Essential Theatre’s 21st Festival Opens with Emily McClain’s SLAYING HOLOFERNES

Speakeysie News Desk — July 14, 2019

Atlanta, July 2019 – Essential Theatre is presenting its 21st Festival with the world premieres of three plays and four staged reading all by Georgia playwrights. Opening the festival this year is “Slaying Holofernes”, by Emily McClain, directed by Peter Hardy, on Friday, July 26, 2019 at 8pm at the West End Performing Arts Center. 

McClain’s “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. A young female painter struggles to gain recognition for her work within the male-dominated art world of Renaissance Italy. Meanwhile, in the contemporary United States, a young career woman encounters her own version of the same challenges as she fights for recognition in the workplace. 

The Festival features all local talent, working to serve and contribute to the Atlanta arts scene.

Performance schedule:

July 25 – Preview (8pm)

July 26 – Opening (8pm)

July 27 – Neighborhood Night (8pm, meet and greet with playwright Emily McClain)

Aug. 3 – 8pm

Aug. 4 – 2pm

Aug. 9 – 8pm

Aug. 11 – 7pm

Aug. 13 – 8pm Industry Night

Aug. 18 – 2pm

Aug. 19 – 8pm Industry Night

Aug. 22 – 10am matinee*

Aug. 24 – 8pm Closing Night


Sasha Hatfield as Artemesia Gentileschi

Erika Miranda as Amanda

Fred Galyean as Agostino Tassi

Brad Brooks as Orazio and Oscar

Jeff Hathcoat as Anthony and Coppino

Sarah Wallace as Tuzia and Tonya

Tamil Periasamy as Stiatessi and Greg

Joey Davila as Penatelli and Lucas

Dan Reichard as the Judge

Jim Nelson as the Notary

Artistic Team

Playwright: Emily McClain

Director: Peter Hardy

Assistant Director: Natalie Fox

Dramaturg: Maggie Higgenbothem

Stage Manager: Kyra Cohen

Scenic Designer: Gabrielle S. Stephenson

Lighting Designer: Harley Gould

Lighting Intern: Maliya McCall

Sound Designer: Kacie Willis

Costume Designer: Jane Kroessig

Assistant Costume Designer: Amie Kroessig

Propsmaster: Courtney Loner

Intimacy Coach: Ash Anderson

Fight Director: Kristin Storla

The West End Performing Arts Center is located at 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA, 30310. Festival Passes are on sale now! Visit or call 404-212-0815.

Now in its 21st year, the Essential Theatre Playwriting Competition is the only contest exclusively dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. The winning play receives both a full production and a $600 cash prize. Playwrights must be current Georgia residents, and the plays must be previously unproduced. There are no restrictions as to style, length or subject matter. For more information or to submit your play, visit

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About Essential Theatre:
Essential Theatre: Giving Georgia Playwrights a Voice since 1999

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