Friday Phone Call # 67
Artistic Director Ed Herendeen of Contemporary American Theater Festival
Today my guest is Ed Herendeen, Artistic Director of the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The Festival is gearing up for its 24th season dedicated to a rotating repertory approach to new American plays. There are a number of remarkable elements to this Festival, which I've attended a number of times over the years. One outstanding feature is the community in which it is taking place. Besides being a beautiful and historic part of the country, it is also a town of 800 people that is supporting the expanding ambition of both Ed and the CATF. You can feel the immediacy CATF has in the town from the moment you get out of your car. It is something like Ashland or the Shaw Festival but on the scale of a truly small town. Having grown up in rural settings myself, I know from experience how intimate that is and I'm interested in Ed's experience of programming a new works festival in that context. I'm also interested in the impact of rotating rep on the process of premiering new work, and he speaks of that here. And I'm interested in how the Festival grows and sustains both him and the audience, as well as how it serves contemporary American playwrights. We jump around all of that in this call. If you get interested in the stuff Ed's talking about, just go visit the festival in season— he's right out front of it and you can ask him all about it in person!
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