Ed Herendeen founded the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in 1991 with the mission to produce and develop new American theater. Through his leadership, and operating under an AEA LORT D contract and an annual budget of over one million dollars, the Theater Festival has produced 95 new plays – including 34 world premieres and nine commissions – and has gained a reputation as one of America’s most important producers of new work. Hosted on the campus of Shepherd University, CATF sells over 12,000 tickets to its four-week rotating repertory season of five new plays and attracts a national audience from 35 states to the region. Each summer, the Festival generates a local economic impact of over $2.1 million dollars to West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.
Recently, Ed’s directing credits include The Eclectic Society by Eric Conger, a world premiere produced by the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. Among the plays he has directed at the Contemporary American Theater Festival are the following world premieres: Whores by Lee Blessing; Miss Golden Dreams: A Play Cycle and Bad Girls by Joyce Carol Oates; Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher (which was commissioned by CATF and later produced as the film Stage Beauty); Carry the Tiger to the Mountain by Cherylene Lee; Octopus by Jon Klein; Jazzland by Keith Glover; Dear Sara Jane by Victor Lodato; The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by John Olive; The Occupation by Harry Newman; What Are Tuesdays Like? by Victor Bumbalo; From Prague by Kyle Bradstreet; Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams; and Still Waters and Psyche Was Here by Lynn Martin. Other CATF directing credits include: Ages of the Moon, The God of Hell, and The Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard; Fifty Words by Michael Weller; Race by David Mamet; Farragut North by Beau Willimon; The Overwhelming and White People by J.T. Rogers; Mr. Marmalade by Noah Haidle; In A Forest, Dark and Deep and Wrecks by Neil LaBute; Blessing’s Thief River; and Below the Belt, Gun-Shy, and Something in the Air by Richard Dresser.
Ed has also worked at The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Missouri Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, The Lyceum Theatre, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In 1999, CATF was presented with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and, in 2012, the Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts. Ed was honored with the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award in Theater from Ohio University (from which he received his MA in Directing) and has served on the Admissions Committee for New Dramatists and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 2011, he has served on the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for American theaters.
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Margaret (Peggy) McKowen brings both artistic and administrative experience to CATF. Peggy spent five years as Chair of the Division of Theatre and Dance at West Virginia University. During that time she promoted and implemented commercial theatre internships, international performance exchanges, and professional development activities for the students of theater. She was an active participant with the University/Resident Theatre Association, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and the National Association of Schools of Theater while serving on the Chair’s Advisory Committee to the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel
Prior to joining the Festival staff in January 2007, Peggy was working as a free-lance designer. Most recently her work was seen in New York with the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble and Gateway Playhouse; and in California on Libby Larsen’s new opera, Every Man Jack. As resident designer for the Obie-award-winning Jean Cocteau Repertory, Peggy designed: the Darius Milhaud scored version for Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, the Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heany’s The Cure at Troy, and several productions directed by late Eve Adamson. Regional theater work has been seen at Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and the Dallas Shakespeare Festival. She designed Romeo and Juliet, one of six tours of the National Endowment for the Arts’ series: Shakespeare in the American Communities. In 2006 Peggy began her affiliation with CATF, designing the costumes for Mr. Marmalade and the World Premiere of Keith Glover’s Jazzland. Peggy’s international design work has been seen at the B.A.T. Studio Theatre (Berlin), the Teatro Alfa Real (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and for the E.T.A. Hoffmann Theatre in Bamberg (Germany). She designed the first full-length English speaking production of The Tempest performed in Beijing, China.
Additional examples of her design work can be seen in the texts, “Theatre: The Lively Art” and “The Theatre Experience.” Peggy’s work has been shown in the Ukraine as part of the American Theatre Design Exhibit. Her designs for the Jean Cocteau Repertory production of Mother Courage and her Children can be found in The New York Public Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive. Peggy is a member of United Scenic Artists 829 and received her MFA from the University of Texas in Austin.
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James joined — or, more appropriately, rejoined — the staff at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in 2010. A native West Virginian, he is a graduate of Shepherd University and worked at CATF during seasons 8, 9 & 10. In the time in-between, he spent four years as Literature Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts focusing on grants to nonprofit presses, magazines, and literary organizations, as well as awards to individual poets and writers. While at the NEA he also worked on the development of such national initiatives as Operation Homecoming, Shakespeare in American Communities, Poetry Out Loud, and the National Book Festival.
In 2005, James moved to New York City where he was General Manager and Development Consultant for the arts management firm, The Center for Creative Resources. At the Center, he worked with numerous individual artists and arts organizations, including Arthur Mitchell and Dance Theatre of Harlem, Manhattan Graphics Center, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Arts & Business Council of New York, New York Theatre Ballet, and the Dramatists Guild Fund. He was a team leader in the feasibility study, opening, and first year of management and operation of The Times Center, owned by The New York Times, which opened in 2007 and was designed by Renzo Piano.
Prior to joining CATF, James served as Director of Development and Marketing at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre, located in Greenwich Village, and did his graduate studies in Arts Management at American University. He is a resident producer at No Hope Productions in New York City and is on the board of the Shepherdstown Visitors Center.
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Patrick is a success story of CATF’s Internship Program. A graduate of Otterbein College, he started with the Festival six years ago as a Stage Management Intern and has returned for the last three Seasons as Technical Director. For four years, he served as Assistant Technical Director at Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis, where he was in charge of Special Effects, Hydraulic/Pneumatic Systems, and Computerized Show Control. In January of 2001, he accepted the position ofTechnical Director for Shepherd University Theater and Music, where he currently manages the technical needs of university productions.
Contact: 304-876-5447 • firstname.lastname@example.org
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