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 133 new plays – including 56 world premieres and 11 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 issues over 18,000 tickets to its four-week rotating repertory season of six new plays and attracts a national audience from 38 states to the region. Each summer, the Festival generates a local economic impact of over $5.86 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 and A Welcome Guest 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.
Ed has served on the Admissions Committee for New Dramatists and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He has served on the board of the Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for American theaters. 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. Additionally, he has been named a Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni from Ohio University (from which he received his MA in Directing). In 2019, Ed was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center.