About CATF

The Contemporary American Theater Festival is dedicated to producing and developing new American theater. Our goal is to: sustain an artistic process of innovation and daring, tell diverse stories, and to create a profound and ever evolving relationship between the audience and the work.

CATF’s commitment to new work is an annual festival of new plays by American playwrights, most often premieres or second or third productions. This year we invite you to thinkfive as we will again offer FIVE new plays in rotating repertory.  CATF focuses on plays that deal with contemporary issues that boldly challenge and entertain audiences.

CATF is located in the historic and beautiful town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, just an hour and a half from Washington, DC and Baltimore. CATF is in residence on the campus of Shepherd University. Shepherd University, a fully accredited public institution of higher education founded in 1871 and located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, offers a wide variety of distinguished degree programs and other learning opportunities to both traditional and nontraditional students. The university attracts students from the region, the nation, and beyond.


CATF is one of the most vital new play development centers in the country. Since 1991, CATF has produced 68 new plays, including 23 world premieres. Adventurous audiences from 32 states and the District of Columbia and Canada have attended the Theater Festival’s productions. The plays are professionally produced using Actors’ Equity Association’s LORT D contract; CATF operates under agreements from AEA, United Scenic Artists, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Reviews and articles have appeared in a variety of media venues including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, and the Chicago Tribune.