Essential Theatre’s mission is to nurture and produce exciting and challenging new work by Georgia playwrights and expand the theatre experience of our audiences by presenting world and regional premieres previously not seen in the Atlanta area.
Since 1999, the Essential Theatre has produced an annual Festival consisting of three full-length plays performed in repertory, with at least one new play by a Georgia writer produced every year. In recent years our emphasis has shifted to producing all new works by Georgia writers. In the first eighteen years of the Festival, we’ve premiered 29 new works by Georgia authors, all receiving productions of the highest artistic quality through Essential and many going on to receive future productions elsewhere in Atlanta and across the country.
Our vision in moving forward is to give Georgia playwrights an ever-stronger voice across the country and in the world, and in so doing, to continue to enrich our own community of artists and audience members at home.
Meet our Staff:
Peter Hardy (Artistic Director) is the founding Artistic Director of the Essential Theatre. He’s been working professionally in the Atlanta area for over 25 years, as an actor, playwright and director. He has directed over 50 productions in Georgia, North Carolina and New York, and he served as Artistic Director for the Mountainside Theatre in Cherokee, North Carolina for the summers from 1990 through 2005. He’s had over thirty plays done around the country and has received playwriting awards from the National Playwrights’ Conference, the Festival of Southern Theatre and the New Southern Theatre Festival. Contact Peter Hardy
Jennifer Kimball (Managing Director) has been involved with Essential Theatre since 2003, starting out as a sound board operator for Fuddy Meers and rising through the ranks to stage manage several shows before becoming the festival production manager in 2008 and the managing director in 2012. She has been involved in various aspects of local and national theatre for years, organizing and executing festivals and unique performances of various shapes and sizes. In addition to her involvement with Essential Theatre, Jennifer actively collaborates with 7Stages Theatre, Theatre du Reve and several other local dance and theatre companies, served from 2013-2016 as the Student & Artist Engagement Coordinator for the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech and is currently on staff at the Schwartz Center for the Arts at Emory University. Jennifer is also a proud member of the Westside Community Alliance advisory team. Contact Jennifer Kimball
Meet our Board:
Cheryl Shaw, Board President -Attorney at Law, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP (joined 2012)
Cathy C. Jamison, Secretary/Treasurer – Mediator (joined 2014)
Mark Perloe, M.D. – Medical Director, Georgia Reproductive Specialists (joined 2007)
Christine Carlsten – Mediator/Facilitator/Trainer (joined 2011)
Shane Tepper – Storyteller + brand consultant (joined 2016)
Juana Mendenhall, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Morehouse College (joined 2016)
Elan Buchen – Project Manager, Art & Culture, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc (joined 2017)
Alissa Scherb – Development Coordinator, Georgia Appleseed (joined 2017)
Do you feel passionately about Essential Theatre’s mission and work? We are actively looking for new board members! Click here to find out more.*
Board membership not right for you? There are lots of ways to get involved! Check out our Sponsor Opportunities [downloadable pdf] and all the other great opportunities today!
*Essential Theatre is an equal opportunity organization and seeks Board Members without regard to sex, race, creed or sexual orientation.