Project Dawn

7 Faces, 14 Women On Both Sides of the Law

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 Karen Hartman

Directed by Lisa Adler


Gritty, gripping, and shockingly funny, go behind the bench in this inspired-by-real-life story of the women on both sides of the law in Project Dawn, an innovative court designed to transform the lives of women in the sex trade. In this daring and vital tour de force, seven actresses double as victims/participants and Court staff. Whether you are to the left or the right, Project Dawn will gnaw at your heart and open your eyes to see clearly what’s happening in your own backyard.

“I started with the idea of the Underground Railroad. I wanted to know how a person transitions from legal property to a free human being. What happens in a safe house? As a contemporary equivalent, I met with the founders of Dawn’s Place, a home for survivors of the commercial sex trade. This led me to the Project Dawn Court, which serves women with prostitution convictions. Project Dawn differs from a conventional court by offering mandated therapy and trauma counseling, consistency of parole officers and other supervisory staff, and the assistance with survival needs, but operates within the court system. If a woman completes the year long program, her charges are dropped. If she fails, she does time. I sat in on that monthly court all year. I spoke with participants and with staff members. It was a humbling, deeply moving, sometimes excruciating line of inquiry, with surprisingly frequent comic moments. In this play seven actresses play double roles, each as a participant and a staff member of the court. Seven faces, fourteen women, navigating safety, connection, confinement, and freedom.” —Karen Hartman

PROJECT DAWN is produced at HORIZON THEATRE COMPANY as a part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Other partnering theaters are PEOPLE’S LIGHT (MALVERN, PA) and UNICORN THEATRE (KANSAS CITY, MO). For more information please visit

Who’s Who in the Play

Seven women play 14 characters. Each doubles as a participant and a staff member in the Project Dawn Court:

Ashlee/Noelle – white, early 20s. Ashlee is sullen, almost catatonic. Noelle is a fresh-faced intern and aspiring lawyer.

Krystal/ Ruth– black, 40s. Krystal wears an Islamic veil sometimes. She’s chatty. Ruth is the senior therapist for the program. Christian but works in many modalities.

Cassie/ Gwen – white, Gwen is 40s, Cassie 30s. Cassie has a hip injury, uses a cane. Gwen is the public defender who co-founded the program with Kyla. Open hearted, sharp-witted mother of four, on overload.

Bonnie/ Judge Roberta Kaplan – white, late 50s. Bonnie is a graduate of the program, now a motivational speaker. The Judge is dry, sometimes wry, but never to the point of mocking the women. An old school Jewish liberal, Philadelphia style, which means she blends with Quakers. Judge Kaplan is an amateur opera singer.

Lola/ Nia – Latina, 30s or 40s. Lola is curvy, sweet, may speak with a slight accent. Nia is the hyper vigilant court coordinator, excellent rapport with staff and participants.

Shondell/ Kyla – black, 40s. Shondell is a grandma. She wears an eye patch. Kyla is the DA, or prosecuting attorney. She is a butch woman, sometimes mistaken for male in off hours. Ivy League background, political aspirations.

Tracy/ Sister Carol – white, actor is 40s. Tracy (40ish) ran a major drug cartel, has a swagger the other women lack. Sister Carol is an elderly activist nun who founded and runs May’s Place, a residency for former prostitutes. At 80, she is full of righteous rage. She is not a court regular.

Length & Content

Project Dawn runs 2 hours and 15 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

Best enjoyed by ages 16+. Content Warning: The play contains sexual language and profanity and portrays recovery from sexual exploitation, drug addiction and trauma. It also contains humor, humanity and hope – it is a story of change-makers and survivors that will open your eyes and heart.

Handicap seating limited for this production. Please call to reserve if needed.

buy_ticketsPerformance Dates

Sept 22-Oct 29, 2017
Press Opening: Sept 29

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 3:00 PM and 8:30 PM
Sunday at 5:00 PM

**There will be no 3PM performance on Saturday, October 21st due to the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade.**


General Admission

  • Tickets start at $25 (plus 8.9% sales fees)
  • Prices are subject to change and will rise as performances fill up. GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY FOR THE BEST PRICES.

Bring your neighbors!
Group pricing is available for parties of 10+. Groups of 10-24 receive $3 off the general admission ticket price. Groups of 25+ receive $5 off the general admission ticket price. Call 404.523.1477 x111 or e-mail for more information.

Ticket prices are subject to change. Buy early for best pricing. 8.9% sales fees will be added to all ticket orders. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges, or late seating.


Cassie/Gwen: Lane Carlock
Kyla/Shondell: Bobbi Lynne Scott
Judge Kaplan/Bonnie: Marianne Fraulo*
Nia/Lola: Maria Rodriguez-Sager*
Ruth/Krystal: Christy Clark*
Sister Carol/Tracy: Carolyn Cook*
Noelle/Ashlee: Brooke Owens

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association

Creative Team

Written by Karen Hartman
Directed by Lisa Adler
Asst. Director: Lauren Morris
Scenic Designer: Moriah & Isabel Curley-Clay
Light Designer: Mary Parker
Stage Manager: Julianna M. Lee*
Costume Designer: Dr. L Nyrobi Moss
Props Master: Natalie Parker
Props Supervisor: Kathryn Muse
Sound Designer: Kacie Willis
Movement Collaborator: Nicole Johnson
Projections Designer: Bradley Bergeron
Dialect Coach: Brad Brinkley
Dramaturge Intern: Maggie Markham


7 Faces, 14 Women On Both Sides of the Law

Reviews & Press 

Click here to view the Project Dawn Press Release.

“A solid 11 on the proverbial scale…a gripping tale presented by a cast of 7 women who appear on stage in 14 roles…” —Atlanta Arts Scene
“Dazzling, quicksilver performances by some top-notch Atlanta talent…” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Run, do not walk, to see Karen Hartman’s amazing new play Project Dawn at Little Five Point’s Horizon Theatre Company. It is marvelously acted by seven great performers playing 14 roles, it’s brilliantly, brilliantly written, and it’s heartbreaking, exhilarating, and relevant.” —Audience Member
“The bravery of Horizon Theatre Company to produce a play of subject matter that most are not comfortable talking about is to be applauded. The rest of us need to have those conversations, we need to learn what we can do to make a difference, and then take action to bring a solution to fruition. Go see Project Dawn at Horizon and let’s talk!” —Audience Member
“Riveting!” —Macaroni Kid
“”The magnificence of this play goes beyond the conversations it’s starting. The acting is magnificent, moving, and motivating.” —wanderlust ATLANTA

Broadway World Interview: Lauren Morris of PROJECT DAWN at Horizon Theatre
“City Lights” with Lois Reitzes Interview on WABE: Horizon Theatre Humanizes Women In Sex Trade In ‘Project Dawn’

Community Partners

Consider donating to Wellspring Living Inc. when you come to see Project Dawn! We will be collecting donations in the blue room before and after the show.

Submission from Commissioner Tim Echols

As a father of four daughters, the thought of one of my girls being used and abused by either a trafficker or a “customer” brings tears to my eyes. That same concern motivates me and many others to make sure it happens to not one single victim. Yet it does each and every day and night in our city.

As you view this play tonight, please reflect on the following.
1. Knowing that foster kids are especially vulnerable to running away and subsequently being trafficked, is there a foster parent that you know that you can encourage today? Maybe you can foster a child yourself like my colleague Chuck Eaton at the PSC. It is such an important role to play.
2. If you have a daughter, let her know she is loved by you. If you are a dad, compliment her, buy her flowers and take her on special outings. Help her avoid males who might exploit or defraud her. It is a cruel world out there.
3. Learn all you can about trafficking and help others see the gravity of this problem. Some will go into law enforcement, others might help people in recovery. There are so many roles to play in this fight.

A faith based nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower change in the life direction of women and girls who are adult entertainers, prostitutes, escorts, porn stars, or victims of sex trafficking by offering a holistic approach as well as an educational, emotional, physical, and spiritual support.

Atlanta Redemption Ink
Provides minors and women who have had gang symbols forced on them, sex trafficking brandings forced on them, self-harm scars, domestic violence scars or tattoos and have them removed by a reputable certified removal specialist OR give them an opportunity to have it replaced by a cover-up that symbolizes freedom, beauty and redemption in a safe environment.

Beloved Atlanta
The only two-year residential home & program for adult women surviving prostitution, trafficking and addiction in Atlanta, GA

Billion Rising
Works to end the sexual and gender based violence and inequities that disproportionately effect women and girls. Focuses on building, supporting, and amplifying the work of Atlanta-based collaborative relationships that produce local to global actions that make a positive difference, building community through collaborative Art.

(770) 427-0147
Devereux Georgia’s Residential CSEC Program provides sophisticated treatment for girls from around the country who have experienced emotional, physical and sexual trauma.

Dress for Success
Offers long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty. Dress for Success is part of a global movement for change, empowering women to obtain safer and better futures.

Haven ATL
Dedicated to serving women who have fallen victim to commercial sexual exploitation in the Metro Atlanta area through prevention, education, case management, and outreach.

House of Cherith
Serves as a safe and refreshing home for victims of sex exploitation and trafficking. The goal of House of Cherith is to provide women with the opportunity for rescue, restoration, and a chance to start a new life.

Southern Crescent Sexual Assault Center
Providing a collaborative, coordinated community response in an effort to reduce the incidence of child maltreatment and sexual violence though prevention, intervention, and education.

Wellspring Living Women’s Residential Program
Provides trauma-informed care to survivors of Domestic Sex Trafficking and those at risk with the service of physical, emotional and spiritual restoration

Innovator in transforming the lives of youth at risk for exploitation and abuse, and a thought-leader in reducing child exploitation and sex trafficking rates in Georgia and across the country.

Rescuing Hope
Enlightens the public about sex trafficking in America, educates potential victims and first responders, and empowers advocates and survivors.


Click here to read more about Horizon’s production of Project Dawn.

We are thrilled to be hosting post-show discussions with experts in the field who are knowledgeable about sexual exploitation and trafficking in Atlanta and Georgia. Join us and become part of this important dialogue.

9/22 @ 8:00 Vanessa Jackson, LCSW
9/23 @ 8:30 Paula R Amor, Motivational Speaker and Survivor of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
9/24 @ 5:00 Kelsi Deel, Director, House of Cherith
9/27 @ 8:00 Paula R Amor, Motivational Speaker and Survivor of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
9/28 @ 8:00 Paula R Amor, Motivational Speaker and Survivor of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
9/30 @ 3:00 Melba Robinson, Program Director, HavenATL
9/30 @ 8:30 Jessica Lamb, Founder, Atlanta Redemption Ink
10/1 @ 5:00 The cast of Project Dawn
10/4 @ 8:00 Kim Schofield
10/5 @ 8:00 Drew Meritt, Founder, Redeeming Men Ministries
10/6 @ 8:00 Vanessa Jackson
10/7 @ 3:00 Christy Showalter, Associate Director, Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
10/7 @ 8:30 Jenifer Duncan, Director of Outreach, Street Grace
10/8 @ 5:00 Karen Hartman, Playwright of Project Dawn
10/11 @ 8:00 Kasey McClure, Founder, 4Sarah
10/12 @ 8:00 Janay Boucan, Volunteer Coordinator, City of Refuge
10/13 @ 8:00 Dalia Racine, Deputy Chief ADA,
DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, Human Trafficking Unit
10/14 @ 3:00 Dr. Yolanda Graham, Medical Director, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Georgia
10/14 @ 8:30 Margie Gill, Founder, Tabitha’s House &
Pamela Perkins Carn, Coordinator, Interfaith Children’s Movement
10/15 @ 5:00 Diane Dougherty, Roman Catholic Priest
10/18 @ 8:00 Paula R Amor, Motivational Speaker and Survivor of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
10/19 @ 8:00 Renee Shelby, Research Director, youthSpark
10/20 @ 8:00  Commissioner Tim Echols, The Unholy Tour
10/21 @ 8:30 Paula Brathwaite, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Piedmont Fayette Hospital and of the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center
10/22 @ 5:00 Dave Olsen, Board Chairman, Rescuing Hope
10/25 @ 8:00 Amy Shipp, Georgia Cares
10/26 @ 8:00 DeKalb Co. Solicitor-General Donna Coleman-Stribling
10/27 @ 8:00 Amy Waldron, Devereux
10/28 @ 3:00 Dr. Jordan Greenbaum, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
10/28 @ 8:30 Dorsey Jones, Survivor of CSE and caseworker at youthSpark
10/29 @ 5:00 Kasey McClure, Founder, 4Sarah