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Contemporary American Theater Festival Announces 2020 Season

Contemporary American Theater Festival Announces 2020 Season

"What is at stake?" This is what Ed Herendeen, Founder and Producing Director of the Contemporary American Theater Festival is asking himself after reflecting on the Festival's 2020 season. "Our future," he concludes simply.

One of the six plays being produced at the professional theater this summer is Victor Lesniewski's The Fifth Domain. Using his background in engineering, network security, and cryptography, Lesniewski explores the unintended and uncharted dangers of cybersecurity.

"This script is thrilling. It is going to keep audiences on the edges of their seats," Herendeen enthusiastically shares. "Victor's play is extremely relevant to contemporary society."

Caridad Svich's Ushuaia Blue is equally relevant. Set in Argentina and Antarctica, Ushuaia Blue warns of the repercussions of our deteriorating climate and the emotional toll that climate grief is taking on humanity.

Herendeen reports that Svich was inspired by interviews with marine biologist James McClintock, author of Lost Antarctica - Adventures in a Disappearing Land. "Caridad has created a romantic and poetic story wrapped in the world that's crumbling around us."

"What's at stake if we don't take action? The Fifth Domain puts a spotlight on our national security. Ushuaia Blue demands we take action to preserve the environment."

"The other plays this season beg us to pay attention to government accountability, incarceration, genetic manipulation, racism, homelessness, freedom, and more. I'm excited to have conversations with the audiences about the potent and relevant themes in these plays," Herendeen concludes.

Since 1991, CATF has been producing high-quality and vibrant new plays that attract audiences from around the country and around the globe to Shepherdstown. This year is no exception. The Contemporary American Theater Festival includes six plays in rotating repertory: the world premiere of Terence Anthony's The House of the Negro Insane; the second production of Kevin Artigue's Sheepdog; the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Jacqueline Goldfinger's Babel; the world premiere of Whitelisted by returning CATF playwright favorite, Chisa Hutchinson (The Wedding Gift and Dead and Breathing); the world premiere of Victor Lesniewski's The Fifth Domain; and the world premiere of Caridad Svich's Ushuaia Blue.

The 2020 season of the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University will take place July 10 - August 2, with previews July 5 - 9. Tickets range from $22 to $67, including discounts for West Virginia residents, seniors, students, and active and retired military. Rep Passes, subscriptions to four, five, or six shows, will be available on March 9. Single tickets will be available on April 13. For more information about the Contemporary American Theater Festival and to learn about all of the plays in the Festival's season, visit

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