COVID-19 affects Barter Theatre

Published 8:24 am Tuesday, March 24, 2020

ABINGDON, Va. — Barter Theatre is now targeting the end of May for the start of its 2020 season.

After a 2019 budget shortfall, Barter launched an urgent fundraising campaign, and underwent significant organizational changes that resulted in a strong financial start to Barter’s 2020 season. The unforeseeable catastrophe of the coronavirus pandemic has put a sudden halt on Barter’s positive trajectory.

Barter’s aggressive measures to reduce costs include furloughing 87 staff members and moving the remainder to reduced wages. Barter is also working to find alternative sources of revenue, but these actions alone will not be enough to sustain the company through this difficult time. To ensure that Barter is able to reopen for the 2020 season, it has created a COVID-19 Relief Fund, and is asking patrons to consider purchasing Barter gift cards or tickets for shows later in the year.

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In addition to the history and culture that Barter contributes, a 2013 economic impact study reported that Barter directly and indirectly generates $34 million annually in local business and tax revenue.

To learn more about Barter’s plan for the coming weeks and to read a statement from Producing Artistic Director, Katy Brown, visit

About Barter Theatre

Barter Theatre, the nation’s longest running professional theatre, is located in Abingdon, Va. The theatre opened in 1933 during the Great Depression. Founder Robert Porterfield offered patrons admission to the theatre by bartering food and livestock. Barter Theatre was designated as the State Theatre of Virginia in 1946. It exists today as one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theaters remaining in the United States.  Barter Theatre is funded in part by The Virginia Commission for the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.