The 2022 Essential Theater Play Festival will continue with THE WASH by Kelundra Smith of Hush Harbor Lab

From July 29 to August 28, Essential Theater presents its 23rd Festival with the world premieres of two plays and four staged readings, all by Georgian playwrights. Daniel’s first world productions Carter Brownis The Outrage Machine and John MabeyA Complicated Hope is well underway, and two of the three Bare Essentials Plays took place earlier this week, but next week will bring yet another new offering: Hush Harbor Lab’s first-ever in-person event.

For one night only on August 18, Essential will host a play by Hush Harbor Lab, Atlanta’s Black Play Development Company. Founders Amina McIntyre and Addae Moon describe the organization as “a courageous space for the development and production of new and innovative digital, live, and multimedia performances by Atlanta-based black artists.” The organization is only two years old, but McIntyre and Moon are well established on the local and national theater scene, and Essential is thrilled to provide a new stage for their vision and talent. They will present a reading of The Wash by Kelundra Smith. Inspired by the Atlanta washerwomen’s strike of 1881, Smith’s play is a comedy about a labor strike that will have audiences laughing, engaging and laughing.

“I started writing this piece during a thunderstorm in 2017,” Smith explains. “I can’t wait to chat with my playwright Antonia LaChe and director Jade Lambert-Smith about the birth of this baby. I had no idea 5 years ago how much the themes of the play would resonate today. You’re all going to laugh out loud!”

Kelundra Smith is an accomplished writer in multiple mediums, and in fact, audiences may recognize her name in some of their favorite journalistic publications, including Atlanta Magazine, ArtsATL, American Theater Magazine, and The New York Times. Earlier this month, she received her first Atlanta Press Club Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture Reporting for her role in the September 2021 issue of Atlanta magazine.

The August 18 reading cast includes Cheryl Booker, Allie Ficken, Tanya Freeman, Charity Jordan, Anterior Leverett, Brenda Porter, and Aminah H. Williams. The reading will be directed by Jade Maia Lambert, with dramaturgy by Antonia LaChe and direction by Mahala Johnson. In person and streaming tickets available.

The 2022 Essential Play Festival runs July 29 through August 28 at the West End Performing Arts Center (945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310) in Atlanta’s historic West End, home of the Essential Theater since 2014. COVID restrictions including masks and enhanced air purification and cleaning practices will be put in place to ensure performers and patrons have a safe and enjoyable time at the theatre. To read the full COVID policy, go to:

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