Author Archives: Admin

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 www.EssentialTheatre.comor 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

Our Volunteer Ushers are Essential

Essential Theatre seeks two volunteer ushers for each performance. This year’s festival run July 5 through August 5, 2012 but those who sign-up early will have their choice of performances.
Simply follow the link to our OvationTix calendar and select USHER and you will be taken to a page to sign-up. Choose one or two $0 tickets. Ushers are asked to please arrive 60 minutes prior to curtain time. Preferred dress is black skirt or slacks and white shirt. After the performance, we ask that you assist in cleaning up inside the theatre space.
Parking is free at Essential Theatre @ Actors Express.  If you have questions, please email: mperloe AT essentialtheatre DOT com.
Take a picture of this neat little photo with your cell phone and it will take you to our calendar page or simply click on this link:

The Changing Face of Theatre Criticism

The changing face of theatre criticism in Atlanta has been a subject that fascinated me for some time, having closely observed it for 25 years now. There are a lot of things I miss about the days when you’d get the Friday AJC and one or two theatre reviews would be on the front page, maybe with some more inside. And there are things about those days that I don’t miss (the power that one or two reviewers had). But I can’t help but see this as part of a much larger picture, how the nature of media has changed over that time (more and more rapidly, it seems). Nowadays, it seems like anybody can start a blog or a website and be a critic, and just about anybody (it takes a little more money) can start a theatre company. There’s a lot to be said for this, but we’ve also lost a lot, and the story is still changing so much that I don’t think we can really see where we’re at.

What is the relationship of the artist and the critic? What has it been in the past, what is it now, and what should it be? I’ve been thinking for years now about writing a play or a novel about this subject, but it seems to me like the story is still emerging, and no telling where it will go next.

Peter Hardy


Are you proud to call Atlanta home?

THE LOCAL. Is a collaborative theatre project made of short pieces by different Atlanta artists. All the pieces are set in different Atlanta locations. There are also pieces based on real stories collected from local people. The stage is set f or the many locations through the use of projected photographs.

THE LOCAL is being produced by The Essential Theatre in July, 2012, as part of a three play festival performing in the King Plow Arts Center in Atlanta. The Essential has got the bare bones covered but this project wants to fly. There are playwrights, poets, choreographers, photographers, designers, songwriters, rappers, dancers, and more artists involved, all with wonderful creative ideas that need some financial fertilizing to fully flower.

So we’ve come to Kickstarter. A few thousand dollars will enable this project to be as beautiful as we are inspired to make it. Studio time for musicians, an urban street choreographer, and a specially constructed silk flame/feather dance veil are just three of the elements needed to fulfill our vision.

The show is lot about belonging (and the other face of that — not belonging). Finding where you belong, how you belong, finding your place. How you shape the place you live, and how it shapes you. It’s about where we live, physically and metaphorically.

There’s a long term vision for this project as well. Down the road, we’d like to take the project down the road. Imagine ten or twelve cities across the country doing their own LOCALS, then networking with each other to produce another set of shows composed of pieces drawn from all the cities. Each city would have a different show because each one would choose different scenes.

For instance, one city might choose to do all the Occupy scenes from all the different cities, each colored by the culture and the climate of its location.  Another city might choose to do all the scenes about favorite hangout joints. Or all the Gay Pride scenes. Another might just choose their favorite scenes, no matter what the setting. Performers from the original LOCALs would travel to the other cities to perform their pieces for audiences in other parts of the country and network with artists from all over America.  Each production would speak to both regional essence and the national zeitgeist and help to connect artists and audiences across the nation.

But that’s down the road. Right now, we’re raising money to make this first show. And we would very much like to have you help it happen with your financial support and to join us on stage by signing our graffiti wall with a personal message. Thanks!


Bat-Hamlet Walk On Role

Win a walk-on role in Jordan Pulliam’s Bat-Hamlet, a comic book re-telling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet!

To Enter:
Simply follow the link to our OvationTix calendarand select BAT-HAMLET WALK ON RAFFLE tickets and you will be taken to a page to sign up. Only 25 raffle tickets are available per performance date, so get yours now! Purchase of a raffle ticket does NOT reserve you a seat in the audience. If you would like to attend a performance, you will need to purchase regularly priced tickets as well.
One week prior to each show date, a winner will be selected and notified via email.
You may enter as many times per performance as there are raffle tickets available, and you may enter for as many or as few performances as you would like. Winners will be notified through the contact information provided at time of raffle ticket purchase, so please be sure to provide your preferred contact information.
Winners will be notified via e-mail one week prior to the show date, allowing you time to tell your friends and family when they can come see YOU onstage!

Winners should arrive one hour prior to showtime for costume fitting and rehearsal. A seat will be reserved for the winner to watch the first act of the show. After intermission, the winner will stay backstage in the greenroom and be cued by the Assistant Stage Manager to enter for his/her scene. Each winner will receive an autographed poster from the show as well as a digital picture of themselves with the entire cast.


More Good News For Essential’s Alumni

Three of the finalists being considered for the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference this year are Georgia writers who’ve had World Premieres produced by the Essential Theatre: Karla Jennings, Gabriel Jason Dean and Lauren Gunderson! Congrats to all three of them (and also to Adam Szymkowicz, whose “Food For Fish” we produced in 2009). The Essential Theatre helps send Georgia playwrights out into the world!

Essential’s Flex Pass Offers Maximum Flexibility and Greatest Savings


For a Short Time Additional Savings with Early Purchase

You know you’re going to come see at least one play during Essential Theatre Festival. This year we feature world premieres exclusively written by Georgia playwrights. When you buy a six or ten ticket FlexPass now, you save even more~ up to $60 with the FlexPass 6 and up to $110. How can we do this you ask? Well, the FlexPass is a win-win situation. You lock in your savings now and can use your tickets on any date and in any combination you like and the funds pass through helping us fund the festival. It’s almost like a donation [no it’s not tax deductible], we receive the funds, and you gain maximum flexibility and savings. Use the discount code EARLY to receive additional savings. This is code is available for a limited time only. Please act now.
When you purchase a three, six or ten ticket Essential Theatre Flex Pass, you can use those tickets however you wish. You can bring a big party on one night or divide your tickets across multiple performances. You can use them all for one play, or you can use your pass to see all three plays at different times.  
There are no blackout dates or restrictions, and you can even wait until a few hours before a performance to get your tickets online. In order to redeem the tickets on your Flex Pass, you MUST reserve tickets online, however!  
You don’t need to reserve all your tickets at a single visit. You can visit the website again to select your remaining tickets. You just use them when you need them. For example, if you buy a ten ticket Flex Pass, you can see one performance by yourself and later choose to use your remaining tickets to come back with eight friends on another night. Whenever you want, simply go online and choose up to your remaining number of tickets for whichever show you want to see.