Saturday, June 30, 2012

Essential Shines at LMDA Confab

We're proud and happy to announce that Theroun Patterson's powerful family drama A THOUSAND CIRCLETS, winner of the 2011 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award (and successfully produced in our 2011 Festival) has been picked up for a second production -- an 8-week run at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, next spring.  That makes two Essential Award winners in a row that have gone on to a second production (the first being our 2010 prize-winner, Gabriel Dean's QUALITIES OF STARLIGHT, which was recently produced in Washington, D.C. in the Source Theater Festival).

On June 29, Theroun Patterson and Irepresented the Essential Theatre at the LMDA's Writers Night, hosted by the Alliance Theatre.  LMDA stands for Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and such folks from all over the country got a chance to hear about Atlanta theatres and their work with new plays, and the Essential Theatre got a lot of shout-outs from the different writers and directors speaking there. Learn more about LMDA

For the past fourteen years, the Essential Theatre has been the leading supporter and producer of new work by Georgia playwrights.  Next week we'll be opening our 2012 Essential Theatre Play Festival, running July 6 - August 5 at Actor's Express, and featuring THREE World Premieres by Georgia writers -- our first ever All-Georgia Festival!  The shows will be Topher Payne's EVELYN IN PURGATORY, Jordan Pulliam's BAT-HAMLET and THE LOCAL, a collaborative portrait of the City of Atlanta featuring the work of almost THIRTY Atlanta writers, musicians and storytellers.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Complimentary Tickets for Teachers

The Essential Theatre offers a free ticket (and a complimentary glass of wine) for the July 5 Preview performance of its World Premiere production of Topher Payne’s EVELYN IN PURGATORY, a prize-winning drama about public school teachers.  Topher’s play won the 2012 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award for best play written by a Georgia resident.  Set in the infamous “rubber room” of New York City’s public school system, the playwright describes it as being “like The Breakfast Club for teachers.”

The Preview performance will be at 8 p.m. on July 5 in the Actor’s Express space (located in the King Plow Art Center (  Teachers with an i.d. will be admitted for free and can receive a complimentary glass of wine (which can be taken into the theatre).  Reservations cannot be made in advance for these free admissions, so come early!

For more information (and to watch a brief video of the playwright discuss the play with his director, Betty Hart), visit or call 404-212-0815.

Please share with your favorite teacher. 

THE LOCAL Thanks Atlanta for Your Support

As many of you know, THE LOCAL is being produced as one of three world premiere Georgia plays in the Essential Theatre Play Festival, running from July 6th through August 5th at the King Plow Arts Center--tickets are on sale now at THE LOCAL recently ran a fundraising campaign through to enable the show to be as beautiful as we were inspired to make it, and I’m happy to say that we have met our goal! So now the production is ready to fly and we want to tell you a little about it. 

THE LOCAL is a collaborative theatre project made of short pieces that is OF Atlanta, FOR Atlanta, and BY Atlanta. Earlier this year, we sent out a call for short pieces set in Atlanta and received over 80 submissions--way more than we could use. In fact, we couldn't include some pieces that we quite liked, so we've decided to have, on one night of the Festival, an auxiliary reading of some of our favorite submissions that didn't make it into THE LOCAL -- we're calling that evening OTP (Outside The Play). 

In addition to the submissions that were chosen, the show includes pieces scripted from true stories of people who live here, some born natives, some who've chosen for various reasons to make the city their home. There are also a few commissioned pieces. And there's a character called The Conductor, dressed as a train conductor, who appears from time to time to guide the audience through the show. (After all, Atlanta did begin life as a train station called Terminus.) 

At the top of act two, The Conductor informs the audience that their tickets to the show are also tickets for a door prize and awards the lucky winner a gift certificate from an Atlanta business. We are currently soliciting donations of door prizes from Atlanta businesses that would like to be featured -- but they have to be Atlanta businesses, no chains, unless they were born or are based here. We want to support the locals! 

Another aspect of the show is the projections of photographs of actual Atlanta locations that set the stage for the different scenes. Some of the photographs were submitted by supporters through KickStarter, as were many short messages of support which we’ll put on a projected virtual graffiti wall. And a local graffiti artist is even painting a mural on part of the set. 

What we’ve striven for in developing this piece is to have voices from diverse neighborhoods, backgrounds, and communities sharing their stories. Most of us tend to go to the same places, have the same experience of the city, and most of us are ignorant of a lot of the rest of the city where we all live. We imagine the audience sitting together, peeking into each other’s Atlanta and expanding our understanding: laughing together about what we share and getting to hear from the inside about what is outside our own experience. We hope the play will stimulate a curiosity to explore and learn more about our shared hometown. 

 You can buy tickets, check out the performance schedule, and find more information about THE LOCAL at