On Stage and Off

Theater in Georgia

LGBTQ Activism and Theaters

During the 1980s, Georgia theaters produced work that raised awareness and empathy for LGBTQ issues. No one was more influential in this regard than Rebecca Ranson. An Atlanta-based activist who dedicated much of her life to promoting art throughout the South, Ranson established theater programs and the literary magazine Amethyst. After a close friend, Warren Johnston, contracted AIDS, she dedicated her work to documenting the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic. In honor of him, she wrote Warren, a play about a man and his community coming to terms with an AIDS diagnosis. In partnership with 7 Stages, Ranson premiered the play in August of 1984, a year before the premiere of As Is, which is commonly considered the first play on the subject. In 1985 Warren was produced across the country, performed as a benefit for the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force, and staged by invitation at the Centers for Disease Control's first international conference for AIDS awareness, held in Atlanta.