Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights Returns to Barter Theatre

Barter Theatre announces the lineup for its 17th annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP). Barter has a rich tradition of producing new plays, and this year six original plays and one mini-production will be presented before audiences.

The readings take place at Barter Stage II and are free and open to the public. Barter Theatre's Resident Acting Company read each play, and each reading is followed by an audience discussion that can often become quite energetic. Both the reading and the discussion are a crucial part of the new play development process, helping the playwright refine or revise the final product. This year's festival, which will take place from Aug. 22nd - Aug. 27th, will include readings of new plays:

Dough & Cookies by Stacey Isom Campbell, Thursday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m.;
Darlene and Charlene, twin sisters from South Carolina, steal $20.5 million from the Department of Defense through a loophole. What begins as an accident turns into a 7-year fraud that these middle-aged Baptist women justify. At once funny and touching, Dough & Cookies is a surprising look at greed, grief and the extraordinary journeys of a wounded heart.

12 Dogs by Jeanne Drennan, Thursday Aug. 24 at 4 p.m.;

The young math teacher Luisa is trying to win opportunities for a brilliant student, but she's doing it in the town of 12 Dogs-nothing more than a dot on a redrawn map in the Outliers of a post-cataclysmic North America. Her efforts attract outsiders to the place, who come with their own plans for the boy and, surprisingly, for Luisa. When her refuge from a disintegrating society back in the Homelands begins to slip from her grasp, Luisa suddenly has to plan for the future when it's not clear there will be least not for her.

Black Diamond by Anthony Epling, Friday Aug. 25 at 1 p.m.;

Inspired by a true story, three generations of a Southwest Virginia family navigate the role of coal in their lives. From the early days of the UMWA (United Mine Workers of America) to modern times, the play explores the impact of coal upon the family's dynamics, identity, as well as a secret that is more lethal than any mineshaft explosion.

The Lemonade Stand by Matthew Fowler, Friday, Aug. 25 at 4 p.m.;
Garret Miller is having a midlife crisis. When he gets fired from the only job he's ever had, he decides to set up a lemonade stand on the street in front of his suburban house. All the while, his wife is probably cheating on him, his brother is a pariah, and the college girl next door wants to be his lemonade-stand intern. In this dramatic comedy, Garret sets out to prove that "the American Dream," "an American Dream," or at least his American Dream still exists.

Sally McCoy by Alice Stanley, Sunday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m.;
In the midst of the first gruesomely violent event of the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud, one woman does what she must to save her family. Sally McCoy tells a harrowing and deeply personal story which takes a hard look at how women's stories and perspectives are too often excluded from our historical narratives.

We'll Meet Again: A New American Musical by James Harris, music arranged by Mark Hayes, Sunday Aug. 27 at 4 p.m.;

Based on the true story of Jewish refugee Henry Stern, who fled Nazi Germany at the age of five to start a new life in the small Alabama town of Opelika. Many years later, he makes an amazing discovery that reconnects him with his past, and gives new insights and meaning to his life's journey. As the compelling story unfolds, beautiful arrangements of World War II era music by Mark Hayes bring this turbulent era to life. A story filled with joy, sorrow and resilience, this new musical reminds us to embrace and celebrate life.


The winner of last year's festival, Ross Carter, has worked with the Barter team, and his play Madame Buttermilk is the 2017 AFPP Mini-Production to be performed at Barter Stage II, beginning Aug. 22nd - Aug. 27th. Country music meets opera in the most unlikely, unbelievable and undoubtedly one of the most popular plays to ever come through Barter's Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. Struggling opera singer Carly Speranza has one big dream; to sing the lead in "Carmen." After Carly's agent lands her a gig singing at the state fair with a country music band called the Car Men, Carly is caught in the middle as agents clash, stage manager and emcee panic. Tickets for Madame Buttermilk start at $18.

Sponsors Henry and Flora Joy make the 2017 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights possible at Barter Theatre.

For more information about readings, or to purchase tickets for Madame Buttermilk, visit or call at 276-628-3991.

About Barter Theatre

Barter Theatre, the nation's longest running professional theatre, is located in Abingdon, Virginia. The theatre opened in 1933 during the Great Depression. Founder Robert Porterfield offered patrons admission to the theatre by bartering food and livestock. Barter Theatre was designated as the state theatre of Virginia in 1946. It exists today as one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theaters remaining in the United States. Barter Theatre is funded in part by The Virginia Commission for the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.

About AFPP
The Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights celebrates the richness of Appalachian tradition and gives audiences the unique opportunity to meet with playwrights and give feedback on locally produced works. To qualify for AFPP, plays must have been written by an Appalachian playwright or be set in the Appalachian region but cannot have been published or have had a full professional production.


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