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At Barter Theatre, we believe in theatre as a service to our community. We believe in being a space of common ground, where everyone can gather to experience a shared story. We know this is only possible if we commit to the work of providing a more welcoming space for everyone, including: 

  • Creating a more just and equitable space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists, staff, and community members.
  • Providing greater accessibility for people of all abilities and disabilities.

We commit to being a leader in our community through fully embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (see definitions below) by examining and changing aspects of our policies, procedures, culture, and programming necessary to better serve all members of the Barter community. We want everyone, regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic background, identity, or walk of life to feel welcome at the theatre. We are not interested in checking boxes, but in being authentic to Appalachia and every community we serve.

We know this is a journey. We will move too fast for some and too slowly for others, but we are moving. 

Below is a list of our goals. We know this list is not exhaustive, and will continue to grow, and we will post updates to this page on our progress.

Internal Practices

  • We have established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee with members of our Board of Trustees and staff. 
  • Staff and board members have participated in DEI training, and we are committed to expanding our DEI training throughout the organization.
  • We are committed to inclusive and diverse hiring practices, including actors, creative team, and staff throughout the organization. This includes reviewing and examining job descriptions through an inclusion/equity lens.
  • We are continuing a process to diversify our Resident Acting Company and Apprentice Company.
  • We will continue to evaluate our Apprenticeship Company through an inclusion/equity lens.
  • We are committed to improving work practices. This includes re-examining 10 out of 12-hour technical rehearsals for the production calendar for this year and beyond.  (Note: there are no 10 out of 12’s in 2021)


  • We are committed to producing diverse programming, including BIPOC play(s) and/or reading(s) in every season.
  • We commit to creating programming with which we can cultivate and showcase the work of BIPOC, specifically Black, artists.
    • We have established Black Stories Black Voices, which seeks to tell and amplify Black stories and voices through all theatrical disciplines. As part of this program, we intend to seek out the stories of Black Appalachian playwrights and have committed to reading at least one per year in our Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. One of the goals for BSBV  is to develop these plays for production in future seasons and establish relationships with Black theatre artists.
    • In conjunction, we’ve established a Monologue Series with the goal of attaching Black Appalachian stories with Black playwrights across the nation. Our hope is to increase the number of Black playwrights telling Black Appalachian stories.
  • We commit to investigating and enhancing inclusion for all artistic processes.
  • We have been producing Sensory Friendly performances and will continue into the future.
  • Each Resident Company production has open captioned performances, and we will continue this practice into the future. 
  • The theatre will expand audio description for the blind into more performances.

Community Engagement

  • We are committed to and currently are engaging with BIPOC communities and community leaders, not only through our programming, but through building relationships in the community. We are committed to elevating and telling the stories of all of Appalachia.
  • We are continuing to build relationships with individuals and organizations that focus on disabled and special needs communities.


  • Diversity – The full range of human and/or organizational differences and similarities. 
  • Equity – The fair and just treatment of all members of a community. 
  • Inclusion – The practices of ensuring that all people actually feel a sense of belonging and are welcomed.
  • BIPOC – Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. This is the current, preferred term for persons of color in the national arts community. We strive to stay current with societal and industry standards involving DEI language and identities.
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