The passion that we share for the Contemporary American Theater Festival acts like jet fuel and ignites the passion in our artists and audiences. This mutual passion helps us achieve critical success. And our passion and love for the work helps us overcome the financial barriers and obstacles that we face with each new season. Because doing what we love not only increases our odds at success, but it dramatically increases our happiness.

People spend more than fifty percent of their waking adult life working, so we might as well do what we love: Producing and developing new American theater in Shepherdstown, WV.

“An artist has to keep one ear to the ground and one to the heart.”–Bruce Springsteen

We have created an experience unlike any other theater. Each and every CATF Season is unique and different and stands alone and apart from other seasons. We treat our fans and artists to a different experience each and every season. No two Festival Seasons are the same…because we are pioneers in new play development. We differentiate ourselves from our competition by providing a total Festival experience. We have a reputation for nurturing a shared common experience. The Festival creates an instant kinship with our artists and our audience base. How do we do this?

We encourage independent behavior in our artists.

We innovate and don’t follow.

We stand-out.

We create our own landscape.

Our work is memorable.

Our work is remarkable.

We are willing to experiment.

We create a profound and ever evolving relationship between the audience and the work.

Our diverse group of playwrights provides a powerful combination of established and emerging voices: A mix of unique backgrounds unencumbered by conventional wisdom. This proves to be an extraordinary combination of innovative writing and provocative ideas. Our work, our plays, our Festival is authentic. And this authenticity endears us to our artists and fans. We will continue to keep a certain intimacy between ourselves and our patrons. We will continue to facilitate the culture of openness and availability that we have cultivated over the past two decades by enhancing the live theater experience. We will bring the Festival audience together in a vibrant community of conversation. Our Festival offers “all access.” Our patrons are participants…not just spectators. They assist us in our creative work: the development of new American plays. The CATF audience expects to be part of the Festival’s unique collective experience.

Ed Herendeen, Producing Director

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