Barter Theatre believes in nurturing new playwrights and developing new works. Explore opportunities to foster new works at Barter Theatre.
Barter Theatre Playwriting Festivals
Nicholas Piper | Director of New Play Development
Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP)
This annual festival celebrates the richness of the Appalachian tradition by showcasing the stories of the region, both past and present, and the inspiration it provides the writers who live here.
Since 1933, Barter Theatre has been developing new works and nurturing area talent. The AFPP has gained national attention by developing a process that has resulted in new plays being produced not only on Barter’s stages, but in regional theatres across the country.
The Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights is made possible by the generous support of Bert Bach along with Henry and Flora Joy.
- Seven plays are chosen from the submissions to be given public readings by Barter’s company.
- The playwrights are given travel, housing, and a stipend for the week.
- The plays are cast out of Barter’s Resident Acting Company. Each play will be given 6-8 hours of rehearsal time. The directors are instructed to direct for clarity not effect. Our goal for the reading is that script/story/relationships are illuminated. These readings are about getting your story out there.
- After each reading, a panel made up of three regional theatre professionals will give a few thoughts on the piece with the AFPP director moderating the discussion. After that, we engage with the audience for their comments so that playwrights can get feedback from three separate groups: artists, panelists, and audience.
- Playwrights have found this to be a very useful step in developing their plays, as well as a nice little vacation/writer’s retreat with a chance to meet other playwrights, make new friends, and enjoy the beauty of Southwest Virginia!
Plays must be written by an Appalachian playwright (currently living in a state that contains the Appalachian Mountain Range— which, for our purposes, run from New York to Alabama.)
The plays must be set in the Appalachian region.
Plays must be unpublished and must not have had a full professional production.
Plays must be full length.
Plays must be submitted electronically.
Please send play and a brief synopsis to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to congratulate and thank all the playwrights for a very successful 2020 AFPP
Nedra Pezold Roberts (They Must Be Women Now)
Catherine Bush (Charlottesville)
Bret Murphy (In the Middle of Nowhere)
Taylor Hatch (Project X)
Emily Emerson (The Field)
Hannah Hartmann (Nightjar)
Augusto Amador (The Quiet Zone)
AFPP Black In Appalachia Initiative
In an effort to give voice to the more diverse stories of our region, Barter is committed to presenting at least one play written by a Black Appalachian playwright at each annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. We intend this to be a first step in ensuring that ALL Appalachians will be represented on our stages.
Playwright must be Black.
Plays must be written by an Appalachian playwright or the plays must be set in the Appalachian Region. See here for list of qualifying states/counties as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission: https://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/CountiesinAppalachia.asp
Plays must be full length.
Plays must be unpublished and not have had a professional production.
Plays must be submitted electronically.
Please submit plays to: email@example.com
Submission deadline for Barter's Black In Appalachia Initiative: October 1st, 2020
College Playwriting Festival (CFP)
Barter Theatre’s College Playwrights Festival is a one-act playwriting festival dedicated to celebrating college undergraduate playwrights by giving them an opportunity to develop their work in a professional environment. Participants spend time with professionals here at Barter Theatre and the final event is open and free to the public.
Barter’s College Playwriting Festival is made possible by the generous support of Bert Bach and Henry and Flora Joy.
Each participating college submits plays from their students to the festival. A panel of Barter Theatre professionals reads each play, chooses the top six plays, and the selected plays have public readings during the Festival.
The top six playwrights will have:
- One-on-one mentorship with a Barter professional before the festival to work on their play
- The opportunity to be present at all rehearsals of their play during the Festival
- Talkbacks with playwrights of the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights, Barter professionals, and mentors
Each playwright must be sponsored by a teacher from their school. This simply means that the teacher has read the play and thinks it is ready to submit. A teacher may sponsor as many students as they wish.
Each play must include a completed submission form, cover page, and character list. Each play should be between 30-50 minutes and a maximum of six (6) actors per play will be cast (if doubling can occur, please notate in character description page).
No adaptations and no musicals. Playwrights can write about any topic they choose, but it must be an original piece.
Submissions will be accepted from undergraduate playwrights who attend colleges and universities in the states of Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi.
All play submissions must include the submission form below and be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions must be received by November 1, 2020. Please note: this is not a postmark date, but a received date; late submissions will not be accepted. Winners will be notified by mid-December.
Young Playwrights Festival (YPF)
The Young Playwrights Festival is an annual event that cultivates and celebrates the talent of high school students. The purpose of this Festival is to encourage the development of students’ writing skills and creativity, with the added benefit of discovering talented playwrights in our region.
Barrett Guyton, YPF Coordinator
Teachers must attend at least one workshop in which Barter professionals give them the tools for teaching playwriting to their students.
After receiving classroom instruction on playwriting, students develop plays and submit them to a select group of Barter professionals for feedback and critique. The plays are not to exceed 10 minutes in length.
The three winning plays are lightly staged at Barter Theatre by professional actors, and the five honorable mention plays are given a reading.
Schools are invited to a morning performance of the plays, where students have the chance to see their peers’ work. A nighttime performance, awards ceremony and reception is open to the public.
Writers of the top three plays receive cash prizes and a mentoring session with a Barter professional, which allows the students to have valuable one-on-one time with experts in the field of theatre and playwriting. The first-place student’s teacher receives two tickets to any performance at Barter Theatre.
Winners work with Barter professionals to enhance and or lengthen their plays. Awards are presented each year to the winning students and schools.