A! Magazine for the Arts

Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights

August 15, 2010

ABINGDON, Va. - Barter Theatre has announced the winners of its 10th annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights, held July 27-August 7, 2010, during the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon.

This year's top honor goes to Catherine Bush's The Road to Appomattox, which parallels the retreat of General Robert E. Lee and a modern-day couple who are retracing his steps. As Lee is faced with the disintegration of his army, Beau and Jenny confront a past that threatens to destroy their marriage. All must decide for themselves what it means to surrender... and what price they're willing to pay for "Union."

Second place is awarded to Sunny Da Silva's Elvis Blossom,
 a wacky yet touching story about a woman convinced that she has given birth to the child of Elvis. The fact that Elvis died a decade before the birth is only a minor inconvenience.

Third place is awarded to Mark Cook's The Codgerella, a tale of three retired men who meet every morning for breakfast and a college girl waiting tables who reminds them of life's possibilities and its limitations. The Codgerella will receive a mini-production in the 2011 AFPP.

Other finalists include After Autumn by Kali Meister, Saving Old Smokey by Ron Osborne, The Spring Cleaning by Liz Orndorff and The Shade of the Trees by Kenley Smith.

Barter's Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights gives the stories and playwrights of Appalachia a national platform to be presented, developed and celebrated. A number of AFPP plays have gone on to be developed and produced by Barter Theatre. Playwrights Ron Osborne and Catherine Bush have had great success with Barter's AFPP through their festival-winning plays, which include First Baptist of Ivy Gap, Wise Women and My River, My Valley (by Osborne) as well as The Other Side of the Mountain, Comin' Up a Storm and Where Trouble Sleeps (by Bush). Each play received a full production by Barter and has gone on to enjoy successful productions at various theatres around the country.

Perhaps the most successful and recognizable shows to emerge from Barter's AFPP are two musicals: Keep on the Sunny Side: The Songs and Story of the Original Carter Family and Man of Constant Sorrow, the show that pays tribute to the careers of the Stanley brothers. Both shows were written by local physician Douglas Pote and have been produced at theatres across the country in addition to receiving national tours. Barter's original cast recordings, which have been distributed internationally, have brought the attention of these works to countless others.

For more information on submitting plays, please contact Festival Director Nicholas Piper at (276) 619-3316 or visit our website at www.bartertheatre.com/festival.