The 2023 Essential Theatre Play Festival is returning to 7Stages Theatre this summer with a lineup that includes two world premieres and plenty of local talent. 

The festival will begin on Aug. 11 and run until Sept. 3 at 7Stages Theatre in Little Five Points. The feature of the event will be the world premiere of Matthew Hoffman’s The Manuscript, a compelling psychological drama about what we owe to those we’ve lost. 

The drama has earned the 2023 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award and the Co-Winner of the 2020 Playwriting Award. 

The festival will also highlight the world premiere of Beverly Austin’s The Wishing Place.

The Wishing Place is a poetic drama about two families in 1960s rural Georgia, one black and one white, trying to find their path and keep their dreams alive. 

The Essential Theatre will also be welcoming back a production of Hush Harbor Lab for a second year.

The Hush Harbor Lab is a comedy following writer Lena and her titular character Yanni Stone as Lena completes the daunting task of writing her first play all while navigating dating, sex, and virginity in modern-day Atlanta. 

For two nights during the festival, attendees can see, Walk With Me: Loving Steps on the Dementia Journey. This is an autobiographical play written and performed by Carolyn Cook.

In the production, a woman sets out to meet her loved ones with dementia where they are — and returns with a guidebook for fellow travelers. 

The play was developed in collaboration with Anne McSweeney of CEU Creations. The performance will be followed by a guided conversation led by McSweeney. Both evenings are eligible for CE credit for social workers, counselors, case managers, and nurses.

On Aug. 12, the festival will feature 10 Minute Plays, a public showcase of the conclusion of Essential’s 10 Minute Play Bootcamp.

Finally, the festival will conclude with the Bare Essentials Play Reading series, which will highlight developmental readings of four new plays by Georgia playwrights, including: 

  • The Rock and the Hard Place by Emily McClain
  • Pas de Deux by Sarah Swiderski
  • Water Boyz by Kwik Jones
  • The Other Bones by Beverly Sylvester

For the past 20 years, the Essential Theatre has worked to produce more than 40 world premieres, launch countless careers and support all Georgia playwrights. For more information, click here.

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