As Essential Theatre continues its yearly playwriting competition, local audiences have the chance to experience premieres of seven new theatrical works.

The theatre kicked off its 21st annual festival last weekend with Slaying Holofernes by Emily McClain. McClain’s piece is the first of three plays receiving world premiere stagings at the festival, with Ben Thorpe’s Baby Shower for the Antichrist opening tomorrow and The Attic by Aaron Gotliebs opening on August 15. The festival also includes the Bare Essentials Play Reading series which will present four new pieces throughout the month of August, curated by Essential Theatre’s founding artistic director and award-winning playwright Peter Hardy.

With casts and creative teams made up entirely of Atlanta theatre artists, the Essential Theatre Playwriting competition is the only contest of its kind open exclusively to Georgia playwrights. The winning playwright will receive $750 and a full production for their award-winning play.

The schedule is as follows:

World Premieres

Baby Shower for the Antichrist
August 1- 25
Baby Shower for the Antichrist takes audiences to a feast hosted by an isolated cult is preparation for the birth of the Antichrist. When an outsider is invited for the evening, secrets about the past come to light and threaten to ruin everything the group has built.

Slaying Holofernes
July 25-August 24
Slaying Holofernes blends and blurs the worlds of past/present, fact/fiction, and personal/political as it explores two women’s parallel quests for justice in an imperfect world.

Essential Theatre presents: The Attic
Two nights only! August 15 & August 16
The Attic explores the things we hold on to and those we leave behind.

Bare Essentials Play Readings
Leviticus Jelks III’s Day of Saturn – August 3
Rosalind Sullivan-Lovett’s Henry Darger Takes a Walk – August 6
Allan Dodson’s Waiting for Big Stuff – August 12
Ted Westby and John D. Babcock III’s The Odds Against Death – August 21

Festival info:

Location: The West End Performing Arts Center (945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Atlanta, GA 30310)
Tickets for the world premiere plays: Range from $18-$25
The Bare Essentials readings: Free!
Full list of performance times and to purchase festival passes: Head to or call 404-212-0815.

About Sally Henry Fuller

A theatre aficionado with a passion for telling people's stories, Sally Henry Fuller is a performing arts journalist. She has had the privilege of interviewing both local theatre professionals and multi-award-winning celebrities including Carol Burnett, Matthew Morrison, Vanessa Williams, Josh Gad, and Taylor Hicks. With theatre journalism experience since 2011, her work has also been featured on, the Huffington Post, and the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival.

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