Barter Theatre, in Abingdon, Virginia, is located in the southwest corner of the commonwealth, in the heart of Appalachia.
One of Barter’s core beliefs is service to our audience, and to that end, back in 2000, we created the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP). The AFPP solicits plays that are either set in Appalachia, or plays from playwrights who live in Appalachia (as defined by this A.R.C. link).
Over the years we have not received many plays about the Black experience in Appalachia, and in an effort to address this, we have created our Black in Appalachia Initiative – a plan to actively seek out plays by Black Appalachian playwrights. Here’s the link to information about the Festival: https://bartertheatre.com/playwriting-festivals/#AFPP
The AFPP Process
Plays are submitted to Barter and read blind. A panel picks the top 12, and from there another panel picks the top 6 or 7. At our festival in January, the plays are read in front of an audience by Barter’s resident acting company, a panel gives feedback, the audience gives feedback, and one or two of the plays are chosen for further development – either another reading, or often a place in a future Barter season. For our Black in Appalachia Initiative, we are dedicating at LEAST one slot in the Festival to Black Appalachian playwrights, but we’d love it if there were even more.