More than 30 years after the fact, Ed Herendeen can still recall the moment he knew Shepherdstown would be the perfect place to build something like the Contemporary American Theater Festival.
He was visiting the town with his wife, Sue, and they were sitting on a bench in front of the Frank Center on Shepherd University’s campus. The Blue Ridge Mountains were in the distance, and the picturesque landscape that spread out in front of them spoke volumes without making a noise.
“We were just staring into an empty field, and my wife said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to grow old in this town?’” Herendeen reflected in an interview Tuesday. “And that’s what did it for me, that’s what did it for us.”
Photo: Ed Herendeen, left, founded the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown more than 30 years ago. Photo by Seth Freeman.