ACTC Presents Festival of Local Plays

Ashland Community and Technical College Theatre will present a Festival of Local Plays Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 27, at 2:30 p.m.

General admission tickets are $5.00, and tickets may be reserved through the ACTC Bookstore, 606.326.2014.  Tickets at the door will be available for cash or check (with photo ID) payment only.

The ten scenes, monologues, short plays and one-act productions were written by ACTC faculty, staff and students, and they reflect a local flavor and approach to life.

The evening will also include several selections from Broadway shows sung by students in the vocal music theatre class taught by ACTC Adjunct Professor Lisa Trumbore. The performance is part of the students’ final class project.

The student productions were written in a playwriting class taught by ACTC English/Writing Instructor Jonathan Joy last fall. “Putting student work on stage gives a real life perspective to the writing class,” Joy said.  “The students were not just writing class exercises, they were writing plays to communicate with a real audience.”

The ten works are listed below:

"Earl" is the story of a man who attempts to turn his life around by enrolling in college. Author Charles “Chase” Davaney is an ACTC student from Louisa. Devaney wants to major in English or political Science after he transfer to a university.

"I want to galvanize the audience so that they know that no matter how difficult or eventful their lives have been, there is always a chance to better their circumstances,” Devaney said.  “I did not go to high school. I got my GED, so I understand the hardships people go through.  I want people to know that is not the end. There is always something greater wanting to be tapped into. They just need to explore it." 

"Building Bridges" will transport the reader back to a one room school house and a timeless message about bullying. Author Mary Shortridge is ACTC Associate Professor of Humanities.

"Tammy and Tom" sees Tammy asking Tom out for a date, which seems pretty straightforward, but Tom's list of demands complicates the process.  Jonathan Joy was the author.

"Retribution," another play by Mary Shortridge, is a cozy murder mystery set in rural Eastern Kentucky that explores punishment, reward, and personal justice.

 "The Gifted Tree," also by Mary Shortridge, explores love and sacrifice and also serves as an unofficial sequel to Shel Silverstein's classic children's book of a similar title.

“Until Death” follows a woman scorned and seeking revenge on her ex.  “Little Girl Lost” examines a women’s interior struggle with exterior expectations.  Both are by Malynda Brooke Barker, an ACTC student from Olive Hill. She is 19 and in her fourth semester at ACTC. She is an English major and hopes to work at a publishing house and possibly write short stories and poetry.

 “There really was no inspiration for my plays,” Barker said. “Nothing like what is depicted has ever happened to me, but I have a wild and vivid imagination.  I love to write.  It lets me express feelings I don't know how to show.”  

"Polynomial Dysfunction" is the story of a young college student driven mad by math. Author Jessica K Howard is an ACTC student from Ashland.

"I Hate Vampires," also by Jessica Howard, is one man's struggle to grasp the fact that his daughter is dating a man (and a vampire at that) much older than she is.

"Strange Things Happen" finds two strangers stuck together in an unlikely circumstance that leads to both labor pains and laughs. Author Chelsea G. Fannin is an ACTC student from Ashland.

Jonathan  Joy, Mary Shortridge, and Sarah Diamond Burroway make up the directing team. 

Joy is a prolific writer with more than 25 plays to his credit. His plays have been published by Brooklyn Published, Smith and Kraus, One Act Play Depo and ProPlay and are included in three theatre books.  His work has been featured in the New York Times, Southern Theatre and Insight for Playwrights magazine.

Director Sarah Diamond Burroway is ACTC Director of Grants and Contracts.  She is co-founder and director of Actors for Children Theatre (ACT) which is based in Flatwoods, KY. ACT is a troupe of adult actors who tour and perform live theatre for arts-underserved children, and the troupe won the Kentucky Theatre Association’s 2013 Outstanding Production Award.

Mary Hendricks Shortridge has taught communications at ACTC since 2003. Her short stories have appeared in three anthologies published by Turquoise Morning Press in Louisville.  She took the playwriting class last fall to sharpen her craft and create a structure that would give her deadlines for completing new plays.

The cast and crew features more than 30 ACTC students and performers from throughout the Tri-State.

ACTC student cast and crew members are Sherry L. Berry from Greenup, Amelia A. Blythe from Wurtland, Tyler Bradley from Flatwoods, Kelsey E. Biggs from Ashland , Troy P. Combs from Grayson, Hailie J. Cooper from Ashland, Austin M. Cross from Ashland, and Morgan Casto,  a part-time ACTC student and Russell High School senior from Wurtland.

Adult cast members from Ashland include Logan Darby, Jonathan Maynard, and Kathy Waugh.  Youth from Ashland include Courtney Gamble, Tessa Leibee, Elizabeth (Izzy) Martin, Kristina Richins, Lavenna Stambaugh, Xavier Stambaugh, Mia Weaver, Raegan Williams and Wyatt Toller.

Other actors are Anna Baker from Catlettsburg, Chance Jessie from  Grayson, Zach Davis from Kenova, Jason Kretzer from Flat Gap, Kate Morris and Simon Woods from Huntington,  and Katelyn Withrow from Flatwoods.

The musical theatre class taught by ACTC Adjunct Professor Lisa Trumbore will perform several selections from Broadway shows.  The performance is part of the students’ final class project. It will be a great night of showcasing a variety of student talent. 

The music class students are Anthony W. Chapman, Veronica D. Darby, John M. Freeman, Kelli Jo Miller, Shalyn B. Miller and Jessie E. Spears, all from Ashland; Thaddeus T. Henson from Louisa and Jerold M. Richardson from Catlettsburg.

The Festival is a culmination of ACTC’s first ever playwriting class and the musical theatre class. “We will offer both of these classes again next year and expect that a Festival of Plays and Music will continue in the future,” said Dr. Carol Green, ACTC Humanities Division Chair.

Jonathan Joy will teach Creative Writing: Playwriting next fall both online and on campus.  The Special Topics in Music: Voice for Theatre class will be offered in spring 2015. These classes are open to members of the community as well as traditional college students. Area residents can contact the Admissions Office at 606.326.2000 for registration information.