Appalachian Playwriting Festival

Showing September 2024 at Parkway Playhouse. This festival will feature staged readings of new plays written by Appalachian Playwrights or Playwrights that have a strong connection to Appalachia that celebrate Appalachian Culture. One script from this festival will be chosen to be produced on our stage in 2026!

2023 Festival Winner

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. Tickets on sale soon!

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 will be part of the Inland Northwest Playwriting Panel for GET LIT! 2023.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions are FREE.
  • Submissions are due no later than November 30, 2023 at 12pm EST.
  • The play must be in some way about Appalachian Culture. This means that it must include some sort of representation of the life and people of the Appalachian Region of the United States. (*See map)
  • The playwright must have a personal connection to the Appalachian Region of the United States.
  • The script must be the final version. No edits will be received at a later date.
  • The play must be a full-length script. Minimum of 1 hour, maximum 2 hours.
  • The play should feature six actors or less.
  • One entry per person. Additional entries will not be considered.
  • Plays must be unpublished and must not have had a full professional production.
  • Plays must be submitted electronically in PDF format.
  • Please note that playwrights may be asked for small edits to your script. 

Submissions open October 1, 2023 and are due by November 30, 2023 12pm EST.

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 Local Playwrights

Donate Today

Your donations will go towards producing this event and making local stories more accessible.

Join Our Team

We’re looking for festival volunteers, play readers, directors, and actors. Email us at to find out more!

Buy Tickets

Join us for our second annual Appalachian Playwriting Festival September, 2024! Tickets on sale soon!