Across four packed days, the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center will be overflowing with a slew of theatre events from readings to expos.

While we would love to take a deep dive into every aspect of this year’s Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, there is way too much to cover to do it justice. So below, we’ve selected four highlights to give you a taste of this extravaganza!


Sundays at Four, book by Brittani Minnieweather, music and lyrics by Christian Magby, Talitha Gabrielle, and Jaime Walker
October 3 at 7:00pm

Fun fact: Sundays at Four premiered as part of the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival last year.
About: Sundays at Four explores what happens when family dynamics are challenged. What happens when the status quo is no longer acceptable? And what happens when family members ask questions they never dared to ask before? Will the Washington family ever recover? And will they continue to meet every Sunday at four? This tender musical is for all the Mothers that hold our families together.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets ($7.50).

Dr. Doris Derby Collegiate Monologue Competition
October 3 at 10pm

Fun fact: Dr. Doris Derby was the festival’s Theatre Legend Award recipient in 2017.
About: The Dr. Doris Derby Collegiate Monologue Competition is designed for any college student who has a passion for performing and a love for the arts. Students will utilize their prose, characterization, projection and technique to compete for a chance at winning up to $600 in prizes and scholarships. Additionally, each participant will have an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of television, film and theatre professionals from around the world.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets ($18.50-$27.50).

Shaking the Wind, written and performed by Minka Wiltz
October 5 at 5:30pm

Fun fact: Minka Wiltz performed her autobiographical piece last year at Out of Hand Theatre.
About: Minka brings to life the many characters of her lonely and hilariously awkward childhood. This is a coming of age story about growing up in Atlanta. Join her as she comes to terms with her mother’s fundamentalist street preacher ideals, her family’s peculiar idiosyncrasies, and her many trials and triumphs, with humor, tears and song. Shaking the Wind is a 10-character, one-act play masterfully performed by one brilliant actress.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets ($14.50-$24.50).

“The Eve of Jackie” Jackie Wilson tribute performance starring Chester Gregory
October 5 at 7pm (as part of the festival’s closing Ruby and Red Gala)

Fun fact: Chester Gregory appeared on Broadway in Hairspray and Motown: the Musical.
About: The award winning Broadway actor Chester Gregory channels the dynamic spirit of Jackie Wilson “Mr. Excitement”, one of the most influential artists in rock ‘n roll history, live in concert, back on September 29, 1975. This eve he is compelled to reveal his personal journey in show business, bringing you hits such as: “Lonely Teardrops”, “To Be Loved”, and “Higher and Higher”. No one knew this would be his final performance as he suffers a heart attack on stage and leaves the audience spellbound–the only remains are the memories of the heart and soul that was Mr. Jackie Wilson.

Click here for more information and to purchase gala tickets ($40-$60).

About the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival
The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival offers the nation’s largest self-producing platform of world-class, Afro-centric theatre offered under one roof!  The ABTF was recently named among the five “top theatre festivals to visit around the world” by TopTenZilla.com. More like a family reunion than a festival, the event schedule is a full marathon of plays, master classes, parties, musical performances, vendors’ market and more.

Click here for a full listing of ALL the festival’s events!

About Sally Henry

A writer with a passion for building relationships and telling people's stories, Sally Henry is a freelance arts and entertainment journalist. She has had the privilege of interviewing both local theatre professionals and multi-award-winning celebrities including Carol Burnett, Matthew Morrison, and Taylor Hicks. With theatre journalism experience since 2011, her work has been featured on BroadwayWorld.com, the Huffington Post, and the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival.

View all posts by Sally Henry