ON SALE NOW
June 3rd – August 20th on Gilliam Stage
Stage Adaptation by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie // Music by Tom Snow and Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Join us for the high-energy musical based on the 80’s movie. When Ren and his mother leave Chicago and move to the rural community of Bomont, Ren finds himself at odds with most everyone, including the powerful Reverend Moore. As a result of a recent tragedy, Moore has convinced the town fathers to outlaw dancing. With the help of Ariel (Moore’s daughter) and Willard (his new friend), Ren convinces the Reverend to let teenagers dance again, and in the process, helps to heal the whole town.
Barter Connects Footloose– TIME TO CUT LOOSE!
In this Connects event, Barter’s Resident Choreographer Ashley Campos will be discussing the role dance played in her life as a small town girl growing up in Ringgold, GA and how it affected her choreography for this show. Ashley will be joined by Deirdre Cole, the Artistic Director of Highlands Ballet, who will be discussing the importance of dance in the development of a young person’s physical and mental growth. And as an extra bonus, Ashley will teach a modified dance combination from the show (nothing too tough, we promise) for those of you ready to cut loose!
Sunday, July 30th, immediately following the 3pm performance on Gilliam Stage.
Sense and Sensibility
June 17th – August 19th on Gilliam Stage
Based on the novel by Jane Austen
Playwright Kate Hamill gives us a fresh, comic take on this beloved novel. This wildly theatrical adaptation follows two radically different sisters—sensible Elinor and emotional Marianne—in the wake of their father’s death, as they face wave after wave of dance partners, dinner parties and great loves amid an English society mad for gossip.
Barter Connects Sense and Sensibility – WORKING WOMEN
When Mrs. Dashwood’s husband died, she and her three daughters found themselves destitute, left to the mercy of a societal structure that didn’t allow “ladies” to work. Fast forward to present-day Appalachia, and the challenges women still face today in joining the workforce. How much has really changed? Barter Theatre is excited to welcome Dr. Amanda Kinard, Vanderbilt Lecturer and lover of all things Jane Austen, as she discusses the economic realities for women in the time of Sense and Sensibility. Joining Amanda will be Robbie Pentecost and Jennifer Walden from the New Opportunity School for Women in Berea, KY, who will discuss the programming they have created to help the women of Appalachia achieve their dreams.
Saturday, July 1st, immediately following the 8pm performance on Gilliam Stage.
Content Advisories: IL, V, O – Strong profanity, onstage violence, gun shots. More information.
June 23rd – August 12th at Barter’s Smith Theatre
Written by Stephen Brown
Megan hates country music singer Rick Montgomery, and she and her best friend Kimmy have decided tonight’s concert will be his last. The two teens hatch an ill-conceived plot to kidnap the country music star in this laugh-out-loud, offbeat comedy. Songs will be sung, shots will be fired, and the girls will discover that revenge ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
"Country Girls" Preview | 2023 Season Announcement Event
Barter Connects Country Girls – ALL IN THE FAMILY
Family can get complicated, and no one knows that better than Larry, Megan’s adopted father in Country Girls. As he struggles to hang on to his rollercoaster relationship with his precious tween, we get a glimpse into the world of nature versus nurture and just what it means to be “family.” To that end, Barter Connects is thrilled to welcome Megan Hamilton, a volunteer at Isaiah 117 House here in Abingdon, VA to the Smith Theatre stage. Megan will join director Sarah Van Deusen in discussing what form family takes in the play, and the means by which Isaiah 117 House creates family from the children who come there seeking refuge.
Saturday, August 5th, immediately following the 8pm performance at Barter’s Smith Theatre.
ON SALE NOW
Content Advisories: (IL, V) – Profanity, strong onstage violence, gun shots. More information.
August 24th – November 4th at Barter’s Smith Theatre
Adapted by William Goldman, from the novel by Stephen King
Misery follows successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who is rescued from a car crash by his “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes, and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads his latest book and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new Misery novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere. The irate Annie has Paul writing as if his life depends on it…. and it does.
"Misery" Preview | 2023 Season Announcement Event
Barter Connects Misery – A SPOOKY LITTLE GIRL LIKE YOU
In Misery, a novelist is kidnapped by a crazed fan and held hostage until he writes her the book of her dreams… the perfect Halloween story! Come connect with us after the show as we continue the theme with another spooky story told by one of our region’s finest! Dr. Flora Joy is described as the “mother” of storytelling in our region, and is responsible for creating the Master’s in Communication and Storytelling Program at ETSU. Dr. Joy will extend your Halloween horror with a short tale guaranteed to send shivers up your spine, followed by a discussion with Betty Ann Polaha from the Jonesboro Storytelling Guild of why the art form of storytelling is so important to our area. So, bring your candy and bring a date for a Halloween you will never forget!
Tuesday, October 31st, immediately following the 7:30pm performance at Barter’s Smith Theatre.
Pictured in artwork: Nicholas Piper
Content Advisories: P, ML, S, V, O – Racial slurs, discussion of sexual situations, onstage violence, gun shots. More information.
To Kill a Mockingbird
September 2nd – November 4th on Gilliam Stage
Adapted by Christopher Sergel, from the novel by Harper Lee
Young Scout and her brother Jem live in the sleepy town of Maycomb, Alabama with their widowed father, the lawyer Atticus Finch. Life is wonderful – until the facade of the seemingly peaceful town begins to crack when a young Black man is accused of a terrible crime. Driven by an unshakeable moral conviction, Atticus defends the man in a trial that sends waves of violence through the community. This hard-hitting work explores prejudice, compassion and the courage to do what is right.
Barter Connects To Kill a Mockingbird – WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO TOM ROBINSON?
Atticus was told that Tom Robinson was killed trying to escape – but is that really true? How does that story fit with what we know about Tom from the book? How does this story change when viewed from a Black perspective? Join the Black cast members of To Kill a Mockingbird and special guest Adam Dickson, Adjunct Instructor of Political Science at ETSU and Supervisor of the Langston Centre in Johnson City, TN as they discuss the context, history, and themes surrounding racial inequality and injustice in the book, the play and our world at large. *This event has been curated by Barter’s Black Stories Black Voices project.
Friday, September 8th, immediately following the 8pm performance on Gilliam Stage.
Pictured in artwork: Hannah Ingram
Content Advisories: (V)– Murder and murder attempts, generally handled comedically. More information.
September 15th – November 5th on Gilliam Stage
Written by Sandy Rustin, based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn / Additional Material by Hunter Foster and Eric Price / Based on the Paramount Pictures Motion Picture and the Hasbro board game CLUE / Original Music by Michael Holland
Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie and classic board game, Clue is a hilarious comedy-meets-murder mystery. The tale begins at a remote mansion, where six mysterious guests assemble for an unusual dinner party where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects. Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up. Clue is the comedy whodunit that will leave both cult-fans and newcomers in stitches as they try to figure out…WHO did it, WHERE, and with WHAT!
"Clue" Preview | 2023 Season Announcement Event
Barter Connects CLUE – WHODUNNIT COSTUME CONTEST
What’s Halloween season without a costume contest? Barter Connects invites this September 23rd matinee audience to come to the show dressed as their favorite CLUE character and stay for a post-show discussion with Barter Resident Costume Designer Lee Martin as he describes the why and how of his design for the show. Lee will be joined by Anna Buchanan, Curator of Contemporary Fine Art & Craft for William King Museum, who will discuss how she picked the costumes displayed in their recent “Best of Barter” exhibit. Afterwards, the costumed characters will join our panelists on the stage, where Lee & Anna will judge the winner and present them with their own Clue board game signed by the cast. A guaranteed fun evening for everyone!
Saturday, September 23rd, immediately following the 2pm Gilliam Stage performance across the street at Barter’s Smith Theatre Lounge.
ON SALE NOW
Miracle on 34th Street
November 16th – December 27th on Gilliam Stage
Music by Doug Smith, Book and Lyrics by Vern Stefanic
It’s the story of the year when Macy’s Santa Claus claims to be the real Kris Kringle. When he is put on trial to prove it, it’s up to a little girl’s belief in miracles, a kindly lawyer, and a lot of Christmas spirit to save the day. Join us for the musical of one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time!
Barter Connects Miracle on 34th Street – THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD
Doris’s daughter Susan doesn’t believe in Santa Claus… and then Susan meets Kris Kringle, the new Santa at Macy’s Department Store. Kris and his goodness slowly chip away at Susan’s cynicism until her faith is restored, just part of the Miracle on 34th Street. Barter loves the joy Santa brings to children at Christmas, and to that end, we are proud to welcome to our stage Mr. Don Royston, a.k.a. Santa Claus from the Appalachian Santa Train. The Appalachian Santa Train is sponsored by the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. This year makes Don’s 25th portraying the jolly old elf, distributing toys, food, clothing, and candy to thousands of people along the train’s 14 stops from Pikeville, KY to Kingsport, TN. Join us as Don shares memories and stories from his time on the most wonderful train of all.
Sunday, December 9th, immediately following the 2pm performance on Gilliam Stage.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
November 22nd – December 24th at Barter’s Smith Theatre
Written by Catherine Bush
It’s December 24th in a busy airport, and newly-divorced gate agent Cheryl Dean is desperately trying to keep her Christmas spirit as she deals with a host of zany characters flying home for the holidays. An opinionated grandmother, a young man with big dreams, a champion turkey caller, and more are stuck in the airport as the night wears on. People will fall in love, get on each others’ nerves, and maybe even end up with the happiest Christmas they’ve ever had in the unlikeliest of places.
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" Preview | 2023 Season Announcement Event
Barter Connects I’ll Be Home for Christmas – THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Whether by land, by sea, or by air, every Christmas, millions of Americans find themselves traveling to the place they love best – Home – and the characters in I’ll Be Home for Christmas are no exception. Join Barter Connects director Terrance Jackson and resident actor Hannah Ingram as they talk with local travel agents about the challenges faced by these characters. These travel experts will also share tips for staying stress-free while traveling during the holiday season. At the end of the session, there will be time for you to share stories of your own traveling nightmares… just be prepared for the rest of us to ho-ho-ho!
Friday, December 22nd, immediately following the 8pm performance at Barter’s Smith Theatre.
Past Productions (2023)
The Last Romance
March 25th – April 15th on Gilliam Stage
Written by Joe DiPietro
On an ordinary day in a routine life, 80 year-old widower Ralph decides to take a different path on his daily walk, and discovers the beautiful-yet-distant Carol on a bench at a dog park. Relying on his boyish charm and a fictional dog named Rex, Ralph begins to woo Carol, thus embarking on a hilarious and heartwarming journey that proves it’s never too late for romance.
"The Last Romance" Show Trailer
Barter Connects The Last Romance – IT’S NEVER TOO LATE FOR LOVE
Like so many of her age, Carol has given up on finding love. Enter Ralph, and suddenly her world is turned upside down. Unexpected love in unexpected places is the story behind The Last Romance – and the story behind the first in our Barter Connects series: join us in welcoming Barter’s Board of Trustees member Edwina Ripley and her husband Rip to our post-show discussion on finding Love in the golden years. Edwina and Rip will be joined by Leslie Pendleton, President of AARP’s Blacksburg chapter and Wilma Dotson, Membership Chair, who will speak to the benefits of companionship and connection as we age, as well as to the advantages that come with membership in our nation’s largest senior association.
Saturday, April 1st, immediately following the 2pm performance on Gilliam Stage.
Pictured in artwork: Justin Tyler Lewis
Content Advisories: S, V, O – Mild sexual situations, war and murder, suicidal ideation. More information.
April 8th – May 2nd at Barter’s Smith Theatre
Written by William Shakespeare
“Something wicked this way comes…” Returning home from battle, the victorious Macbeth meets three witches on the heath. Driven by their disturbing prophecies, he sets out on an ambitious path to take the crown – a plan that leads to murder and madness. Don’t miss this action-filled adaptation specifically tailored for Barter’s Smith Theatre.
This project is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
"Macbeth" Show Trailer
Barter Connects Macbeth – RISIN’ ABOVE YOUR RAISIN’
In order to satisfy their ambition, Macbeth and his wife were willing to discard everything that tied them to their station – family, friends, loyalty to the king – all with disastrous results. How can we in Appalachia rise without discarding everything we are and everyone we love? Join Macbeth director Carrie Smith Lewis and United Way’s Ryan Henderson as they discuss the play as well as some of the programs and collaborations that help Appalachians rise up from their circumstances and seek their dreams while remaining true to their Appalachian roots.
Saturday, April 15th, immediately following the 2pm performance at Barter’s Smith Theatre.
Keep On the Sunny Side
April 22nd – May 20th on Gilliam Stage
Conceived and Written by Douglas Pote / Music and Lyrics by The Original Carter Family / Vocal Arrangements by Eugene Wolf / Musical Arrangement by Doug Dorschug
Come celebrate the original musical tale of America’s First Family of Country Music. When A.P. Carter convinces his wife Sara and his sister-in-law Maybelle to record with him at the Bristol Sessions, he has no idea he is about to change his life – and the world – forever. You’ll tap your toes to Carter Family favorites like Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow, Keep On the Sunnyside, Wildwood Flower, and Will the Circle Be Unbroken.
"Keep on the Sunny Side" Show Trailer
Barter Connects Keep on the Sunny Side – A.P. CARTER AND ME
Since its mini-production in the 2002 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights, resident actor Eugene Wolf has portrayed A.P. Carter in every single Barter production of Keep on the Sunny Side. Meanwhile Rita Forrester, A.P.’s granddaughter, has been busy keeping A.P.’s memory alive and well at the Carter Family Fold, where she serves as Executive Director. Connect with these local legends as they join director Nick Piper in discussing what they have discovered about A.P Carter through the years of telling his story, and why the Carter Family music continues to be celebrated today.
Saturday, May 6th, immediately following the 2pm performance on Gilliam Stage.
Pictured in artwork: Terrance Jackson
Content Advisories: S, IL, O – Discussion of sexual situations, strong profanity, smoking. More information.
May 20th – June 4th at Barter’s Smith Theatre
Written by Dominique Morisseau
What do you do when the industry that has supported you, your family, and your entire region threatens to close up and go away? Skeleton Crew is set in 2008 Detroit, where a small automotive factory is on the brink of foreclosure and the livelihoods of a tight-knit family of workers hangs in the balance. This powerful play explores how loyalties and survival collide when a world changes.
"Skeleton Crew" Show Trailer
Barter Connects Skeleton Crew – BLACK COAL*
The characters in Skeleton Crew each face tough choices when the Detroit auto-stamping factory where they’ve worked their entire career begins the process of shutting its doors. Do they stay? Do they go? When the coal industry began to leave Appalachia, Black coalfield communities were faced with the same dilemma. What happens to a community when its main industry leaves? Join BSBV Director and cast member Terrance Jackson as he talks with historian Ron Carson from the Appalachian African-American Cultural Center in Pennington Gap, VA about the challenges these communities faced and what they did to overcome them. *This event has been curated by Barter’s Black Stories Black Voices project.
Saturday, May 20th, immediately following the 8pm performance at Barter’s Smith Theatre.