SETC Community Theatre Festival

SETC’s Community Theatre Festival — a three-day performance festival held each year during the annual SETC Convention — features community theatres representing the 10 southeastern states.

2017 Community Theatre Festival

This year’s festival will take place March 1-4, 2017, as part of SETC’s 68th annual convention in Lexington, KY.  Since 2017 is an AACTFest year, SETC’s two advancing productions will get the honor of representing our region at the National AACTFest 2017 in Rochester, MN, June 26 – July 1, 2017.

2017 Performance Schedule

The 2017 SETC Community Theatre Festival in Lexington, KY, will include the following performances:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

6:30 – 8:00pm

Always…Patsy Cline
West Virginia – Buckhannon Community Theatre
Written by Ted Swindley; Directed by Jason Young
Always…Patsy Cline is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963. The show is based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961 and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death.

8:00 – 9:30pm

Dani Girl
West Virginia – Landmark Studio for the Arts
Music by Michael Kooman; Book and Lyrics by Christopher Dimond; Directed by Rebecca Conrad
A musical for the soul! When Dani, a precocious nine-year-old, loses her hair to leukemia, she embarks on a magical journey in order to get it back. Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, it is a tale of life in the face of death, hope in the face of despair, and the indomitable power of the human imagination.

9:30 – 11:00pm

Of Mice and Men
South Carolina – Mill Town Players
Written by John Steinbeck; Directed by Christopher Rose
This tragic play, based on Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, tells the story of the friendship between George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant workers who have arrived at a ranch to work for enough money to buy their own farm during the Great Depression.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

2:45 – 4:15pm

The Zoo Story
South Carolina – Flowertown Players
Written by Edward Albee; Directed by Erik Brower
The Zoo Story is a one-act play that depicts an encounter between two very different men. Peter is a publishing executive trying to get a moment of peace on his favorite park bench. Jerry is a man seemingly craving human interaction. Careening between humor and drama, the story unfolds and tensions rise.

4:15 – 5:45pm

The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord
Tennessee – Cookeville Performing Arts Center
Written by Scott Carter; Directed by Steven Gwilt
A Founding Father, a Victorian novelist and a Russian revolutionary walk into a… stop me if you’ve heard this one. Thomas Jefferson (yes that one), Charles Dickens (the very same) and Count Leo Tolstoy (who else?) are brought together in a blistering battle of wits. This whip-smart comedy examines what happens when great men of history are forced to repeat it.

7:00 – 8:30pm

Mississippi – Tupelo Community Theatre
Written by Jerre Dye; Directed by Tom Booth
This highly acclaimed drama set in rural Mississippi is a coming-of-age story deeply rooted in the life of a Southern family on the verge of transformation. It’s a story about letting go and shedding what is no longer necessary in a world full of secrets and memories that hold on tight.

8:30 – 10:00pm

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Mississippi – Starkville Community Theatre
Written by Christopher Durang; Directed by Pattye Archer
Middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia share a home where they bicker and complain about their lives. Suddenly, their movie-star sister Masha swoops in with her boy toy Spike. Old resentments flare up and lead to threats of selling the house. Toss in sassy, psychic maid Cassandra and young aspiring actress Nina, and, well, anything can happen.

Friday, March 3, 2017

3:00 – 4:30pm

Rabbit Hole
Alabama – The Leeds Theatre and Art Center
Written by David Lindsay-Abaire; Directed by Clifton Keen, Jr.
Becca and Howie have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. This is their search for comfort in the darkest of places for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.

4:30 – 6:00pm

The Glass Menagerie
Alabama – Wetumpka Depot Players
Written by Tennessee Williams; Directed by Tom Salter
Tennessee Williams’s autobiographical “memory play” looks at the Wingfield family — frustrated writer Tom, his nagging mother Amanda who’s often lost in memories of her Southern-belle past, and his painfully shy sister, Laura — and the effect a visit from a “gentleman caller” for Laura has on all their lives.

6:30 – 8:00pm

Kentucky – Paramount Players
Book by Joe Masteroff; Based on the play by John Van Druten and Stories by Christopher Isherwood; Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb; Directed by Melanie Cornelison-Jannotta
The story of “Cabaret” takes place in a nightclub in Berlin, Germany, in the 1930s as the Nazis spread and consolidate their power. Those who work and perform at the Kit Kat Klub wonder if their lifestyle will be able to survive the impending evil that is quickly surrounding them.

8:00 – 9:30pm

Who Am I This Time?
Kentucky – Theatre Workshop Owensboro
Written by Christopher Sergel; Directed by Wes Bartlett
An insecure young man, Harry Nash, searches for identity through participation in the community theatre. With a real-life blah personality he is of no interest to anyone. But when handed a script, he asks, “Who am I this time?” and when he hits the stage, his characters come alive. When a new member joins the production and falls madly in love with Harry, who is in character, she fights to keep him from his usual post-curtain retreat by asking him “Who am I this time?”

9:30 – 11:00pm

The Amish Project
Florida – Theatre Winter Haven
Written by Jessica Dickey; Directed by Katrina Ploof
The Amish Project is a fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines schoolhouse shooting in an Amish community and the path of forgiveness and compassion forged in its wake.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

NOON – 1:30pm

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Florida – Star Center Theatre
Written by Lanie Robertson; Directed by Rhonda Wilson
The time is 1959. A seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is witnessing one of Billie Holiday’s last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen numbers interlaced with salty, often humorous reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of a Lady and her music.

1:30 – 3:00pm

Last Train to Nibroc
Georgia – Dalton Little Theatre
Written by Arlene Hutton; Directed by Melissa Adams
Two strangers meet on a train. At first glance they appear to have very little in common, but over the course of a few years a bond develops and a romance blooms. However, will their differences keep them from acknowledging their true feelings for one another?

3:00 – 4:30pm

Junk: A Play about a Yard Sale and a Mermaid
North Carolina – Hickory Community Theatre
Book by Molly Bass; Music and Lyrics by Molly Bass and Jeff Hartman; Arrangements by Jeff Hartman; Directed by Pamela Livingstone
Karissa, dumped by her boyfriend of 10 years, is inspired to move to the coast and start over — which includes selling EVERYTHING she owns. Attending the yard sale are three veteran junkers and a host of eccentric shoppers — not to mention her ex and his fun-loving new sweetie! Filled with funny songs and sweet ballads.

2017 Adjudicators

Cranston Dodds

Cranston Dodds is the Member Engagement Director of the American Association of Community Theatre. Cranston has had the pleasure of adjudicating both the Secondary and Community Theatre Festivals for MTA as well as the State Festivals for Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. He is an adjudicator for AACT and the Texas Youth Festival. He has also had the honor of directing over 250 shows. Most recently, Cran taught theatre at one of the highest ranking International Schools in Cairo, Egypt for two years. He has managed the Denton Community Theatre and served as Artistic Director of the Warehouse Theatre, company member of Casa Manana Theatre, and Artistic Director of Bravo Productions National Touring Company. Cranston is Past President of Texas NonProfit Theatres and currently serves as a Board Member.

Steve Earnest

Steve Earnest has a B.A. in Theatre from the University of North Alabama, an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from the University of Miami, Florida and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Earnest has been a working actor in Regional Theatre and film projects across the USA for nearly thirty years. While actual work in the profession has been central to his career, Dr. Earnest began to publish significant work in the 1990’s with several articles and a book centered on the methodology and history of the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst Busch” in Berlin, Germany, which is generally considered to be Germany’s most prolific school for the study of acting. Dr. Earnest has published dozens of reviews of productions of major state theatre productions in Germany, many articles and reviews about German Theatre as well as presenting papers and lectures dealing with German Theatre and theatre training at over ten American and international conferences.

Kathy Pingel

Until her retirement in 2015, Kathy Pingel served for 10 years as the Director of Education and Youth Programming at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, where she directed over 50 productions. She also served as Artistic Director of the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre. Kathy holds a BA in theatre from Eastern Michigan University and MAs in performance studies and teaching from Northwestern University. After graduation, she taught at New Trier High School and Southern Illinois University. She then worked as a freelance director and did a year-long stint as Outreach Coordinator for Orlando Repertory Theatre. She has adjudicated at the state, regional, national and international levels for AACT, taught AACT’s Adjudication Workshop at the national festival in 2015, and facilitated AACT’s Theatre Education Directors’ Conference in 2010 and 2016. In retirement, Kathy freelances as a play editor, director and teacher in her new home state, Florida.

Congratulations to last year’s winners!

2016 Best Production Wild Hare Productions | Lone Star
2016 Best Production Actors' Warehouse | Tshepang
2016 Best Actor & Actress Steven Butler & Mandisa Haarhoff Tshepang | Actors' Warehouse


For more information, please contact:

Sue Ellen Gerrells

Community Theatre Festival Chair
Phone: 205-936-9162
Email Sue Ellen Gerrells

Lyle Tate

Community Theatre Festival Vice-Chair
Phone: 662-312-3610
Email Lyle Tate

Claire Wisniewski

SETC Educational Services Manager
Phone: 336-272-3645
Email Claire


“As director of a new theatre company, I’ve found the SETC Community Theatre Festival to be constructive, well-run and a terrific way to network and grow. Actors for Children Theatre has had an enjoyable experience the past two years and we hope to be back!”

– Sarah Diamond Burroway, Actors for Children Theatre