New Plays, Art Bloom on ACTC campus


This article originally appeared in the April 4, 2017 edition of The Greater Ashland Beacon newspaper. 

Spring time is here and the calendar has turned over to April already. That means it is time for Ashland Community and Technical College’s annual New Play Festival and Student Art Showcase.

For the fourth year in a row students enrolled in ENG 207: Creative Writing will present a selection of plays, written during the previous semester, on the J.B. Sowards stage. And for the third year in a row Professor Wendy Fosterwelsh’s arts students will display visual art in the lobby outside the theatre.

Student artists on display are Jesse Adams IV, Gary Brown, Elizabeth Burch, Nicholas Cavins, Braden Evans, Candace Glass, Ocean Kovacs, Paige Smith, Flynn Thompson, Tina Webb, Rebecca Burch, Shad Caldwell, and William Eddy.

ACTC dramatists include Cody Avery, Gary Brown, R.C. Burch, Sarah Diedrich, Desiree Rayne, Robert Range, Kelly Vance, Janet Woodring, Ashley Hacker, Noel McDavid, Mikaela McDonald, and Erin Moore.

This year’s festival is doubly exciting, because not only does it feature so many students as the playwrights and the performers, but more than half the plays are student directed. In addition to those students taking the helm, directors from previous years have returned, too. ACTC Communications Professor Mary Shortridge is back, as is Sarah Diamond Burroway, who coordinates this year’s fest. And Jim Maggard helps anchor a solid directorial team.

A wide variety of plays make up the New Play Festival. Student written comedies and dramas will transport the audience to sites of ancient battles, to the war room of a gregarious politician, a haunted apartment building, and much more. Some serious issues are tackled, as well.

This year’s crop of new plays joins a long list of new works that have debuted at this festival in recent years. Close to 50 different comedies and dramas have come out of ACTC’s New Play Festival in just four years. And many more have been written as a part of the Creative Writing/Playwriting class itself.

The curtain will rise on the New Play Festival and Student Art Showcase Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 at 7:00PM, with a Sunday, April 9 matinee at 2:30. Tickets are just $5, and are available at the door.

Take a stroll through the lobby and then enjoy an evening in the theatre to see the best of what these creative, imaginative, talented students have to offer.

If you are interested in working with ACTC Theatre onstage or behind the scenes, contact Jonathan Joy at Another playwriting class will be offered in the Fall 2017 semester, as well, if you want to try your hand at penning a play that may be a part of next year’s 5th Annual New Play Festival.




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Jonathan Joy has been a door to door salesman, landscaper, bike mechanic, burger flipper, bus boy, shoe salesman, bowling alley attendant, carpenter, actor, director, political campaign manager, teacher, playwright, college professor, and newspaper columnist. He lives in West Virginia with his wife and their seven year old son.

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