You’re Invited: March 17

YOU’RE INVITED to join the Essential Theatre at J. E. Brown Middle School on Saturday, March 17 from 10-4pm for BeltLine & Beyond: A Day of Theatre, Conversation and Workshops on the Subject of Honoring Voice and Empowering Communities to Tell Their Stories. 


Inspired by Essential’s fall production of BeltLine & Beyond, which was originally produced in partnership with the Wren’s Nest Scribes Program and Art on the Atlanta BeltLine.

Made possible through a grant from Georgia Humanities.

The day will begin with an encore performance of our Art on the Atlanta BeltLine show, followed by a lunch conversation with special guests on the subject of the day, and rounded out with related workshops.

10:30am – The Play: BeltLine & Beyond

Source stories written by the 2017 Brown Middle School Wren’s Nest Scribes (Scribes and Mentors include: Jamaya Brown, Zeshawn Foster, Oumy Gueye, Amir Howard, Autumn Jackson, Eriel Jackson, Jaymes Mincey, Morgan Turner, ARyanna Vashti, Kate Betts, Maurice Garland, Sheronda Gipson, Ben Herr, Parker Hilley, Yves Jeffcoat, Ilana Poitier-Daniel, Taylor Schwensohn, Vania Stoyanova and Ross Boone.) Play by Joshua Mikel, winner of the 2015 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award.

Zaria Caldwell as Agent West
Kerwin Thomas as Special Agent 08 and the Ghost of John T.
Brooklyn Greene as Ashley, Amber, Kamia and Ensemble
Derrick Robertson as Scorch, Will, Brad and Ensemble
Terry Kiser as Mark, the Robot and Ensemble
Efrem Whitaker as Bum (Elijah), the Robot, Ensemble,
and production stage manager


11:15am – The Lunch and Conversation

Join us for lunch and conversation with special guests, to go behind the scenes of creating the play we just saw and talk with other artists and writers who have had similar experiences helping others to tell their stories. Conversation led by our humanities scholar, Patricia Henritze.

12:00pm – Workshops (Block 1)

Choose from one of two workshops in Block 1:

Mindful Story Gathering: Seeking to address social barriers from beginning to end of community based art making processes led by Sara Gregory of Makeshift Circus Collective (Atlanta, GA)


Using Theatre to Confront Inequity led by Junebug Productions (New Orleans, LA)


1:30 – Mix & Mingle


1:45-3:15pm – Workshops (Block 2)

Gerard Stropnicky, globally renowned theatre artist and one of the original collaborators of Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s Official Folk-Life Play, will be leading a workshop entitled Building Civic Empathy: The Storytelling Game.

When engaging communities across sector, across discipline, across intersections of economics, race, class, sex, gender, age, faith, ability, education, language, geography, and more, a single question always arises: How do we truly listen to each other? The Storytelling Game releases the wonder and responsibility that comes from holding another’s story in your hands and heart. Designed for colleges and universities, this active workshop offers an understanding of the keys that release the power in community story, and includes a contextual overview to session leader Gerard Stropnicky’s decades of experience creating place-based, change-making work.


Informed Allyship: Cultural Awareness in Community Storytelling led by Kacie Willis

3:30pm – End of Day


Thanks to support from Georgia Humanities, all events are free and open to the public.

Special Thanks to J.E.Brown Middle School, the West End Performing Arts Center, the Youth Ensemble of AtlantaPathways Transitions Programs, Inc, and the Shakespeare Tavern for production support. Thanks to Turner Voices for providing complimentary lunch.