Barter Theatre has announced the winners of the 2012 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP) that was held July 6-July 13. The top honor goes to "Hanging Mary" by Matthew Carlton and will be featured as the 2013 mini-production at Barter Theatre next summer. Based on the true events that led to an elephant being hanged for murder in Erwin, Tennessee, in1916, "Hanging Mary" explores issues of justice, prejudice and fear that led to this absurdly tragic and dark chapter in East Tennessee history.
Second place went to Douglas M. Parker with "Thicker Than Water." Based on the Andrea Yates story in which she drowned her five young children in the bathtub of their family home, Parker's play explores themes of madness, motives, and the media.
"Half A World Away" by Ruth Tyndall Baker took third place and will be presented in 2013 as part of Barter's Shaping of America Series. Last year, Barter introduced this additional new play development series focusing on the questions, "Who are we as a nation, where did we come from and how did we get here?" The year 2025 marks the 250th anniversary of the founding of America, and Barter Theatre will investigate the shaping of our nation from its founding to its present through the development and the production of one new play per year through 2025 dedicated to these themes.
Tyndall's story focuses on a Burmese family making their way in America and what that means for Than, a seventeen-year-old boy who, while trying to navigate the pressures of family and school, must also choose his future…either invest in the promise of America or return to fight for the honor and tradition of his native Burma.
The other finalists listed alphabetically by playwright: "Buffalo Gal" by donnarkevic; "In the Night Café" by Evan Guilford-Blake; "Even Longer and Farther Away" by Chelsea Marcantel; "Thirsting by the River Gilgamesh" by Ramona Morris; and "The Boy in the Box" by Sean O'Leary. Complete descriptions of each of the 2012 AFPP plays are available at BarterTheatre.com.
"We are especially grateful for the strong turnout by the AFPP audience who's participation this year made for a greatfestival and was instrumental in helping the playwrights develop their work," said Nicholas Piper, the director of Barter's AFPP.
Barter's Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights was founded to give an authentic voice to the stories and playwrights of Appalachia. A number of AFPP plays have gone on to be developed and produced by Barter Theatre. Playwrights Ron Osborne and Catherine Bush have had great success with Barter's AFPP through their festival-winning plays, which include "First Baptist of Ivy Gap;" "Wise Women" and "My River, My Valley" (by Osborne) as well as "The Other Side of the Mountain," "Comin' Up a Storm" and "Where Trouble Sleeps" (by Bush). Each play received a full production by Barter and has gone on to enjoy successful productions at various theatres around the country.
Perhaps the most successful and recognizable shows to emerge from Barter's AFPP are two musicals: "Keep on the Sunny Side: The Songs and Story of the Original Carter Family" and "Man of Constant Sorrow," the show that pays tribute to the careers of the Stanley brothers; Ralph and Carter.Both shows were written by local physician Douglas Pote and have been produced at theatres across the country in addition to receiving national tours by Barter. Barter's original cast recordings, which have been distributed internationally, have brought the attention of these works to countless others.
Barter's AFPP is an annual event. "Barter's audience for this festival and playwrights' participation continue to grow each year and we are already excited about next year's festival," Piper said.
For more information on submitting plays, contact AFPP Director NicholasPiper at (276) 619-3316, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bartertheatre.com/festival.
Barter Theatre. With its unique beginnings during the Great Depression, Barter Theatre, one of this nation's oldest professional non-profit theatres, is located in beautiful historic Abingdon, Virginia. Barter Theatre is a theatre of firsts: one of this nation's first professional regional theatres, the first professional theatre to be designated a state theatre – The State Theatre of Virginia and more. Today, Barter offers a variety of musicals, classics, comedies, dramas and new southern and Appalachian plays performed February – December yearly on two stages: Barter Theatre and Barter Stage II. Barter Theatre continues to be one of the nation's most vibrant and exciting professional theatre experiences.
Pictured: Nicholas Piper and Hannah Ingram during Barter's Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights.