Liz McCormick Published

LISTEN: Contemporary American Theater Festival's Impact, Legacy in W.Va.

Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen and Founder and Producing Director Ed Herendeen speak at an event for the 2019 season of CATF. Photo taken May 2019.

The Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia just closed on its 29th season. The festival draws visitors from all over the world to West Virginia and has helped the state stand out in the professional theater scene.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen to talk about the festival’s legacy, impact, and what’s ahead for its 30th season.

CATF was founded in 1991 by Producing Director Ed Herendeen. To date, 121 new plays have been produced, including 47 world premieres by 85 American playwrights. CATF has also commissioned 10 new American plays.

According to the festival’s website, 50 percent of all their plays have been produced by women writers. In 2017, CATF issued more than 17,500 tickets to 5,500 patrons from 36 states, Washington, D.C., and around the globe.

The Contemporary American Theater Festival states its mission is to produce and develop new American theater; to provide the ultimate theater experience and produce fearless art; daring and diverse stories and to create a profound dynamic among the audience, the artist and the work.