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Lizan Mitchell and N.L. Graham in "Dead & Breathing" by Chisa Hutchinson at the Contemporary American Theater Festival. (Photo by Seth Freeman)

Contemporary American Theater Festival Sets 2016 Lineup

The West Virginia theatre’s annual summer festival will include world premieres by Allison Gregory, Chisa Hutchinson, and Susan Miller.

SHEPERDSTOWN, W. VA.: The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University has announced its 2016 summer lineup. The festival (July 8–31) will feature five plays in repertory, including three world premieres. This year’s playwrights will be by Christina Anderson, Allison Gregory, Chisa Hutchinson, Susan Miller, and Ronan Noone.

“Selecting a new repertory is a powerful social art,” producing director Ed Herendeen said in a statement. “I seek plays that are designed to provoke, instigate, disturb, and ultimately entertain. I seek new works that come from a place of passion and conviction about society’s hopes and fears…plays that probe the complexities of our world.”

Christina Anderson’s pen/man/ship will be directed by Lucie Tiberghien. In this maritime epic set in 1896, an exhibition to Africa leads to the revealing of family secrets.

Not Medea by Allison Gregory will receive a National New Play Network rolling world premiere. It will be directed by Courtney Sale. Not Medea follows the actions of a working mother after she goes to the theatre only to see a play she did not want to watch.

May Adrales will direct Chisa Hutchinson’s The Wedding Gift. The comedy is about a man who finds himself at a wedding, as the gift.

The world premiere of Susan Miller’s 20th Century Blues will be directed by Herendeen. The play is about four women, who bond in jail after a 1970s protest rally and reunite once a year for a photoshoot. However, relationships are challenged when the photographs have the possibility of being entered into a public exhibit.

Ronan Noone’s The Second Girl uses Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night as a backdrop, setting it in the Tyrone family’s summer home in 1912 but told through the eyes of the servants.

The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University was founded in 1991 by Herendeen. It is an annual summer festival that produces world premieres and new work in its second or third productions.

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