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Shepherdstown Connect: CATF to feature local businesses in virtual tours

By Staff | May 22, 2020

The Contemporary American Theater Festival ran the play "The Cake" during its 28th season. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Since the Contemporary American Theater Festival announced its decision to reschedule its 30th anniversary celebration and season to July 2021, its staff and board members have been considering the impact of the postponed season on the festival and Shepherdstown at-large.

On May 11, CATF Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen announced that the festival is planning on virtually highlighting Shepherdstown’s business community in July, to insure festival goers will keep the entire festival experience in mind. This event, called Shepherdstown Connect, will complement the festival’s previously-announced plans to hold its play-focused virtual experience on July 10-12, CATF Unmuted.

“We want to extend our outreach to the business community in Shepherdstown in general,” McKowen said. “Our goal is to highlight the part of the experience of the festival that includes going to your favorite restaurant and shopping at your favorite store. We want our audiences, whether they are here or not, to be reminded of that part of the festival and to want to come back here as soon as they can.”

According to McKowen, Shepherdstown Connect will feature videos being uploaded to the festival’s social media pages every Wednesday and Friday in July, which will feature happy hours from local restaurants and the interiors and inventory of other local businesses. Some portions of the events will be live-streamed, while other parts will be pre-recorded, based on practicality and the preferences of business owners.

“We want to do live chat with it, and as we talk to each business, whatever they would like to do, we would like to help them sell and create this spot to share information about these businesses online with everybody,” McKowen said. “There might be a chef who wants to take us into the kitchen and make us an entree or a bartender who would like to make us a drink or a shop that would like to take us into their business and show what is on sale right now. It will all depend on who is willing to participate in this and if shooting the video will require health codes.”

Each virtual event will be about 40 minutes in length, based upon current estimates if all of Shepherdstown’s businesses agree to participate in the series. More than one business will be featured in each event, to ensure all of Shepherdstown’s businesses will have the chance to be included.

“When you start to look at the list of businesses in Shepherdstown, it’s long! There are a lot of places we would like to include,” McKowen said. “We at CATF will do it as if we are going into these as our favorite places to visit in Shepherdstown. We look at this as a new opportunity for us to engage with our audience, sponsors and community.

“We really believe that the Contemporary American Theater Festival is a destination experience, and the Shepherdstown community is so much a part of what people expect from this experience,” McKowen said. “We couldn’t do this without the Shepherdstown community involved.”

To learn more, visit www.catf.org.