-from Artistic Director Peter Hardy
Maya Angelou said “We find our path by walking it,” and that’s part of what’s happened to me with the Essential Theatre over the past seventeen years. I came to Atlanta mostly wanting to work as a playwright and a director. In 1999, when we started producing the annual Essential Theatre Festival, I decided that each Festival would feature at least one production of a new play by a Georgia writer. Frankly, this was something of a calculated choice — I figured that doing locally-written plays would make us stand out and be a good way for us to get support. But, as the years have gone by, the number of Georgia-written plays that are submitted to us each year has nearly tripled, and the quality of those submissions just keeps going up. Working with these brand-new plays has become more and more compelling to me – producing them, developing them, helping the playwrights find their own voices, encouraging them in any way we can. I still love to direct, and I’m still writing my own work (plays, short stories, a novel). But helping other writers, and giving them the kind of support and opportunities I would like to find for my own work, has become an important third part of my path – and I’m thankful to the Essential Theatre for helping me to find it.