Meet your 2018 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award winners!

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And the winner is…

Essential Theatre announces the winners of the 2018 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award

February 2018 – Essential Theatre is proud to announce there are two winners of the 2018 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award: Rachel Graf Evans’ Built to Float and Avery Sharpe’s Woke.

Built to Float and Woke will both receive a full production in the 2018 Essential Theatre Festival this summer as well as a cash prize. Now in its eighteenth year, the Essential Theatre Playwriting Competition is the only contest exclusively dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights.

2018 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award Winner Rachel Graf Evans

Rachel Graf Evans is a writer, theatre artist, and serves as the Dramatists Guild Young Ambassador for Atlanta. Built to Float follows Tess, who quietly crusades to keep it together, working full time as a phlebotomist and caring for her ailing mother Marjorie who likes to harp on Tess’s dormant dreams of becoming a doctor. Suddenly, her sister Roz shows back up from rehab, pledging high expectations and a clean slate. When
stranger William, an echo of their deceased father, arrives in town with a tempting new offer of employment, Tess tries her best to keep everyone from going under water. Everyone else, anyway.

2018 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award Winner Avery Sharpe

Avery Sharpe is a playwright and actor. He studied acting and Spanish at Kennesaw State University. Woke is a play that follows two friends from different backgrounds who are trying to navigate the already rocky transition from high school to college.

When a calamitous event captures national attention, they are forced to wrestle with their different understandings of social awareness. Through family, romance, and their own friendship, they painstakingly and comically explore what it truly means to be woke.

Can’t wait until the festival? Actor’s Express is hosting a reading of Woke on February 8 at 7:30 PM at the Atlanta Contemporary (535 Means St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318). For more information and tickets, visit: www.actors-express.com/readings/woke-by-avery-sharpe

Join Essential Theatre on March 10 to meet this year’s award winners and get your festival passes at the Festival Announcement Event at Get Scene Studios, near Atlantic Station. Tickets on sale soon at EssentialTheatre.com. For more information on the Playwriting Competition or to submit your play, visit EssentialTheatre.com/Playwriting-Competition.

About the playwriting competition:
Now in its eighteenth year, this is the only contest exclusively dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. The winning play receives both a full production and a $600 cash prize. Playwrights must be current Georgia residents, and the plays must be previously unproduced. There are no restrictions as to style, length or subject matter. The deadline for the 2019 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award competition is April 23, 2018. Past Essential Theatre Playwriting Award winners include Karen Wurl, Karla Jennings, Vynnie Meli, Lauren Gunderson, and Topher Payne. For more information or to submit your play, visit EssentialTheatre.com/Playwriting-Competition.

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For media inquires
Caroline Baxter, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator
marketing@essentialtheatre.com

Calendar Listings:
Essential Theatre Festival Announcement Event
March 10, 2018
The Essential Theatre at Get Scene Studios,
451 Bishop Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Eventbrite - 2018 Essential Theatre Celebration

The Essential Theatre Festival
July 27th – August 26th
The Essential Theatre
at West End Performing Arts Center
945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd,
Atlanta, GA 30310
Tickets available starting March 10 at www.EssentialTheatre.com

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The Mystery of Love and Sex

The Mystery of Love and Sex, written by Bathsheba Doran and directed by Amber Bradshaw, has its Southeastern Premiere February 1st, 2018 – February 18th, 2018 at Out Front Theatre. Don’t miss it!

 

Deep in the American South, Charlotte and Jonny have been best friends since they were nine. She’s Jewish, he’s Christian, he’s black, she’s white. Their differences intensify their connection until sexual desire complicates everything in surprising, compulsive ways. An unexpected love story about where souls meet and the consequences of growing up.

 

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I AND YOU by Lauren Gunderson

Essential familiar Efrem Whitaker (The Darker Face of the Earth – 2010, BeltLine & Beyond – 2017) returns to the stage in Impact Theatre’s production of I and You, written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by another Essential regular, Brenda Porter.

 

Running February 9-25 at the Hapeville Performing Arts Center. Don’t miss it!

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“2017 was for playwrights to shine” ArtsATL Year in Review

Year in Review: 2017 was for playwrights to shine . . . and Serenbe’s “Cabaret,” old chum

Andrew Alexander and Jim Farmer – Dec 26, 2017
This was a busy year of theater, with world premieres popping up in every corner and local companies flexing their creative muscles. ArtsATL critics Andrew Alexander and Jim Farmer saw most of the major shows during the year, and share their reflections on the productions and trends that defined 2017 in Atlanta theater…[read more]
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Celebrating 20 Years: A Look Back At The 2015 Festival

Continuing our look back at the past 19 years of Essential Theatre festivals, today we take a look back at the seventeenth Essential Theatre Festival, in 2015.


The 2015 Essential Theatre Festival was our second one at the West End Performing Arts Center, and we had a big bump in attendance as more and more people learned about this lovely performance venue! Josh Mikel’s LILLIAN LIKES IT took a comic look at social media and Natalia Temesgen’s OLD SHIP OF ZION was about the member of a small church who begins to realize that he’s gay.

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Celebrating 20 Years: A Look Back At The 2014 Festival

Continuing our look back at the past 19 years of Essential Theatre festivals, today we take a look back at the sixteenth Essential Theatre Festival, in 2014.


This was our first year at West End Performing Arts Center, and we went from doing three plays in repertory to two, so we could put more time and resources into our World Premiere productions. The Essential Theatre Playwriting Award was split between Theroun Patterson’s THAT UGANDA PLAY (his second win) and Karla Jennings’ RAVENS & SEAGULLS (it would have been her second win if we had started the contest back when we premiered her IMAGES IN SMOKE back in the 2000 Festival).

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Celebrating 20 Years: A Look Back At The 2013 Festival

Continuing our look back at the past 19 years of Essential Theatre festivals, today we take a look back at the fifteenth Essential Theatre Festival, in 2013.


Our second year of all-Georgia-written plays. MYSTERIOUS CONNECTIONS, which Artistic Director Peter Hardy took to the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, got a splendid production from director Ellen McQueen. Hardy directed the World Premiere of STRAY DOGS by Matt Myers, and Katie Grant Shalin’s SWIMMING WITH JELLYFISH was directed by Bill Murphey (who acted in the very first Essential Theatre production, back in 1987). Tragically, Katie Grant Shalin passed away and was not able to see our production of her wonderful play.

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