2001 was an important year for the Essential Theatre Festival: it was the third festival, but the inaugural year of the Essential Theatre Playwriting Competition and Award. The 2001 Festival was comprised of Cruel Disclosures by Bill Canning, Private Eyes by Steven Dietz, and the world premiere of the first Essential Theatre Playwriting Award Winner, Parts They Call Deep by the then-18-year-old Lauren Gunderson.

A Look Back at the 2001 Festival