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Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:19

Carden play comes to life

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Outlander by beloved Western North Carolina writer Gary Carden is scheduled for three matinee performances by The Autumn Players of Asheville Community Theatre (ACT), which will be March 24-25 in 35below at ACT and March 26 at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. Curtain is at 2:30 p.m. for all three performances. 

Directed by Marianne Lyon and in partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville, this is an extra production in the 2016-17 season of The Autumn Players’ Readers Theatre Showcase series. 

A piece of Smoky Mountain history will come to the stage again in an encore reader's theatre presentation of Outlander, written by award-winning storyteller Carden, with mountain music by William Ritter. The play tells the story of the creation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and deals with the controversies and conflicts between longtime mountain residents and the “outsiders” who advocated preservation through establishment of national park lands. 

Carden, a native of Sylva, is a playwright, collector of Appalachian and Cherokee folklore, a professional storyteller, and was a long-time columnist for The Smoky Mountain News. He received the North Carolina Arts Council Award for Literature in 2012 and the Brown-Hudson Folklore Award in 2006.

Ritter is a native of Bakersville and alum of Western Carolina University. He graduated with a degree in technical theatrer, but spent much of his time in school studying the musical folk traditions of Western North Carolina. Currently, William is attending Appalachian State, where he is enrolled in the university’s Appalachian Studies graduate program.

The Autumn Players is ACT’s volunteer outreach group consisting of over 100 seasoned actors writers and educators dedicated to taking theatre into the community. Since 1992, the company has provided entertainment, enrichment and instruction for thousands of students, seniors, and in-betweens at venues within an hour or more from Asheville.

All tickets are $6 and are available at, by phone at 828.254.1320 or in person at the Asheville Community Theatre box office. Any remaining tickets will be sold by cash only at the door beginning at 2 p.m. prior to each performance. 

For more information or for a full schedule of the 2016-17 Reader’s Theatre Showcase series, visit

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