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Shepherdstown naed I top 17 ‘Amazing Theater Cities’

By Staff | Jun 20, 2014

On a list of “amazing” theater cities and towns from around the globe, Shepherdstown-the home of the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University (CATF)-was ranked 13out of 17 by PolicyMic, an online news journal based out of New York City.

The list, released around the 2014 Tony Awards, analyzed theater destinations outside of New York and London. Shepherdstown was by far the smallest-by population-city on the list, which included renowned destinations such as Edinburgh, Scotland; Bogota, Colombia; Tokyo, Japan; and Melbourne, Australia. Other cities in the United States making the list were Houston, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; Charleston, South Carolina; and Williamstown, Massachusetts. It named Athens, Greece as its top pick, a city with over 148 dedicated theater stages.

While Shepherdstown-and in fact the entire State of West Virginia-boasts far few stages than Athens, it continues to generate national and international buzz, and tourism dollars, due to the annual CATF season of new American plays. The complete list, compiled by Elyssa Goldberg, can be found at: www.policymic.com/articles/90527/17-amazing-theater-cities-that-aren-t-london-or-new-york

At the same time, the website TRAVEL PULSE included CATF in its “Five Performing Arts Festivals You Must Visit” compilation-with the Theater Festival the only representative from the United States. The others included were in Scotland, Lebanon, China, and Australia. www.travelpulse.com/news/features/5-performing-arts-festivals-you-must-visit.html

Last month, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg began his article on “Summer Theater Festivals Worth Seeing” by discussing CATF, its 2014 season, and Shepherdstown, calling the work “cutting edge” and “acclaimed.” petergreenberg.com/2014/05/23/2014-summer-theater-festivals/

“CATF receives audiences from 37 states and nations from around the globe,” said Managing Director James McNeel, “and obviously it is flattering and rewarding to be included in these types of lists. It’s a testament to the caliber of the plays we produce each summer, of course, but also to the local community that welcomes our visitors to West Virginia. Shepherdstown is a wonderful place to live and work, and, obviously, a terrific attraction for folks to visit and enjoy.”

CATF will present its 24th season July 11 August 3, 2014 and feature five new plays in rotating repertory, along with stage readings, a lecture series, workshops and classes, art exhibitions, and audience/artist engagement activities. Complete information along with ticket options are available via www.catf.org or by calling 800/999-CATF. Social media connections (#catf) can be made at twitter.com/thinktheater and facebook.com/CATFatSU.