Slaying Holofernes is one of the new plays on offer at the Essential Play Festival.

Essential Theatre is presenting its 21st annual Essential Play Festival from July 26 to Aug. 25 with the world premieres of three plays and four staged reading all by Georgia playwrights.

The festival will take place at the West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. The plays will run in repertory for a month.

Opening the festival  on July 26 is “Slaying Holofernes” written by Emily McClain and directed by Peter Hardy. The play centers on a young female painter struggling to gain recognition for her work within the male-dominated art world of Renaissance Italy. Meanwhile, in modern day America, a young career woman encounters her own version of the same challenges as she fights for recognition in the workplace.

Also premiering on Aug. 2 is “Baby Shower for the Antichrist” written by Ben Thorpe and directed by Shannon Eubanks. The play is about a cult prepping for the birth of the Antichrist, which is disrupted by outsider. And there’s a talking goat.

For two nights only – Aug. 15-16 – there will be a production of “The Attic” by Aaron Gotlieb. Also during the festival will be a series of staged readings of new work by local playwrights.

For the complete schedule and lineup, visit

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.