The 2022 Essential Theater Play festival continues with readings of new plays

From July 29 to August 28, Essential Theater presents its 23rd Festival with the world premieres of two plays and four staged readings, all by Georgian playwrights. The two full productions, The Outrage Machine and A Complicated Hope, opened the first two weeks of the festival, and next in the lineup is the Bare Essentials Play Reading series, produced with support from Georgia Humanities.

This series includes staged readings of new plays by Georgian playwrights, each followed by a moderated discussion with the playwright. The readings and conversations that follow are free and open to the public.

Organized by the founding artistic director of Essential, Pierre Hardyhimself a nationally award-winning playwright who has had more than 30 productions of his work nationwide and had plays chosen for the National Playwrights’ Conference and the Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival and has received drama awards from the National Playwrights’ Conference, the Festival of Southern Theater and the New Southern Theater Festival, the Bare Essentials Play Reading Series includes:

Ozzy Rose Wagner’s exhibition, directed by Caroline Cook (August 9) – A young woman leading the way for an exhibition at the museum where she works, centered on female artists and subjects, is threatened with the public dissemination of compromising images of herself. With the reading talents of: Eliana Marianes (Aphrodite), Jamie Moore (Noah/Man/Apelles), Dionna D. Davis (Julie), Si Chen (Alex), Hayley Noelle Hudson (Callie)

Robert Fuson’s Barbie Liberation Organization, directed by Kati Grace Brown (August 10) – GI Joe saves Barbie from a war and brings her home to her cabin. From then on, they move through the stages of a “traditional” relationship, becoming parents and groping their way from dolls to human beings. Featuring the reading talents of: Sarah Newby Halicks (Barbie), Chris Hecke (GI Joe), Kait Rivas (Milzy)

Shark Week by Anneka Rose, directed by Cameryn Richardson (August 22) – The claustrophobic intensity of teenagers at a boarding school becomes a fever dream of sexual confusion and manipulation. “Dedicated to all the girls and women who felt their tragedies were less real than what we read on the page.”

“Audience readings are an important part of the script development process for a playwright,” says Hardy, “a crucial first step in connecting a new play with an audience. And they give the audience the opportunity to both learn and to participate in the development of new works of dramatic art.

With support from Georgia Humanities, all readings in the Bare Essentials series are free and open to the public. The West End Performing Arts Center is located at 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA, 30310. Tickets are available now! Visit or call 404-212-0815.

The 2022 Essential Play Festival runs July 29 through August 28 at the West End Performing Arts Center (945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310) in Atlanta’s historic West End, home of the Essential Theater since 2014. COVID restrictions including masks and enhanced air purification and cleaning practices will be put in place to ensure performers and patrons have a safe and enjoyable time at the theatre.

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