Virginia State Historic Marker K-53:

Creative Commons Image By Flickr User @dmott9

Located near the Midsummer Night's Dream bronze fountain directly across the street from Barter Theatre. The historic marker reads: The Barter Theatre building was constructed about 1830 as a church, which was remodeled several times. Among the oldest theaters in America, the building hosted its first performance in 1876. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Robert Porterfield, an enterprising actor and Washington County native, created the Barter Theatre and proposed exchanging "ham for Hamlet." The theater opened its doors on 10 June 1933; admission was "35 cents or the equivalent in victuals" to feed the actors. Many stage and screen actors, designers, and playwrights have polished their craft here. In 1946, the Barter Theatre was designated the State Theatre of Virginia.

Department of Historic Resources, 1998