Showing September 20-22, 2024 at Parkway Playhouse. This festival will feature staged readings of new plays written by Appalachian Playwrights or plays that celebrate Appalachian Culture. One script from this festival will be chosen to be produced in our Mainstage Season!

2024 FESTIVAL SELECTION

CHEEK BY JOWL
BY EMILY MCCLAIN

Family loyalties, long-hidden secrets, and the freeing power of finally telling the truth are explored in this dark comedy. Roger McElroy wrote an incredibly successful novel 30 years ago and has not published anything since. When he comes home from the hospital after suffering a sudden heart attack, his three adult children try to convince him to sell the isolated mountain cabin where he’s lived all their lives. Their frustrations at Roger’s refusal to take his failing health seriously cause escalating arguments which bring out an accusation by the eldest son that he does not believe Roger is the true author of his famous novel.

Emily McClain is a professional playwright, theatre educator, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. Born in Oxford, Mississippi, she currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she teaches theatre at School of the Arts @ Central Gwinnett. Her play Slaying Holofernes was co-winner of Essential Theatre’s New Play Festival and received a world premiere production in 2019. Her full length comedy Julie’s Place was selected for the JOOK-MS Spotlight Series in July 2020 and went on to be a semi-finalist with the New American Voices with The Landing Theatre Company. Her Risk Theatre play Children of the Combs and Watch Chains was named a finalist for the Risk Theatre International Competition in August 2020 and was produced by the Quarantine Players in February 2021. She was a recipient of a Stripped Bare grant in 2021 for her play What the Water Gave Me, which went on to receive the William Faulkner Literary Prize in 2022. Her historical drama Copper Angel was the winner of the Texas Nonprofit Theatre competition in 2022 and received a world premiere production in Bourne, Texas in 2023. Recently, her play The Rock & The Hard Place won the Essential Theatre New Play award for 2024. Her short plays have been produced throughout the United States and internationally. She’s published through Next Stage Press and more of her work may be found on New Play Exchange.

BLOODLETTING IN THESE HILLS
BY WALTER THINNES

More than 7,500 strikers walked out of more than 90 mines in the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek coal fields of West Virginia during the bloody 1912-1914 labor war. Bloodletting in These Hills is the story of one family caught in the crosshairs of that struggle.

Walter Thinnes is an emerging playwright whose thirty-plus plays have received more than 125 productions, readings, or awards in 26 states, and around the world, including The Kennedy Center, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Conference, and several Off-Off-Off-Broadway Theaters. He is currently located in Central Florida and you can find some of his scripts at www.newplayexchange.org. He is the recipient of the Colonial Players’ Promising Playwright Award, Annapolis, MD; Theatre Oxford L.W. Thomas Award, Oxford MS; Appalachian New Play Festival Judge’s Choice Award, Athens, OH; and winner of the Centre-Stage New Play Festival in Greenville, SC. You can discover more at www.walterthinnes.com.

BOOTH #99
BY GEORGE PFEFFER

Jim is a first-time vendor, almost by accident, at a two-day Appalachian crafts festival and is feeling insecure. He has varied interactions with customers, festival officials, a reporter, and other vendors – one of whom is offended by a particular carved rock of Jim’s. And some people talk to a potter who died on site a few years ago.

George is honored to be a participant in the Appalachian Playwriting Festival. In the past, he wrote plays that were produced by a local theater in Concord, NC. He most recently appeared in The Red Velvet Cake War and Black Comedy at Parkway Playhouse and had a great time with the cast, crew, directors, and staff. George has acted at the Old Courthouse Theatre in Concord, NC, and Theatre Charlotte. He also served on the Board, including as chair, of the Old Courthouse Theatre. A former professor of Chemistry, he was given the chance to teach theater to middle and high school students and did so for 11 years until he moved to the North Carolina mountains. George and the students picked the plays together and he directed all of the performances each year. It was a delight to see his students develop and do well as actors.

2024 DIRECTORS

Daniel Moore

Daniel Moore

CHEEK BY JOWL DIRECTOR

Daniel Moore is a Mars Hill-based Actor and Director who studied theatre at Greensboro College. Some of his most recent acting credits include; Joe Buck Allen in A Southern Appalachian Christmas at Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre and Hames Blonde in Splatter Play at The Magnetic Theatre. He was an actor and director for the dramatic series How to be a Human, or at Least Try at North Carolina Stage Company. He had happily served the Parkway Playhouse organization for over a decade in various roles including intern, actor, designer, director, and teacher.

Erika Tyner

Erika Tyner

BLOODLETTING IN THESE HILLS DIRECTOR

Erika has been working in the public school arena as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher for 17 years. As an educator, Erika has been named Teacher of the Year for her county, awarded National Board Certification, participated in the NC Governor’s Teacher Network, and spent a year as an Educational Policy Fellow. Over the past few years, Erika has enjoyed directing shows for Parkway Playhouse and writing plays for her drama students to perform in showcases and summer camps.

Elizabeth DeVault

Elizabeth DeVault

BOOTH #99 DIRECTOR

Elizabeth DeVault is an actor, singer, director, and voice artist in the Asheville area. She holds degrees in Vocal Performance (MM, U of SC 2013) and Theatre (MA, Regent University 2019). Recent performing credits include Hamlet (Rosencrantz) and Wendy & Peter (Mrs. Darling/Panther Protea) at Montford Park Players, and Let Me Down Easy with Ovation Theatre. As a stage director, recent credits include Little Women, OTMA, One Act Festival 2023 (The Magnetic Theatre), and Young Frankenstein (Hendersonville Theatre). She is also on the directing team for Henry IV Pt. 1 & 2 in Montford Park Players’ 2024 season. Outside of the theatre world, Elizabeth is a voice artist, primarily narrating audiobooks.

MINISTER OF SORROW

Our 2023 Appalachian Playwriting Festival winner is Minister of Sorrow written by Pam Kingsley and directed by Noah Stout! This play will be fully produced on the Parkway Playhouse stage on May 17-19, 2024. Click here to grab your tickets!

ABOUT MINISTER OF SORROW

It is 1937. Emma is a pack-saddle librarian who came to her calling by way of a painful route. We learn of her life as she shares some of her favorite people in stories.

ABOUT PAM KINGSLEY

Pamela Kingsley’s plays have been produced by theatres around the U.S., most recently in Boston, Cleveland, Columbia (MO), Kansas City, Los Angeles, Louisville, New Haven, NYC, the State University of New York (Brockport), Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Spokane. Her play Mother’s Day was a 2019 finalist for the James Stevenson Prize for Short Comedic Plays and won the “Audience Choice Award” at the 31st Playwrights’ Forum Festival in the Pacific Northwest. In October 2021, Pam had three new works selected for Stage Left Theater’s “Masterpiece Monologues” series. Pam was then commissioned to write and subsequently performed a solo piece, Sleepwalking, which was featured in the EMPOWER WOMEN Festival at Stage Left and streamed online. Sleepwalking was also selected for Irondale Ensemble’s 2022 ON WOMEN Festival – New Media Library (NYC). The play was streamed online and received an Audience Pick award. In June 2022, Pam’s plays Finding Mother Courage and Boxes were selected for the 32nd Playwrights’ Forum Festival. Boxes won the “Audience Choice Award.” Both The Sitting and Boxes will be produced as part of TheatreWorks NAPAC 2023 Humanity Festival in greater Louisville. Pam holds a BFA in Theatre Performance and MA in Theatre Education. She was a part of the Inland Northwest Playwriting Panel for GET LIT! 2023.

OUR MISSION

When Parkway Playhouse was founded in 1947, it was founded out of a love of theater and dedication to education as college students joined together from around the nation here in our mountain town to produce high-quality productions each summer.

What they found here was not only the knowledge of how to create wonderful theater; but also, farmers harvesting crops at the end of each season, teaching them the value of hard work; potters, quilters, and cloggers showing them the power art can have on a community; and a town thriving in the Blue Ridge Mountains because of the people that cherish it and each other, teaching them how to be good neighbors.

Students from all those years ago and the audiences who pass through our doors today all found a special feeling of community here at Parkway Playhouse. The secret ingredient? Our home. The impact of our people and our location here in the Appalachian Mountains is keenly felt in our theater.

Appalachia is defined as a cultural region in the Eastern United States that stretches from the southern tier of New York State to northern Alabama and Georgia. It’s an area rich in tradition, ideals, and culture. The Appalachian Playwriting Festival is a celebration of Appalachian Culture. It is a preservation of the stories, people and traditions that make our community so wonderful. This festival is an opportunity to give back by offering a microphone to those voices telling the stories of our home and heart.

Each year submitted plays by Appalachian playwrights will be read by a committee of local community members and theater industry professionals, and the favorite select handful will be given staged readings. These previously unpublished works will all celebrate Appalachian Culture. The readings will be adjudicated and the winning script will be fully produced on our stage. Appalachian stories deserve to be told and we’re so excited to provide this opportunity for those with stories to tell.

DONATE

Your donations help us produce this event, pay artists, and connect with our community. Click here to donate today. 

JOIN OUR TEAM

We’re looking for festival volunteers, musicians, readers, and more! Email us at [email protected] to get the conversation started!

BUY TICKETS

Your attendance at this event means we can produce more events like this in the future. Keep an eye out, tickets will go on sale soon!

Showing September 20-22, 2024 at Parkway Playhouse. This festival will feature staged readings of new plays written by Appalachian Playwrights or plays that celebrate Appalachian Culture. One script from this festival will be chosen to be produced in our Mainstage Season!

2024 FESTIVAL SELECTION

CHEEK BY JOWL
BY EMILY MCCLAIN

Family loyalties, long-hidden secrets, and the freeing power of finally telling the truth are explored in this dark comedy. Roger McElroy wrote an incredibly successful novel 30 years ago and has not published anything since. When he comes home from the hospital after suffering a sudden heart attack, his three adult children try to convince him to sell the isolated mountain cabin where he’s lived all their lives. Their frustrations at Roger’s refusal to take his failing health seriously cause escalating arguments which bring out an accusation by the eldest son that he does not believe Roger is the true author of his famous novel.

Emily McClain is a professional playwright, theatre educator, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. Born in Oxford, Mississippi, she currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she teaches theatre at School of the Arts @ Central Gwinnett. Her play Slaying Holofernes was co-winner of Essential Theatre’s New Play Festival and received a world premiere production in 2019. Her full length comedy Julie’s Place was selected for the JOOK-MS Spotlight Series in July 2020 and went on to be a semi-finalist with the New American Voices with The Landing Theatre Company. Her Risk Theatre play Children of the Combs and Watch Chains was named a finalist for the Risk Theatre International Competition in August 2020 and was produced by the Quarantine Players in February 2021. She was a recipient of a Stripped Bare grant in 2021 for her play What the Water Gave Me, which went on to receive the William Faulkner Literary Prize in 2022. Her historical drama Copper Angel was the winner of the Texas Nonprofit Theatre competition in 2022 and received a world premiere production in Bourne, Texas in 2023. Recently, her play The Rock & The Hard Place won the Essential Theatre New Play award for 2024. Her short plays have been produced throughout the United States and internationally. She’s published through Next Stage Press and more of her work may be found on New Play Exchange.

BLOODLETTING IN THESE HILLS
BY WALTER THINNES

More than 7,500 strikers walked out of more than 90 mines in the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek coal fields of West Virginia during the bloody 1912-1914 labor war. Bloodletting in These Hills is the story of one family caught in the crosshairs of that struggle.

Walter Thinnes is an emerging playwright whose thirty-plus plays have received more than 125 productions, readings, or awards in 26 states, and around the world, including The Kennedy Center, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Conference, and several Off-Off-Off-Broadway Theaters. He is currently located in Central Florida and you can find some of his scripts at www.newplayexchange.org. He is the recipient of the Colonial Players’ Promising Playwright Award, Annapolis, MD; Theatre Oxford L.W. Thomas Award, Oxford MS; Appalachian New Play Festival Judge’s Choice Award, Athens, OH; and winner of the Centre-Stage New Play Festival in Greenville, SC. You can discover more at www.walterthinnes.com.

BOOTH #99
BY GEORGE PFEFFER

Jim is a first-time vendor, almost by accident, at a two-day Appalachian crafts festival and is feeling insecure. He has varied interactions with customers, festival officials, a reporter, and other vendors – one of whom is offended by a particular carved rock of Jim’s. And some people talk to a potter who died on site a few years ago.

George is honored to be a participant in the Appalachian Playwriting Festival. In the past, he wrote plays that were produced by a local theater in Concord, NC. He most recently appeared in The Red Velvet Cake War and Black Comedy at Parkway Playhouse and had a great time with the cast, crew, directors, and staff. George has acted at the Old Courthouse Theatre in Concord, NC, and Theatre Charlotte. He also served on the Board, including as chair, of the Old Courthouse Theatre. A former professor of Chemistry, he was given the chance to teach theater to middle and high school students and did so for 11 years until he moved to the North Carolina mountains. George and the students picked the plays together and he directed all of the performances each year. It was a delight to see his students develop and do well as actors.

2024 DIRECTORS

Daniel Moore

Daniel Moore

CHEEK BY JOWL DIRECTOR

Daniel Moore is a Mars Hill-based Actor and Director who studied theatre at Greensboro College. Some of his most recent acting credits include; Joe Buck Allen in A Southern Appalachian Christmas at Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre and Hames Blonde in Splatter Play at The Magnetic Theatre. He was an actor and director for the dramatic series How to be a Human, or at Least Try at North Carolina Stage Company. He had happily served the Parkway Playhouse organization for over a decade in various roles including intern, actor, designer, director, and teacher.

Erika Tyner

Erika Tyner

BLOODLETTING IN THESE HILLS DIRECTOR

Erika has been working in the public school arena as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher for 17 years. As an educator, Erika has been named Teacher of the Year for her county, awarded National Board Certification, participated in the NC Governor’s Teacher Network, and spent a year as an Educational Policy Fellow. Over the past few years, Erika has enjoyed directing shows for Parkway Playhouse and writing plays for her drama students to perform in showcases and summer camps.

Elizabeth DeVault

Elizabeth DeVault

BOOTH #99 DIRECTOR

Elizabeth DeVault is an actor, singer, director, and voice artist in the Asheville area. She holds degrees in Vocal Performance (MM, U of SC 2013) and Theatre (MA, Regent University 2019). Recent performing credits include Hamlet (Rosencrantz) and Wendy & Peter (Mrs. Darling/Panther Protea) at Montford Park Players, and Let Me Down Easy with Ovation Theatre. As a stage director, recent credits include Little Women, OTMA, One Act Festival 2023 (The Magnetic Theatre), and Young Frankenstein (Hendersonville Theatre). She is also on the directing team for Henry IV Pt. 1 & 2 in Montford Park Players’ 2024 season. Outside of the theatre world, Elizabeth is a voice artist, primarily narrating audiobooks.

2023 FESTIVAL WINNER

MINISTER OF SORROW

Our 2023 Appalachian Playwriting Festival winner is Minister of Sorrow written by Pam Kingsley and directed by Noah Stout! This play will be fully produced on the Parkway Playhouse stage on May 17-19, 2024.

ABOUT MINISTER OF SORROW

It is 1937. Emma is a pack-saddle librarian who came to her calling by way of a painful route. We learn of her life as she shares some of her favorite people in stories.

ABOUT PAM KINGSLEY

Pamela Kingsley’s plays have been produced by theatres around the U.S., most recently in Boston, Cleveland, Columbia (MO), Kansas City, Los Angeles, Louisville, New Haven, NYC, the State University of New York (Brockport), Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Spokane. Her play Mother’s Day was a 2019 finalist for the James Stevenson Prize for Short Comedic Plays and won the “Audience Choice Award” at the 31st Playwrights’ Forum Festival in the Pacific Northwest. In October 2021, Pam had three new works selected for Stage Left Theater’s “Masterpiece Monologues” series. Pam was then commissioned to write and subsequently performed a solo piece, Sleepwalking, which was featured in the EMPOWER WOMEN Festival at Stage Left and streamed online. Sleepwalking was also selected for Irondale Ensemble’s 2022 ON WOMEN Festival – New Media Library (NYC). The play was streamed online and received an Audience Pick award. In June 2022, Pam’s plays Finding Mother Courage and Boxes were selected for the 32nd Playwrights’ Forum Festival. Boxes won the “Audience Choice Award.” Both The Sitting and Boxes will be produced as part of TheatreWorks NAPAC 2023 Humanity Festival in greater Louisville. Pam holds a BFA in Theatre Performance and MA in Theatre Education. She was a part of the Inland Northwest Playwriting Panel for GET LIT! 2023.

MINISTER OF SORROW

Written by Pam Kingsley
Directed by Noah Stout

Showing May 17-19, 2024

OUR MISSION

When Parkway Playhouse was founded in 1947, it was founded out of a love of theater and dedication to education as college students joined together from around the nation here in our mountain town to produce high-quality productions each summer.

What they found here was not only the knowledge of how to create wonderful theater; but also, farmers harvesting crops at the end of each season, teaching them the value of hard work; potters, quilters, and cloggers showing them the power art can have on a community; and a town thriving in the Blue Ridge Mountains because of the people that cherish it and each other, teaching them how to be good neighbors.

Students from all those years ago and the audiences who pass through our doors today all found a special feeling of community here at Parkway Playhouse. The secret ingredient? Our home. The impact of our people and our location here in the Appalachian Mountains is keenly felt in our theater.

Appalachia is defined as a cultural region in the Eastern United States that stretches from the southern tier of New York State to northern Alabama and Georgia. It’s an area rich in tradition, ideals, and culture. The Appalachian Playwriting Festival is a celebration of Appalachian Culture. It is a preservation of the stories, people and traditions that make our community so wonderful. This festival is an opportunity to give back by offering a microphone to those voices telling the stories of our home and heart.

Each year submitted plays by Appalachian playwrights will be read by a committee of local community members and theater industry professionals, and the favorite select handful will be given staged readings. These previously unpublished works will all celebrate Appalachian Culture. The readings will be adjudicated and the winning script will be fully produced on our stage. Appalachian stories deserve to be told and we’re so excited to provide this opportunity for those with stories to tell.

SUPPORT APPALACHIAN STORIES

DONATE

Your donations help us produce this event, pay artists, and connect with our community. Click here to donate today. 

JOIN OUR TEAM

We’re looking for festival volunteers, musicians, readers, and more! Email us at [email protected] to get the conversation started!

BUY TICKETS

Your attendance at this event means we can produce more events like this in the future. Keep an eye out, tickets will go on sale soon!

“I found the whole festival experience wonderful and am particularly grateful to Cheyenne, Marci, Jaquie, and Mara for your warm welcome and support of my play. Parkway Playhouse is a powerhouse.”

Nedra Pezold Roberts

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Playwright (2023)

“I loved the people I worked with and how we talked in depth about the show.”

Faith Creech

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Performer

“I had such a blast this past weekend, and it was wonderful getting to meet all of you. I also fell quite in love with the town of Burnsville. Thank you again for making it such a fantastic experience.”

Kyle R. Thomas

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Playwright & Playwriting Workshop Host (2023)

“It means a great deal to me to know that Minister of Sorrow has found a wonderful home away from home at Parkway Playhouse and will be produced.”

Pam Kingsley

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Winner (2023)

“I found the whole festival experience wonderful and am particularly grateful to Cheyenne, Marci, Jaquie, and Mara for your warm welcome and support of my play. Parkway Playhouse is a powerhouse.”

Nedra Pezold Roberts

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Playwright (2023)

“I loved the people I worked with and how we talked in depth about the show.”

Faith Creech

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Performer

“I had such a blast this past weekend, and it was wonderful getting to meet all of you. I also fell quite in love with the town of Burnsville. Thank you again for making it such a fantastic experience.”

Kyle R. Thomas

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Playwright & Playwriting Workshop Host (2023)

“It means a great deal to me to know that Minister of Sorrow has found a wonderful home away from home at Parkway Playhouse and will be produced.”

Pam Kingsley

Appalachian Playwriting Festival Winner (2023)