors swing wide? Should some remain closed? In 2019, why do descendants of Thomas Jefferson still refuse burial to descendants of Sally Hemings’ in the ‘family graveyard’ at Monticello?

Are we truly brothers and sisters under the skin?

As we become a more homogenous, yet diverse society, these are subtle issues we must continue to reexamine as new generations view icons like Dubois and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as historical figures instead of living leaders. When addressing such serious issues, perhaps if we sometimes open our mouths to laugh, we might open our hearts to a wider understanding of humanity and hopefully discover unique solutions to the challenges we face in our future.

Peace! Joy! Power! Blessings!

-Gloria Bond Clunie

Gloria Bond Clunie is an award-winning playwright, director and educator. Clunie is a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago’s Regional Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theater where her plays North StarLiving Green and Shoes premiered. She is also the founding Artistic Director of Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Other plays include SMOKEMalindy, Sing!Buck NakedDRIPMerry KwanzaaMercy Rising and QUARK. Her plays have been workshopped and produced in a variety of theaters including Victory Gardens Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, ETA, Alliance Theatre, Triad Stage, Her Story Theatre, MPAACT, Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, Penobscot Theatre and Orlando Shakespeare Theater. She and her husband Basil live in Evanston, Illinois and are the proud parents of daughter Aurelia.

About THE CAKE

Horizon Theatre Company is continuing its 35th Anniversary Season with a production from the writer of TV’s biggest hit, This Is Us – Bekah Brunstetter! THE CAKE, a touching new comedy, will hit the Little Five Points stage from May 17 – June 23, 2019. THE CAKE is hailed by STAGESCENELA as “A DEEPLY PERSONAL, DELIGHTFULLY DOWN-HOME PORTRAIT OF THE GAY-WEDDING-CAKE-WARS.”

“This play is so wonderfully funny and full of heart that I immediately fell in love with each of the characters the first time I read it,” says director Lauren Morris. “The real magic of Bekah’s writing is that as you are drawn in, you can’t help but also begin to look at yourself. I think it is really rare right now to encounter a divisive issue and not know immediately which side you’re on. Politically, we’re often so isolated from people who think differently than we do, that we forget that ‘they’ really are a lot like ‘us’ — doing the best they can to do what they truly believe is the right thing. The Cake is full of love, in all of its complexities, contradictions, comforts, and hopes, for not only for us, but also for them. And to me, that’s maybe just the medicine we all need right now.”

All is going well for Della. Her North Carolina bakery is legendary and she’s just been cast on her favorite television baking competition. And when the girl she helped raise comes home and asks her to make a cake for her upcoming wedding, she’s overjoyed – until she discovers that the fiancé is actually a fiancée. Della’s life is suddenly turned upside down. She can’t really make a cake for a gay wedding, can she? Struggling to reconcile her deeply-held belief in “traditional marriage” and the love she has for the woman she helped raise, Della finds herself in strange new territory. Inspired by a story still in the headlines, this marvelously funny new play by Bekah Brunstetter (TV’s This Is Us) is proof that love is the key ingredient in creating common ground.


Bringing this story to life is four of the best Atlanta actors out there. As Della, the baker forced to re-examine, is the fabulous Marcie Millard (Horizon’s Third Country, City Spring’s 42nd Street). Opposite Millard as Jim, Della’s husband, is Horizon favorite Allan Edwards who has been in atr least one show each season over the past five years (Horizon’s Waffle Palace Christmas, Citizens Market, City of Conversation). As Jen, a woman returning home to plan her dream wedding, is Rhyn McLemore Saver (Alliance’s Ever After, Aurora’s Bridges of Madison County). Finally, as Macy, the woman set to marry Jen, is Parris Sarter (7 Stage’s Angry Fags, Actor’s Express’ Angels In America).

Lauren Morris leads a Suzi Award Winning creative team that includes scenic design from Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay, lighting design from Mary Parker, costume design from Cole Spivia, and sound design from Amy L Levin.


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT & HOW THE CAKE WAS BAKED:
Playwright Bekah Brunstetter hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and currently lives in Los Angeles. She is a producer on NBC’s This is Us and is currently working on a musical adaptation of The Notebook with Ingrid Michaelson. Brunstetter grew up Southern Baptist in a conservative, religious family. In fact, her father, a former state senator, voted for a 2012 amendment that prohibited same-sex marriage in North Carolina, although it was declared unconstitutional in federal court in 2014. So, she had been grappling deeply with the challenge of how to talk to people you love about your very different beliefs.

The idea for the play was sparked by the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that went before the Supreme Court. That’s the story of a Colorado same-sex-couple who became snarled in a legal battle with a baker who refused to make them a wedding cake because they were gay. She used that incident as a jumping off point for a story that was personal to her, but explored the same issues of people with diametrically opposing values. “People are making assumptions and judgments and just getting angry and storming out. It’s rare that people are forced to be together and listen to each other,” says Brunstetter. She wrote a play that would offer hope and model of how we might begin to talk to each other. “You still have to love your family. You still have to reach across the table … Della is lovable because most of the time your family members are lovable … You have to give people time to change, reevaluate and change some more.”

Brunstetter has previously written for ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and Starz’s American Gods. Her other plays include Going to a Place Where You Already Are (South Coast Rep), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage), Be a Good Little Widow (Ars Nova) and Oohrah! (Atlantic Theater Company). Brunstetter is currently working on musicals with Karen O and Cinco Paul. She holds a BA UNC Chapel Hill & a MFA in Dramatic Writing from the New School for Drama. Brunstetter was a founding member of the Kilroys.


THE CAKE will run May 17 – June 23, 2019 (Press Opening: May 24, 2019). Performances are Wednesday through Sunday (Wed-Fri at 8pm, Sat at 3pm & 8pm, Sun at 5pm). There are no matinees on May 18, 2019 and June 1, 2019. There is an ADDED MATINEE on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 11am. Tickets start at $30 for weekdays and $35 for weekends. $20 anytime for teens and full-time student under 25 with valid student ID. Prices are subject to change and will rise as performances fill up. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets early for best prices. Seating is general admission. Our intimate theatre is in the heart of Inman Park and Little Five Points at the corner of Euclid and Austin Avenues (1083 Austin Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307), and includes FREE parking. Tickets and information are available at horizontheatre.com or 404.584.7450.

GROUP RATES
Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Horizon Theatre offers a lounge space available for rental for pre-show gatherings. Contact Group Sales at 404.523.1477 x111 for more information.


About PIPELINE

PIPELINE SHOWCASES AN AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHT IN FULL BLAZE!” — Huffington Post


Horizon Theatre Company is continuing its 35th Anniversary Season with production from the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” for 2018 – Dominique Morisseau! PIPELINE, a groundbreaking new play, will hit the Little Five Points stage from March 22 – April 21, 2019. PIPELINE is hailed by Village Voice as “A POWERFUL, PASSIONATE, AND INTELLIGENT NEW PLAY.”

Pipeline feels ripped from the headlines,” say Marguerite Hannah, Associate Producer at Horizon, “but, this time we are allowed to witness the human backstory of a mother’s fight for her teenage son and her high school students. It is an American story of a family operating in two worlds – the urban inner city education system where the mother works & the affluent private school in which her son attends. The story is set where life and well-meaning choices really exist. Rarely do we see this picture of the black family of today – the love, strength and hope behind the statistic we think we know well.”

In Dominique Morisseau’s PIPELINE, Nya Joseph is a dedicated, inner-city public high school teacher who is committed to her students’ achievement, while she sends her only son, Omari, to a private boarding school. When Omari is involved in a controversial incident which threatens him with expulsion from his school, Nya is forced to reconcile Omari’s actions, her own parental decisions, and the public and private school systems, as she rallies to save her son.

The wife/husband duo of Tinashe Kajese-Bolden & Keith Bolden lead a Suzi Award Winning creative team that includes scenic design from Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay, projection design from Bradley Bergeron, and lighting design from Mary Parker.


A mother’s hopes for her son clash with an educational system rigged against him in PIPELINE, the riveting new play by Dominique Morisseau. Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away?  With profound compassion and lyricism, PIPELINE brings an urgent conversation powerfully to the fore. Don’t miss this deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future — without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.


 

About THE WOLVES

A Southeastern Premiere

“THRILLING! The Wolves keeps you on the edge of your seat.” – The New York Times


Horizon Theatre Company is kicking off its 35th Anniversary Season with a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama! The Wolves, a groundbreaking new play by Sarah DeLappe, will hit the Little Five Points stage from January 25 through March 3, 2019. The anticipated Southeastern premiere will include a cast of 10 of Atlanta’s best actresses showcasing their acting and athletic prowess as this powerful story takes to the stage.

“High energy and up-to-the-minute, this story of soccer, hopes and dreams takes you inside the rituals and rivalries of a tight team,” explains Horizon Co-Artistic/Producing Director Lisa Adler. “And with audience surrounding the action on the indoor soccer field set, you’ll be on the edge of your seat and in the midst of the action. The smart writing performed by ten of Atlanta’s hottest young talents will score with young and old alike in this touching and dynamic play that Horizon is thrilled to bring to Atlanta.”

Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girl’s indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. A portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American young women who just want to score some goals.

Veteran director Heidi Cline McKerley leads a racially diverse cast with the indoor soccer world created by Suzi-Award-winning resident set designers Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay and lighting designer Mary Parker.


The Wolves is a fly-on-the-wall look at a girls’ high school indoor soccer team when an uber-talented, but strange and worldly new team member arrives. As they practice on the field in the weeks leading up to the championship, Ms. DeLappe thoughtfully and eloquently opens a window into a complex world of young women facing their future – all in the space of 90 minutes.

“I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings — as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people who weren’t just girlfriends or sex objects or manic pixie dream girls but who were athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who were trying actively to figure out who they were in this changing world around them,” explains playwright Sarah DeLappe.


The Wolves will run January 25 – March 3, 2019 (Press Opening: February 1). Performances are Wednesday through Sunday (Wed-Fri at 8pm, Sat at 3pm & 8pm, Sun at 5pm). Tickets start at $30 for weekdays and $35 for weekends. $20 anytime for teens and full-time student under 25 with valid student ID. Prices are subject to change and will rise as performances fill up. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets early for best prices. Seating is general admission. Our intimate theatre is in the heart of Inman Park and Little Five Points at the corner of Euclid and Austin Avenues (1083 Austin Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307), and includes FREE parking. Tickets and information are available at horizontheatre.com or 404.584.7450.

GROUP RATES
Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Horizon Theatre offers a lounge space available for rental for pre-show gatherings. Contact Group Sales at 404.523.1477 x111 for more information.