The famous Barter Theatre was the brainchild of Robert Porterfield. Started during the Great Depression, the first patrons were admitted in exchange for food. Many of our present-day great actors got their start here.
Photo by R.A. Young
unused given to me in 2013
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Barter Theatre, located in Abingdon, Virginia, opened on June 10, 1933. It is one of the longest-running professional theatres in the nation. In 1933, when the country was in the middle of the Great Depression, most patrons were not able to pay the full ticket price. Robert Porterfield, founder of the theatre, offered admission by letting the local people pay with food goods, hence the name "Barter". The original ticket price for a play was 40 cents, or the equivalent in goods.
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, Kevin Spacey, Larry Linville, John Glover, Jim Varney, and Wayne Knight.