The 17th Annual Essential Theatre Festival Opens July 24

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2015 Essential Theatre Play Festival Press Release JULY

THE OLD SHIP OF ZION by Natalia Naman opens July 24
THE OLD SHIP OF ZION by Natalia Naman opens July 24

Atlanta, July 2015 – The 17th Annual Essential Theatre Festival kicks off July 24 at the West End Performing Arts Center, located at 945 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard in Atlanta. This summer, Essential will be presenting the World Premiere of the 2015 playwriting award winner, Lillian Likes It by Joshua Mikel, and the Professional World Premiere of The Old Ship of Zion, by Columbus, GA native Natalia Naman.

New this year! Essential Marketplace
New this year!
Essential Marketplace

New this year, in addition to the two fully staged plays and the Bare Essentials Reading Series, Essential is opening the Essential Marketplace, a vendor space at the theatre where patrons can view, enjoy and even purchase art created by Essential company members and friends past and present. Proceeds will go directly to the artists themselves, and wares can be anything from greeting cards to paintings to wood and metal works to jewelry, clothing and more.

LILLIAN LIKES IT by Joshua Mikel, opening July 31
LILLIAN LIKES IT by Joshua Mikel opens July 31

Since its first festival in 1999, the Essential Theatre has presented 25 new works by Georgia writers, all receiving productions of the highest artistic quality through Essential and many going on to receive future productions elsewhere in Atlanta and across the country. This will be the fourth all-Georgia festival, and it’s sure to be a winner. Tickets are on sale at

About each play:

The Old Ship of Zion by Natalia Naman
Directed by Peter Hardy
The warm, funny, moving story of the members of a small, struggling African-American church in Columbus, Georgia, centering on the beloved elder “Mama Gwen,” who feels the burden of other church members who depend on her and lean on the strength of her faith, and a young man who loves his church but is beginning to realize that he’s gay.  A Professional World Premiere about people searching for a spiritual life in trying times.  With lots of music!

Lillian Likes It by Joshua Mikel
Directed by Shannon Eubanks
Starting out as a satirical look at the world of social media, this quirky comedy takes a turn into deeper territory when a young woman begins to think she may have found the perfect guy – he may be dead, but his profile still exists online, and isn’t that really almost as good? Winner of the 2015 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award.

Bare Essential Play Reading Series
Curated by Founding Artistic Director Peter Hardy
This year’s plays include Deli by Diane Dexter (August 4), The Wayfarers by Hillary Simpson Bolle (August 10) and Wash, Dry, Fold by Nedra Pezold Roberts (August 18). All readings in the Bare Essential series begin at 7:30pm and are free and open to the public. Discussion will follow each reading.

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