Barter Theatre Announces Lineup for 14th Annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights

Barter Theatre Announces Lineup for 14th Annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights

Barter has a rich tradition of producing new plays, many of which have originated in this festival, known as the AFPP. This year, the festival includes readings of seven brand new Appalachian plays July 7 - 14, 2014 as well as a "mini-production" of a world-premiere musical, "Winter Wheat," July 29- August 10.

This year's festival features a diverse lineup of plays, from a time-traveling comedy adventure about a Victorian woman looking for love in the 21st Century, to a devastatingly powerful drama about an Iraq war veteran and the women in his life.

"There is not one single Appalachian story, or Appalachian voice," says AFPP Director Nicholas Piper. "The beauty of this festival is that it allows for such a wide variety of plays, and really captures the richness of our region, past and present."

The readings take place at Barter Stage II over a seven day period, and are free and open to the public. Plays are read by Barter Theatre's Resident Acting Company, and each play reading is followed by an audience discussion that can often become quite boisterous! Both the reading and the discussion are a crucial part of the new play development process, helping the playwright refine their piece.

This year's mini-production is a brand new musical, "Winter Wheat." On August 18th, 1920, the fate of the 19th Amendment-which gave women the right to vote-rested in the hands of a young Tennessee legislator with a stricken conscience and a very powerful mother.

Written by Barter's playwright in residence Catherine Bush, with music by Barter alumn Ben Mackel, this new musical runs for 8 performances from July 29th through August 10th. Tickets are on sale now.

Barter's AFPP and "Winter Wheat" are sponsored by corporate sponsors Dunkin Donuts and Roadrunner Markets and by media sponsors Virginia Living, WETS and WKPT-ABC 19. Barter Theatre is funded in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Since 1933, Barter Theatre has been developing new works and nurturing area talent. The AFPP has gained national attention by developing a process that has resulted in new plays being produced not only on one of Barter's two stages, but in regional theatres across the country

"Keep on the Sunny Side," by Douglas Pote, first read at the AFPP in 2001, went on to a full production on both of Barter's two stages before touring to 23 states in 2004-05. Enjoyed by more than 100,000 people, this poignant love story about A.P. and Sara Carter has been produced by theatres throughout the country. Other AFPP hits have included "Black Pearl Sings," by Frank Higgins, "Man of Constant Sorrow," "Don't Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell," by V. Cate and Duke Ernsberger and "First Baptist of Ivy Gap," by Ron Osborne.

AFPP readings are free and open to the public. For more information call Barter's Box Office at (276) 628-3991 or visit



C.O.AL. (confessions of a liar) by David Brian Colbert

Lies, Lies, Lies. There are lies we tell ourselves, and lies we tell others--just to make it through the day. In walks one such liar... Coal. Four people, all Coal, spin this moving Southern yarn of a hard-knock childhood in a sleepy mining town. Together, they tell the daring tale that they've never been able to share, and their wild story becomes an homage to the delicate art of lying.


THE FUTURE MRS. by Nate Eppler

Tomorrow isn't what it used to be. After being married only three weeks, a young Victorian woman finds that her marriage is nothing like she imagined. She wants a love affair like she's read about in novels, but her new husband can't seem to let go of the past. She time-travels to the future to find the kind of love story she thinks she wants, but the future isn't at all what she expected. A topsy-turvy time-travelling comedy adventure.



Laura Ann has been at war with her mother and sister for years, but now that her little brother has returned from Iraq refusing to speak, will the Samuels women put aside their differences to help Hank break the silence?


THE GNOME by Isaac Rathbone

While living with his brother after a series of unfortunate events, a man uncovers a magical lawn gnome after an early spring thaw. After the Gnome grants Barry his wishes, some ugly and simple truths are revealed about himself, his brother, his brother's wife and a woman he secretly desires. It is a story of family, greed, snow and department stores.


SORROW'S END by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer

Eric doesn't do exit counselings anymore. That is, he didn't until today, when Peter and Sue Walsh have arranged a meeting to help get their son Isaiah out of a cult. But all is not what it seems in this unique coming of age story of family, loss, and responsibility.


CONSUMED by Chris Widney

In 1935, tuberculosis claims the lives of one out of every seven people. Thousands go to sanatoriums to sit perfectly still on porches in the freezing cold hoping to heal, waiting to die. But in upstate New York quick-talking, swing dancing party girl, Betty McCracken, is bound to get people living again!


SALT by Robert McKinney

In October of 1864, a Union cavalry unit makes its way towards Saltville in what will become one of the most infamous massacres of the war. Along the way, they enlist a slave running north to freedom to escape his past. But the past is never far behind as both men and women are put to the test and about to discover who's worth their salt.

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