A! Magazine for the Arts

Barter announces Winners of Playwright Festival

August 30, 2007

ABINGDON, Va. - This week Barter Theatre announced the winners of the Seventh Annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights that was held during the Virginia Highlands Festival.

The hilarious comedy about the writing of the screenplay Gone with the Wind called Don't Cry for Me Margaret Mitchell written by Duke Ernsberger and Virginia Cate was awarded first place this year.

A panel of adjudicators chose six plays from among almost 100 play submissions. After staged readings of the plays were held during the first two weeks of August, the panel chose the winners.

Second place was awarded to Rick Whelan's Heaven Sent, which will receive a mini-production at next year's festival.

Other winners, in order, are Ron Osborne's We Danced, Didn't We?, Jim and Doris Burn's Circuit Rider's Wife, Appalachian Reality by Don LaPlant and The Well by Jennifer S. Jones. Appalachian Reality has also been awarded a mini-production at the 2008 festival.

Not only does the annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights provide an avenue through which Barter develops some of its upcoming season's plays, but for many of the winning plays the festival is just the beginning of recognition for the play and playwright. Playwrights Ron Osborne, Catherine Bush and Douglas Pote have had huge success beginning with Barter's AFPP including the shows First Baptist of Ivy Gap, The Other Side of the Mountain that have both seen success at Barter Theatre and have gone on to productions in various theatres around the country.

Perhaps the most recognizable successes so far to emerge from AFPP are Keep on the Sunny Side, the songs and stories of the original Carter family, and Man of Constant Sorrow, the story that pays tribute to the careers of the Stanley brothers, both written by Pote, a local physician. Both plays have toured nationally and have been produced at theatres around the country. Barter's original cast recordings, which have been distributed internationally, have brought the attention of these works to countless

Barter's AFPP is an annual event at Barter Theatre held concurrently with the Virginia Highlands Festival during the two weeks in August. For more information on submitting plays, contact Festival Director Nick Piper at (276) 619-3316 or visit Barter's website at www.bartertheatre.com/season/festival