West Virginia
Contemporary American Theater Festival
Enjoy six theater productions in the oldest town in West Virginia, meet actors and staff, hear lectures and head back-stage to learn the story of this historic theater town.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 21893RJ
6 days
Starts at
Getting There
See travel details and required documents

At a Glance

There’s a lot of history in Shepherdstown — after all, it’s the oldest town in West Virginia — but as a college town it’s also a place inspired by fresh thinking and new ideas. For a quarter-century, it’s been home to the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University — a professional League of Resident Theatres (LORT D) affiliated theater company featuring talented artists from across the country. Spend a week in July on the cutting edge of American dramatic arts as you attend productions of the newest plays written for today’s audiences. Experience provocative and challenging content that delves into modern themes of politics, religion, gender, race, diversity and everything in between. See four new plays during your adventure, attend a stage reading of another and take part in exciting discussions and behind-the-scenes activities with actors and festival staff.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking less than one mile, standing for 30 minutes at most.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Attend six exciting performances and a reading in one week, and discuss dramatic themes and the production process with actors and staff members.
  • Explore beautiful Shepherdstown and nearby Harper’s Ferry with an expert to trace their history from Colonial times up through the Civil War to today.
  • Get involved in fantastic workshops on writing for the theater, acting and directing plays, and go backstage at performance venues.

General Notes

Please note, that this is a contemporary theater festival and some plays may include strong language as well as challenging, provocative or suggestive content.
Featured Expert
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Peggy McKowen
Peggy McKowen loves to share her passion for theater with learners of all ages. She has taught theater and humanities at numerous colleges including Shepherd University and Dickinson College, as well as at West Virginia University where she was chair of the Division of Theater and Dance for five years. In recognition of her work as both theater designer and administrator, Peggy has recently been featured in Live Design and Wonderful West Virginia magazines. Her production work has been featured in American Theater magazine, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Peggy is a member of the Shepherdstown Rotary Club and the Arts Advisory Council for Hagerstown Community College, and directed the Antietam Remembrance walk. She holds an MFA from the University of Texas-Austin and is a member of United Scenic Artists 829.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Peggy McKowen
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