Minister of Sorrow, showing May 17-19, 2024 here at Parkway Playhouse, was the winner of our 2023 Appalachian Playwriting Festival and shares the moving story of Emma, a pack saddle librarian in the 1930s who travels across Appalachia to deliver books to patrons. We sat down with Minister of Sorrow director Noah Stout to talk more about this production!

What’s your favorite part of this show and why?

One word: culture. The culture this story brings into the light is that of the “mountain folk”. The story is about those people who society forgets about way up in the country where dirt roads and hairpin turns are a common occurrence. I’ve lived in the south my whole life and there are very few pieces of media that truly capture the essence of Appalachian life. My favorite part of this story is that it doesn’t feel or look or sound like a show. It’s. A. Story.

What about this show do you think will stick with audiences?

The performances from Alesa and Marty are world-class. A one-man symphony that takes your mind and heart on an adventure through the mountains with just the strum of a dulcimer and the picking of a banjo. Marty is a man with otherworldly talent and humility.

A woman who spent her whole life enriching the lives of people around her with STORIES. When this particular story begins it transports us to a simpler time of sitting in a log while our elders told us stories of grandeur. Alesa is a true heart and soul Appalachian.

Are you excited to be the first creative team fully producing this show? Tell us more about that experience!

Absolutely! The story provided by Pam Kingsley will enthrall the audiences like nothing else this season. It is written for US. As the inaugural winner of the Appalachian Playwriting Festival, and we are so proud to bring these pages to life.

What have you loved about working on this production?

The “jam session” approach we’ve taken with the production. Ideas flying everywhere cooperatively. Many of our rehearsals have run late simply from sitting under the learning tree of two of the greatest performers in the area. Alesa is full of stories, knowledge, and experience. She takes up the whole room when the stories get going and THAT is showcased in this story and on stage. It truly is a must-see event. You will be kicking yourself for years to come if you aren’t front and center when the lights dim.

Tickets for Minister of Sorrow are available now. Find out more here: