The Alliance Theatre Education Program has assembled a diverse group of teenagers from throughout the metro Atlanta area to explore a classic text under the guidance of a professional playwright. The source texts for this Collision Project, which will inspire a new performance piece developed by the students, are the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Under the guidance of New York Times Best-Selling Author and celebrated Playwright Pearl Cleage, students will explore themes of freedom and examine instances of slavery in modern times.

“We wanted to expand our discussion of emancipation to include not just our experience of slavery in this country, but the experiences of families who have immigrated to the United States from other parts of the world,” said Cleage, who is the Alliance Playwright in Residence. “We want our participants to connect their own family histories to the world wide struggle between those who think it is acceptable to buy and sell other human beings and those who know it isn’t. We want these students to actively explore the nature and the cost of freedom.”

This year’s third annual Collision Project is presented as part of the National Civil War Project, a radical multi-city, multi-year collaboration between four universities and five performing arts organizations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Through the NCWP, Collision participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with students at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and to discuss the effects of the Civil War from Northern and Southern perspectives. Each group of students will create their own unique performance piece.

Through improvisational exercises, oral history, choreography, and each student’s own talents and writing skills, the participants will create a new theatrical piece inspired by the classic Civil War documents, but perceived and shared through their own unique and contemporary experience.

Alliance Theatre Collision Project Public Performances will be held Friday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, July 13, at 2:30 p.m. on Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309. To RSVP for free tickets: or 404.733.4749

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