Closing THIS SUNDAY October 12, Nomad Hotel features Essential family members Kevin Qian and Ashley Anderson in the lead roles.
Essential Theatre was graciously hosted by Georgia Humanities, in the Humanities Pavilion of the Decatur Book Festival, for the second year in a row, and we had a great time! We got visits from several familiar faces throughout the weekend, and we made lots of new friends too!
Today we had some special guests in the audience: Lionell Thomas and Emmitt Stevenson, directors of long-standing Essential supporting organization, the Fulton County Arts Council.
The Fulton County Arts Council grant is actually the first grant that Essential ever applied for – and the first grant we ever received, back in 2005. Since that time, Fulton County has been a steadfast supporter of Essential’s work – and since 2014, we’ve partnered with a Fulton County Performing Arts Center to produce the festival, in addition to receiving a grant from the FCAC.
Fulton County has been a vital part of the fabric of our support network over the past almost 15 years, helping us to grow and remain true to our commitment to bring Atlanta what’s new and give Georgia playwrights a voice. With their continued support, we look forward to bringing the best new work by Georgia playwrights to life for years to come.
Ben Thorpe is the man behind the final Bare Essentials reading in this summer’s festival, Baby Shower for the Anti-Christ, happening this Wednesday August 22 at 7:30pm.
Hi Ben! We’re looking forward to your upcoming reading. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a local Atlanta actor and playwright, originally from Snellville, GA. I went to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA and lived in New York City before moving back to Atlanta in 2015. I’ve acted in productions around town including ‘Hand to God’ and ‘Candide (Alliance)’, ‘Titanic’ (Serenbe), ‘Nobody Loves You’ (Horizon), and ‘Big Fish’ (Theatrical Outfit). I’ll be in the Actor’s Express production of Steve Yockey’s ‘Reykjavik’ this fall. I recently wrote the book for ‘Red: A Crayon’s Musical’ with music and lyrics by John Burke (based on the book by Michael Hall) that had its premiere reading at Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival earlier this August.
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Baby Shower for the Anti-Christ will be read at the West End Performing Arts Center this Wednesday night at 7:30pm. Directed by Natalie Fox. All readings are free and open to the public, donations gladly accepted.
Join us after the August 23rd performance of Woke for a post-performance talkback featuring Rev. Duncan Teague, Rev. Jonathan Rogers, and playwright Avery Sharpe!
Unitarian Universalists have explicitly committed for over 20 years on a national level to the work of anti-racism. One of the ways Unitarian Universalists honor this commitment is when we heed the voices of non-male, non-white, disabled, poor, and queer leaders within and beyond our faith movement in answering the calls of love and justice.
WOKE by Avery Sharpe is a story that follows two young men who are best friends. Even though one is black and the other is white, they have always lived and loved each other like family. However, after the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, they both arduously discover how to navigate their different world viewpoints with justice, patience, and love. Through family, romance, and their own friendship, they painstakingly and comically explore what it truly means to be woke.
Rev. Jonathan Rogers is an accomplice to the work of dismantling white supremacy. He has been a Unitarian Universalist for 26 years, and completed 8 years of ministerial service, and he is currently Interim Minister at Northwest UU Congregation in Sandy Springs. Jonathan grew up in New England and graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 2012. www.NWUUC.org
Rev. Duncan Teague enjoyed a career in HIV/AIDS education, advocacy, and research coordination when he accepted this specific call to lead the establishment of Abundant LUUv Congregation. Teague is certain that at this time The West End community of Atlanta is ready for and has been waiting on the Abundant Love Unitarian Universalist (UU) Congregation. www.ALUUV.org
Courtney Earl wrote tonight’s Bare Essentials reading, Aposteriori. Read on to learn a little more about tonight’s playwright and play!
Hi Courtney! Can you tell us a little about yourself, both personally and professionally?
I got hooked on playwrighting in college when I entered Kennesaw State University’s “Ten Minute Play Festival.” I have been submitting my work to festivals at professional theatres ever since then. I graduated with a BA in Philosophy and a BA in theatre. I got the philosophy degree to improve my writing, and through the marriage of these two degrees I have tried to produce meaningful work. When I am not writing plays, I’m working as a scenic painter, puppeteer, puppet designer and chef.
In your own words, can you tell us a little about the play we’ll be seeing?
Aposteriori is a term to describe knowledge that can only be understood through experience. This play uses Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as a device to frame the process of learning about the existence of rape culture. The process of escaping the hypothetical cave of ignorance is described as excruciating, but once a prisoner learns the truth, they can never go back to living in the cave of ignorance. Rape culture is often not understood without Aposteriori knowledge. Once someone gains that knowledge, as painful as it is, it is impossible to go back to denying it exists. This play follows a group of college students (the age group most likely to experience rape. 1in 4 women experience rape. Among college students, it is 1 in 2) who discover that there is a serial rapist on campus. In their efforts to discover who the rapist is and stop him, they also discover how rape culture has allowed for these crimes to go unpunished for as long as they have.
Where did you get the idea for this play? What made you want to write it?
My own experiences with rape culture inspired it. I had hoped some good would come out of putting this play on. I wanted people to see that there is very little justice for victims, and in addition realize that victims aren’t usually in a mentally stable enough place, post-incident, to seek what little justice could be available for them. Which is why they need strong allies who understand what it is they are going through enough to help them.
How did you get into playwriting?
I entered a play in the Ten Minute Play Festival at Kennesaw State University. I’ve been hooked ever since.
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Aposteriori will be read at the West End Performing Arts Center tonight at 7:30pm. Directed by Kati Grace Brown. All readings are free and open to the public, donations gladly accepted.
This Friday, July 27, join Essential Theatre as we kick off opening weekend of the 20th Essential Theatre Play Festival right, with a special preshow reception provided by Suryana Cuisine.
Join us at 6:00 for a half-hour presentation and update about the Syrian Refugee Theatre Project we started this past spring thanks to a grant from Turner Voices, and use promo code TEN to stay and see the opening night performance of Built to Float for just $10! Enjoy great food and conversation; hear about this exciting new project Essential has under way; and help us get the 20th Annual Essential Theatre Play Festival off to the start it deserves.
It will be an incredible evening of fun, food, and fellowship celebrating all the richness, talent and diversity that Georgia has to offer. We’ll see you at the theatre!
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What: 20th Festival Opening Night: Preshow Reception at 6, catered by Suryana Cuisine*, followed by opening night of the World Premiere of Built to Float by Rachel Graf Evans at 8.
Where: West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA
When: Friday, July 27, 2018, 6-8pm
*Reception is free, no RSVP required. Purchase tickets for the show at https://www.essentialtheatre.com/buy-tickets-now/
program supported in part by
The twentieth annual Essential Theatre Play Festival is almost here! Festival passes and individual tickets are now on sale. Get yours today!
Essential Artists Onstage
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The latest scripted show at Dad’s Garage, Black Nerd opens Friday July 13 and runs through August 4. Featuring 2018 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award (co)winner Avery Sharp in the title role. “When race and geekdom collide you get a Black Nerd.”
The Georgia Theatre Conference, the official theatre organization for the state of Georgia, is pleased to announce that playwright and screenwriter Topher Payne will be inducted into the Georgia Theatre Hall of Fame at the 54th Annual Georgia Theatre Conference in Savannah hosted by Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus. The GA Hall of Fame recognizes working professionals and educators who have made a significant impact to theatre and or/theatre education in Georgia and the US, and who have ties to the state of Georgia.