The Barter Theatre, located in the Blue Ridge highlands of Abingdon, Virginia, was founded by Robert Porterfield in 1933 and designated the State Theater of Virginia in 1946. Opening its doors in the midst of the Great Depression, Barter earned its name by allowing patrons to pay the admission price with produce, dairy products, or livestock. The shows were sometimes forced to compete with the noise that accompanied bartered livestock. On occasion, the theater also paid playwrights, such as Tennessee Williams and Thornton Wilder, Virginia hams for their works rather than standard royalties. George Bernard Shaw, a vegetarian, demanded to be paid in spinach. The theater expanded in 1961, opening a second stage across the street, and has earned a national reputation through touring companies and its association with many prominent and influential actors, including Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, and Kevin Spacey. The Barter Theatre won a Tony Award in 1948 for Best Regional Theater.
March 31st, 2020
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