When Eastern Panhandle Pride began organizing Shepherdstown’s annual Pride celebration, founder Mark Harding had a few fresh ideas. “We wanted to be sure that we’re showcasing our rural heritage,” Harding said—having grown up in a rural area that instilled in him an appreciation for Appalachian culture—and for the unique brand of pride shown by rural LGBTQ+ communities.
Ed Herendeen, director of the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF), was listening to readings of this year’s six chosen plays when he realized something.
The decline of the coal industry has left many in Richwood and other parts of West Virginia unemployed, contributing to the state’s economic troubles. Programs such as Richwood Scientific Inc, which offer free or cheap training in other industries, could help retrain and eventually employ those without jobs.
In early June, the area where Shepherdstown’s annual Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) takes place is calm—so calm, in fact, that if you were to sit at one of the tables in the “copper canyon”—the valley between Shepherd University’s two contemporary art buildings—you’d be surprised to learn just how much is actually going on around you amid the stillness.