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We celebrate the power of stories.

Their power to thrill you, to entice you, to invigorate you. Their power to make you think. From various walks of life, patrons and artists alike will come together in Shepherdstown, West Virginia to be inspired by new plays and applaud dynamic playwrights.

This Weekend at the Festival

Underlined shows still have tickets available; click to order.

FRIDAY, July 20

12:00pm: Berta, Berta*
12:00pm: Lunch & Art
2:00pm: Friday Film: Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy | Shipley Recital Hall | 260 University Drive | Donation
4:00pm: Gallery Talk: Where?: Rural Arts Collaborative Installation | Gallery 113 | 92 W Campus Drive
5:00pm: A Late Morning…Reagan*
8:00pm: Thirst
8:30pm: Memoirs of a Forgotten Man
8:30pm: A Late Morning…Reagan*


10:00am: CATF in Context*
12:00pm: A Late Morning…Reagan*
2:00pm: Thirst
2:30pm: Memoirs of a Forgotten Man*
5:00pm: Lecture (Free) The actor behind Ronald Reagan and the making on a one-person show: A candid conversation with John Keabler | Shipley Recital Hall | 260 University Drive
5:00pm: Berta, Berta*
8:00: The House on the Hill
8:30pm: The Cake
8:30pm: Berta, Berta
10:00pm: After Thoughts (FREE) – Mixer with the CATF Company | Copper Canyon | 62 Campus Drive

SUNDAY, July 22

10:00am: Breakfast with Ed
12:00pm: Berta, Berta*
2:00pm: The House on the Hill*
2:30pm:  The Cake
4:30: Berta, Berta
6:00pm: Thirst
6:30: Memoirs of a Forgotten Man
8:30pm: A Late Morning…Reagan*

CATF talktheater is supported in part by grants from the West Virginia Humanities Council and the Jefferson Arts Council.


The Cake

Shepherdstown theater festival features world premieres and top notch acting

July 11, 2018 • The Washington Post

The plays at this year’s Contemporary American Theater Festival speak fervently about the power of memory. Whether it’s because of Proustian cookie consumption or because divisive times and extreme weather inspire soul-searching about the past, the six works currently on view at this town’s nationally known new-play showcase comment on memory’s ability to dominate and disrupt the present. MORE»


Review: Thirst at Contemporary American Theater Festival

July 9, 2018 • DC Theatre Scene

I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, Albert Einstein once said, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and rocks.

It is after the war now. The great cities are gone, and the networks which kept us alive and healthy are in disarray. Once we dreamed of luxury vacations and hot cars and McMansions and bling, but now we dream of some little hunk of meat to go with our root vegetables. And water. Most of all, we dream of water… MORE»

Berta, Berta

Review: ‘Berta, Berta’ at the Contemporary American Theater Festival

July 12, 2018 • DC Metro Theatre Arts

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

–William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun.

Of the many great moments in the late August Wilson’s Twentieth Century cycle, the most powerful one for me comes in The Piano Lesson, Wilson’s evocation of the Hill District in Depression-era Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A circle of men, all from the same county in Mississippi, are hanging out together when the conversation turns to Parchman Farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, a prison for men, mostly black, where hard labor was the rule… MORE»


W.Va. theater festival presents uncannily timed lesbian wedding cake play

July 6, 2018 • Washington Blade

A play about a Christian baker’s dilemma to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple probably sounds more tragic than funny. But Bekah Brunstetter, writer and producer of NBC’s hit dramady “This Is Us,” has written a comedy on just this topic. MORE»

Bekah Brunstetter

Theater that prompts thinking

July 4, 2018 • Spirit of Jefferson

At the Contemporary American Theater Festival kicking off Friday, 6 plays will explore love, suspense, political divisions, propaganda, and more. MORE»

C. A. Johnson

Playwright C.A. Johnson’s ‘Thirst’ makes premiere at Contemporary American Theater Festival

July 1, 2018 • Herald Mail

This isn’t the first summer playwright C.A. Johnson found her way to the Contemporary American Theater Festival. The New Orleans-area native ad been displaced to Washington, D.C., to finish high school, following Hurricane Katrina.”And I ended up in D.C. and I never wanted to leave because I started going to an arts high school there,” she said during a telephone interview from her Los Angeles home. MORE»

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