Hello from Barter Theatre!
Here at the beginning of 2020, I want to take a moment to introduce myself to those of you who may not know me yet. My name is Katy Brown, and I am the new Producing Artistic Director here at Barter.
I started working at Barter over twenty years ago and never looked back. I began as an actor and quickly discovered my love for directing. Since that time, I have directed over 100 of the plays you have seen on Barter’s stages, cast the actors that you have seen in our shows, produced multiple national tours, commissioned over 40 new plays for the theatre, dramaturged scripts, trained actors, and helped to run the theatre as Associate Artistic Director. Dearest to my heart has been my work with the Barter Players, Barter’s theatre for young audiences that I grew and ran for 20 years. The Barter Players have served as many as 100,000 children in a year with incredible, imaginative theatre, while training the best young actors in the country.
Barter Theatre is a home unlike any other. Robert Porterfield understood the importance of theatre belonging to everyone. He was at the forefront of the regional theatre movement; he believed that people outside of big cities deserved great art. He and the people of this region made a deal with one another to trade theatre for produce—they agreed to value story literally as much as they valued food. And so was born one of the most incredible audience/artist relationships in all of American history.
That relationship continues today. For many years as the head of casting, I traveled around the country looking for actors to make Barter their home. And when I talked about what made Barter special, it always came back to you- the people who love Barter. A husband and wife who attend theatre all over the world told us that Barter is their favorite place to see a play anywhere, but only in part because of our work. They said that what moves them so much is our audience—how much our audience loves story and how much pride they take in what happens on our stages. This couple recognizes that what is important and rare about Barter is YOU. We feel the same.
I am deeply aware that this theatre doesn’t belong to me; it is your house that I get to tend. I love the artists that work here. I love the plays and the worlds that we get to create. And most of all, I love that this place is yours, and I aim to honor that every day of my tenure.
Thank you for your love and care for this institution. We can’t wait to share an exciting season of shows with you in 2020. We’ll see you at the theatre!
Producing Artistic Director