Showcasing Georgia’s Best Playwrights

Essential Theatre
Play Festival

July 29-August 28

Essential is back to our usual time slot this summer, bringing you the 2022 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award winner, A Complicated Hope by John Mabey, alongside Daniel Carter Brown’s The Outrage Machine, one of the 2020 Playwriting Award winners whose production had to be postponed.

*Mask required for all audience members. Click here for full COVID policy.

Named Best New Play Incubator by Atlanta Magazine in 2018, Essential Theatre has given Georgia playwrights a voice for the past twenty-two years, producing 30+ World Premieres and helping launch the careers of nation-wide successes like Topher Payne and Lauren Gunderson. 

In the press:

Essential Theatre to Present 23rd Summer Play Festival

This year’s Essential Theatre Play Festival highlights social media misuse, overcoming grief and the fight for equity

Audience Response:

“This a wonderful festival. It’s great to have an organization supporting Georgia playwrights.” -Brenda Niforth

“another successful Essential Theatre season” -Pat Hurley

“Thank you Essential Theatre for making this platform available for Georgia writers and actors.”

“If you’ve not seen the 2022 Essential Theatre Play Festival, you are depriving yourself of two truly awesome premieres… THE OUTRAGE MACHINE and A COMPLICATED HOPE. Seriously, Friends, you deserve to be both entertained and inspired as I was. Thank you, Peter Hardy, for these stellar scripts, casts and directors.”

“A COMPLICATED HOPE is the perfect contrast to the slightly raucous and entirely thought-provoking THE OUTRAGE MACHINE by Daniel Carter Brown (Dan Brown on Facebook). In fact, that’s what Essential Theatre does best, spotlighting original works by Georgia playwrights in all their variety, and in repertory, giving you, the audience, a very intense and satisfying summer experience. [They] have found a winning combination this season, and it’s not too late for you to enjoy it all.”

“Two plays, both very different, both thought provoking, relevant and well deserving of their winner status. And the acting company are superb.”

“Congratulations to John Mabey and Dan Brown for their strong plays at this year’s Essential Theatre playwriting contest. It was great to be back in the theatre to see provocative and engaging new work. And congrats and thanks to Peter Hardy for his consistent support of Georgia playwrights!”

You won’t want to miss ANY of what we’ve got in store for you at the 2022 Essential Theatre Play Festival:

2022 Festival Plays

Join Us!

July 29-August 28

Live, in person, at the Fulton County Arts & Culture West End Performing Arts Center, the festival’s home since 2014.

Click the image to download your own copy of the program!

West End Performing Arts Center

2022 Sponsors