Author Archives: jennifer

Third Annual Atlanta Fringe Festival previews TONIGHT — with contributions from 11 different Georgia artists!

Atlanta Fringe 2014 is upon us, and this year’s Festival features 20 different performance groups from all over the country. We at Essential, of course, are super proud to report that of those, 11 different groups are Georgia artists. Way to represent!

Tonight at 8:00 at 7Stages Theatre,
check out the FREE PREVIEW PARTY
and get a sneak peek of all of the shows!


On the docket from Georgia, you will see:

Middle Eastern Dance, from Awalim Dance Company of Stone Mountain
Belly Dancing, from Beyond Borders of Atlanta
Spoken Word/Storytelling, by Corey Bradberry of the Collective Project in Atlanta and the KSU Tellers from Kennesaw
A circus/dance collaboration by Sith Penguin of Clarkston
Comedies presented by Embarc Productions of Fayetteville, EvyDani Endeavors of Atlanta, Puppets Playing Pretend of Atlanta, Shalloewood Productions of Marietta, Will Go Far of Stone Mountain and Twinhead Theatre of Atlanta

This is the third annual Atlanta Fringe Festival, and each year it just gets better. If you’ve been to one before, you know. If you haven’t, it’s time you find out! Check out this year’s offerings tonight for FREE. See you at the Festival!


Thanks to everyone who contributed to our 2014 Festival power2give!

SO MUCH THANKS to all 60 of our amazing, incredible and SOOO appreciated power2give campaign donors. Thanks to your support, this summer’s festival will continue to deliver the excellent theatre you’ve come to expect from Essential and our playwrights and artists, and we will be able to achieve all the goals we set for ourselves to better serve the artists and audiences who make our work worthwhile.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you each and every one:

Mark Perloe
Jennifer Kimball
Chris Carlsten
Justin Bradshaw
Cathy Jamison
Mary Marshall
Jill Buechner
Patricia Wright
Portia Cue
Judy Beasley
Rial Ellsworth
Jo Howarth-Noonan
Charlotte Fleck
Yolanda Asher
Topher Payne
Ellen McQueen
Bob Smith
Theo Harness
Brenda Porter
Joseph Gantt
Lenny Pallats
Susan Steifel
Vynnie Meli
Timothy McDonough
Kathleen McManus
Rebecca Westlake
Richard Belcher
Hank Kimmel
Sarah Cave
Kelly Christopher
Steven Ritchie
Robert Drake
Jill Patrick
Danyale Taylor
Hilary King
DeWayne Morgan
David Keith Best
Lee Buechele
Lori, Thom & Sydney Stanley
Doug Kaye
Stephanie Wilkinson
Lesley Gray
Claire Bronson
Ida McQueen
Joanna Daniel
Karla Jennings
Neeley Gossett
Jessica Tanner
Barbara O’Haley
Melissa Hardy-Trevanna
Kathleen Sia
Amanda Cucher
Jill Lobo
Annie Harrison Elliott
Bill Bozarth
Charles Swint
Kathy Manning


Georgia Playwright Celebration 2014 | The Essential Theatre Festival


Since the beginning of the festival in 1999, The Essential Theatre has committed to producing at least one new play a year by a Georgia playwright. Essential began its annual Essential Theatre Playwriting Competition in 2001, strengthening its ties to local writers by establishing  the only competition exclusively dedicated to playwrights in the state of Georgia. The award for this competition? Production of the play in that year’s Festival and a cash stipend. Now in its 14th year, TheEssential Theatre Playwriting Award co-recipients are Karla Jennings and Theroun Patterson.  Their works Ravens & Seagulls and That Uganda Play (respectively) are being brought to life over the course of July and August at The West End Performing Arts Center. Complimenting these two world premieres, this year’s Bare Essentials portion of the festival will expand to include six readings of works-in-progress by Georgia playwrights.

Karla Jennings’ Ravens & Seagulls encapsulates the dynamics between four sisters, brought together to wade through the impending death of the youngest. Emotionally raw and painfully funny, its a transcendent study of love, mortality, and survival. Featuring the incredible cast of Teresa Deberry, Patricia French, Jill Perry, Gina Rickiki, Sam Traquina, Sarah Wallis and Kathleen Wattis.

Theroun Patterson’s piece, That Uganda Play, is an epic story that moves from America to Africa and back again, imagining the ghosts of war, political corruption and personal betrayal that might lie behind the recent anti-Gay legislation in the nation of Uganda. This summer’s powerful cast includes Olubajo Sonubi, Brody Wellmaker, Jennifer Alice Acker, Tiffany Denise Mitchenor, Portia Cue, Blaire Hillman, Kevin Stillwell, Alex Van and Sedonia Monet.

WHO: The Essential Theatre

WHAT: The 2014 Essential Theatre Festival

WHERE: West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta GA

WHEN: July 18-August 17 2014








The mission of The Essential Theatre is to nurture and produce exciting and challenging new work by Georgia playwrights and expand the theatre experience of audiences by presenting world and regional premieres not previously seen in the Atlanta area. Going forward, Essential  aims to give Georgia playwrights an ever-stronger voice across the country and in the world, and in doing so, continuing to enrich the community of artists and audience members at home. Essential Theatre is a 501(c) 3 non-profit.


Deisha Oliver­Millar, Bang! Arts
Miles Jenson, Bang! Arts
Direct: (404­) 663­-3833




Now through June 1, support us through power2give and have your donation matched 100%! All proceeds from our power2give campaign directly support the 2014 Essential Theatre Festival and the artists whose work we are showcasing. Your support is essential, so make your donation today!

Now through May 31, support us through power2give and have your donation matched 100%!
All proceeds from our power2give campaign directly support the 2014 Essential Theatre Festival and the artists whose work we are showcasing. Your support is essential, so make your donation today!



Since 1999 the Essential Theatre Play Festival has been bringing new plays by Georgia writers to Atlanta audiences, and over the years we’ve become recognized as an important part of the Atlanta cultural scene.  We’ve been fortunate to have some of the best professional theatre artists in the area work on our productions, usually for small fees that were only a fraction of what they could earn elsewhere.  This summer we’ll be producing the World Premieres of THAT UGANDA PLAY by Theroun D’Arcy Patterson and RAVENS AND SEAGULLS by Karla Jennings.  And, for the first time, we’ll be paying our actors and stage managers a weekly wage, making their work eligible to be considered for the professional Suzi Bass Awards!

This means a BIG increase in our budget, and we really need your help to make this happen!  We have a power2give fundraising campaign going on that ENDS ON MAY 31 – which means that, for the next two weeks, ANY donation to make will be MATCHED by the City of Atlanta, and that gives us the potential of raising  $10,000, which will make ALL THE DIFFERENCE in our being able to give these two powerful new works by local playwrights the top-flight professional productions they deserve.

I know that there are a million other worthy causes and great Atlanta theaters vying for your support, but this power2give campaign is our main source of fundraising for this summer’s festival – AND WE NEED YOUR HELP TODAY.  Every donation will help, no matter how small – because, up through May 31, it will be DOUBLED.

Please help us pay our wonderful artists a little bit closer to what they deserve!


Daryl Fazio Featured Playwright in Florida Rep’s First Annual PlayLab Festival

playlab-graphic-300The first weekend in May, Florida Rep held their first ever PlayLab Festival, “an intensive festival that showcases New Plays and New Voices in the American Theatre, and gives playwrights a safe environment to workshop their plays.” Out of approximately 100 plays considered for the festival, only four were chosen to be read. One of these was Daryl Fazio’s Split in Three, which Essential audiences may remember from the 2012 Bare Essentials series. Congratulations, Daryl!

A major goal of the PlayLab Festival, as with Essential’s own Bare Essentials Reading Series, is to give playwrights a chance to hear their words read aloud and receive feedback from cast and audience alike. In an interview with Nancy Stetson of Florida Weekly, Florida Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Cacioppo observes, “a play needs several productions, I think.  They don’t come out completely ready.”

One of the plays read during the 2014 Festival will be chosen for production in the 2014-15 season at Florida Rep.

Back in Atlanta, Daryl had this to say about her experience in Florida last weekend:

This was an important workshop with which to follow up my Essential process. I wrote a new draft right after the Essential reading almost two years ago now, and that’s the version that was chosen (I think they got about 100 submissions; they chose four for the festival) and read in Florida. The response was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I now know, with a little more minor tweaking, this script is ready to fly the coop and hit the stage with a full production. Florida Rep is interested–one of their motives of the festival is to choose a play to be produced on their mainstage next spring. They found the overwhelmingly positive audience response and their own feelings about the play to be good reason to consider it. They’ll make a decision soon. But if they decide not to give it a go, I have renewed confidence in SPLIT IN THREE and will start the task of sending it out into the world. Plus, I become a better writer every single time I get to hang out with actors and read my words for a few days.

For more information about Daryl Fazio and her work, check out her website. To learn more about the 2014 Bare Essentials Play Reading Series and how you can get involved, click here.


New Home for This Summer’s Essential Theatre Festival

Essential Theatre Festival Moves to West End For Another Summer of World Premieres by Georgia Playwrights

Atlanta, April 2014 – Essential Theatre continues its tradition of premiering the best new work by Georgia playwrights for Atlanta audiences with this summer’s Essential Theatre Play Festival, taking place July 18 through August 17 in its new home at the West End Performing Arts Center, located at 945 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard.

Essential will be presenting the World Premieres of this year’s playwriting award co-winners, That Uganda Play by Theroun D’Arcy Patterson, and Ravens and Seagulls by Karla Jennings, along with staged readings of six other new works by Georgia authors in the Bare Essentials Reading Series. Continue reading