Barter Theatre, which was founded on the principle of bartering crops and other goods for tickets to a show, continues tradition this summer with the return of “Barter Days” by once again, allowing patrons to trade canned and dried goods for admission to the theatre.
Barter Theatre will be hosting three “Barter Days” on June 13, 14 and 15. On these days, Feeding America Southwest Virginia will partner with Barter to allow patrons an opportunity to see a show at no cost while helping those in need in the community.
“Barter” performances will include: “Steel Magnolias” on Wednesday, June 13, at 7:30 p.m.; “The Lemonade Stand” on Thursday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m.; and “Billy, Goat, Gruff: The Musical” on Friday, June 15, at 10:00 a.m. Each of these shows is deemed appropriate for attendance by all ages.
In 1933, during the Great Depression, Robert Porterfield founded Barter Theatre on the idea that “with vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh.” Porterfield’s concept caught on quickly and by the end of the first season, the Barter Company cleared $4.35 in cash, two barrels of jelly and a collective weight gain of over 300 pounds.
On “Barter Days” no advanced reservations can be made for tickets that will be purchased with goods. Tickets are distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis with a limited number of seats available. For further information about ‘Barter Day’ policies or shows, patrons can visit bartertheatre.com or call the Barter Theatre box office at 276-628-3991.
Barter Theatre is funded in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Photo: Robert Porterfield barters with a patron in the early days of Barter Theatre.