The cover of The Atlanta Issue of The Dramatist
Theatrical Outfit
Theatrical Outfit exterior shot
Photo credit: Theatrical Outfit

A play comes alive at different times and in different ways. From the moment when dialogue sounds true on a page, or edits clarify the story, to the moment a play comes to life through the actors’ voices, Theatrical Outfit and Working Title Playwrights generously supported the process. By offering several weeks to collaborate with our dramaturgs Amber Bradshaw and Dr. Candi Dugas, we made new discoveries in plays that had taken first steps and were ready for bigger leaps.

Theatrical Outfit’s mission to start conversations that matter is at the core of both our plays: Web and A Complicated Hope. Each presents invitations and challenges to a viewer’s thoughts and feelings by exploring environmental loss and human grief and healing. And each center on characters whose needs and struggles are rooted in our communities here in the South.

Sharon found that each phase of the festival process opened new lenses for seeing Web. The producers were generous in finding a creative team that answered her requests for particular skills and talents. Her work with Amber focused on overall arcs of character development and story clarity. Director Karen Robinson brought the kind of close reading that clarifies each beat and line. When the hugely talented cast came together for two intense days of rehearsal, their questions and observations created multiple new levels of meaning.

John’s work primarily centered on cultural nuance and transitions. Working with Dr. Dugas and her dramaturgy method made the world of the play even richer and more vibrant, while director Damian Lockhart guided and challenged everyone toward a powerful creative vision. The exceptional cast brought insights in the rehearsal room around mental health, race, gender, culture, sexuality, and religion all within the context of A Complicated Hope, and Theatrical Outfit’s facilitation of these relationships was such a highlight of the entire process.

The audience’s energy and engagement with a play are the ultimate measure of its vitality. Our audiences’ openness to sharing their comments, questions, and feelings made this experience special and complete. Through all these processes of discovery, we envisioned and honed both scripts in ways that weren’t possible without them.

John Mabey
John Mabey

s plays and scholarly articles explore themes including sexual identity and spirituality across the lifespan. Recent awards for full-length plays include the 2021 Panowski Playwriting Award and the 2022 Getchell New Play Award. When not writing, John enjoys teaching and performing improvised comedy and true storytelling around the world. 

Sharon Mathis
Sharon Mathis

is a playwright, solo performer, and actor. Her plays have been produced in Atlanta and Raleigh. He/She and Me, a solo play, traveled nationally to festivals and conferences. She has received Ethel Woolson awards from Atlanta’s Working Title Playwrights for two plays integrating poetry with drama.