June 23rd, 2020: Barter Theatre to produce at historic Moonlite Drive-In
Barter Theatre has announced plans to officially begin its 2020 season of live productions with a special series: Barter at the Moonlite. The first production, “The Wizard of Oz,” will premiere Tuesday, July 14, at the historic Moonlite Drive-In Theatre, located off of Lee Highway in Abingdon.
In her announcement video, Producing Artistic Director Katy Brown thanked patrons for their continued loyalty during the theater’s closure and explained that plans for the remainder of the 2020 season would be released in phases throughout the year.
Brown also mentioned lead sponsors Food City and J.A. Street & Associates, who were responsible for leasing and helping prepare the grounds of the Moonlite for Barter’s use.
“Food City is excited to partner with Barter Theatre to bring live productions back to Abingdon,” said president and CEO Steven C. Smith. “We certainly understand the important role that Barter plays in our local economy and we’re proud to be a longtime Barter season sponsor. I personally can’t wait to go to the Moonlite Theatre to enjoy these very special productions.”
In addition to the initial announcement, Barter released a subsequent video explaining that utilizing the Moonlite Drive-In was the only way for the theater to produce this summer while staying in compliance with government safety restrictions.
In the video, Brown described what the Barter at the Moonlite experience would be like.
“We want you to pick up dinner at one of Abingdon’s incredible restaurants, drive over to the Moonlite, and pull straight into your reserved parking spot,” she said. “You’ll see the actors performing concert versions of the show from the stage situated in front of the big screen, and you’ll get a closer look at the action via a simulcast onto the big screen. Our souvenir programs will be delivered right to your mobile device, and the sound will be delivered through your vehicle’s stereos.
“Going to Barter at the Moonlite Drive-In will be a summer evening of fun and togetherness, all while staying more than 6 feet apart. We promise a theatrical experience unlike any you have ever had. What a memory this will be for every one of us.“
In addition to Food City and J.A. Street & Associates, Barter Theatre season sponsors include AT&T, Ballad Health, Eastman Credit Union, The Martha Washington Inn & Spa, Meade Tractor and The United Company Foundation.
Barter Theatre is the nation’s longest running professional theatre. Opened in 1933 during the Great Depression, founder Robert Porterfield offered patrons admission to the theater by bartering food and livestock. Barter was designated the State Theatre of Virginia in 1946, and exists today as one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theaters remaining in the United States.
The Moonlite is located at 17555 Lee Highway, just south of the Virginia Highlands Airport. Tickets for productions of “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” in the Barter at The Moonlite series are on sale at bartertheatre.com.