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Cardinal Cross uses interdisciplinary rural-urban exchange to produce, amplify, and celebrate the art of womxn and other Appalachians whose stories are seldom told on stage.


Developed in 2017 under the name “Crossroads Lab” within Appalshop’s award-winning theater wing, Roadside – and now an independent two-woman company – Cardinal Cross offers a dedicated space for interdisciplinary, first-voice exploration of 21st century Appalachian identity in live performance.

Cardinal Cross exists to seek out, collaboratively develop, and present new community-based plays and performance art that reflect the aesthetic and cultural values of contemporary Appalachian musicians, storytellers, performers, digital media makers and designers.

We direct, write, perform, teach, and produce in partnership with women, womxn, gender-nonconforming and LGBTQ+; documented and undocumented immigrants; people of color, particularly indigenous and Native; people with disabilities; incarcerated people; people informally educated or sustained by digital/alt-economies; non-rural ‘Metrolachians’; rural people with affinities for mainstream culture or tech; and all mountain folx whose relationship to Place is too complex, ambivalent, or flawed to fit into pat “creative placemaking” narratives.

There are so many stories we cannot tell "for" others––they don't belong to us. But we can and will bring our resources, skills, and passion for storytelling to bear in equitably developing new works of, by and for those with whom we stand in solidarity as mountain women.


“Throughout the process of procuring resources for our performance, we found that the public face and practiced power of leadership in [the Appalachian] region remains the jurisdiction of white men, and yet, there are deeply invested women doing some incredibly heavy lifting. Just as — if not more — importantly than making sure they're getting credit for it, there is an opportunity here to source the logistical, financial, and energetic power to magnify these efforts. …Amy and her colleagues have worked closely with the TEAM administration to bring us not only to the community but into the community. …If we're not in honest, equitable, frank conversation in which we are authentically willing to be proved wrong, we risk stealing stories and reconfiguring them until they're so laden with our own kaleidoscopic bias that we've made a violent extraction of invaluable essence, without regard for the practical and spiritual consequence.”