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Mission Statement

Essential Theatre's mission is to challenge Georgia audiences and to support Georgia artists by encouraging the creation of new dramatic literature and giving local actors, directors and designers the chance to work on exciting new plays that have not yet been produced in this area - all World Premieres and Regional Premieres. We invite the participation of audiences in developing the work of these playwrights through workshops, staged readings and full productions.


Each year, we present the POWER PLAY FESTIVAL, a repertory of new plays running in rotation. From the first year of the Festival we have been committed to producing at least one new play a year by a Georgia playwright, and in 2001 we began the annual Essential Theatre Playwriting Award, the only such competition exclusively dedicated to Georgia playwrights.

The Essential Theatre is pleased to announce that Vynnie Meli's play PASSING THROUGH has been chosen as the winner of the 2009 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award competition. Vynnie will receive a cash prize of $600.00 and her play will be produced as part of the Essential Theatre's 2009 Power Plays Festival, to be presented in July of 2009 at the Actor's Express performance space.

The story of PASSING THROUGH centers on the members of an all-female jazz band, touring through the Deep Sou th during World War Two. The musicians are all African-American except for one Jewish woman, who has to disguise herself to fit in with the rest of the group, at a time when "mixed-race" bands weren't tolerated anywhere in the United States. (This was also a time when women weren't commonly accepted into the all-male world of jazz music.)


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