Our Mission

Enriching Lives Through Extraordinary Theatre

Barter is a resident company of passionate professional artists and leaders dedicated to serving and enriching our region by creating live theatre in repertory; by providing a nurturing environment for all involved; by embracing and celebrating Appalachia; by being stewards of the legacy of Barter Theatre; by using theatre as a vehicle for education; and by providing audiences, both youth and adult, with an extraordinary and enlightening experience each and every time they engage with us.

Barter Theatre, located in Abingdon, Virginia, opened on June 10, 1933 making it the nation’s longest running professional theatre. In 1933, when the country was in the middle of The Great Depression, spare money for a theatre ticket was not easy to come by. Robert Porterfield, founder of the theatre, offered a unique solution to allow locals to attend shows. Rather than traditional money, patrons could pay for admission to the theatre by bartering food, livestock or other goods. For 40 cents, or the equivalent in bartered goods, anyone could see a show. In 1946, Barter Theatre was designated as the State Theatre of Virginia. Today, Barter is one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theaters remaining in the United States.

Many well-known stars of stage, screen and television have performed early in their careers at Barter, including: Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, Hume Cronyn, Gary Collins, Frances Fisher,Larry Linville, John Glover, Jim Varney, and Wayne Knight. Will Bigham, the 2007 winner of On The Lot, acted at Barter Theatre for several years.

The theatre is located within the Abingdon Historic District

Did You Know?

Gregory Peck got his start at the Barter Theatre

Gregory Peck was a popular film star in the 1940s through the 1960s. Peck received five Academy Award for Best Actor nominations, and won once – for his performance as Atticus Finch in the 1962 drama film To Kill a Mockingbird.

All Barter Shows

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Smith Theatre
March 26 - April 19
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Gilliam Stage
April 02 - April 25
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Gilliam Stage
April 07 - April 18
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Gilliam Stage
April 22 - May 23
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Gilliam Stage
May 01 - May 30
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Smith Theatre
May 21 - August 22
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Smith Theatre
May 26 - June 27
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Gilliam Stage
June 06 - August 23
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Gilliam Stage
June 18 - August 22
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Smith Theatre
June 24 - August 22
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Smith Theatre
July 01 - July 25
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Smith Theatre
July 28 - August 15
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Smith Theatre
August 28 - November 14
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Gilliam Stage
September 04 - November 14
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Smith Theatre
September 15 - November 15
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Gilliam Stage
September 17 - November 14
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Family Friendly
Smith Theatre
September 29 - November 11
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Gilliam Stage
November 20 - December 27
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Family Friendly
Gilliam Stage
November 24 - December 20
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Smith Theatre
November 24 - December 27
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Smith Theatre
December 02 - December 30
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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 867
Abingdon, VA 24212