Barter Theatre Panics Over Cuts in Government Largess 2011

by Lewis Loflin

Cuts by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts has spread panic at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon,Virginia. Even after handing millions of illegal tax dollars to non-profits to promote the Barter and other basket case tourism venues across Southwest Virginia, cuts in government largess is now taking a toll. They may join the failed Ralph Stanley House, William E. King Art Center, and the Story Telling Center in Tennessee.

The Barter Theatre is $400,000 short on their current fundraising drive. To quote Richard Rose Barter Theatre's artistic director:

"Certainly government cuts, particularly with the National Endowment for the Arts, and certainly on the state level make a difference. They've certainly upped the ante for us in terms of having to rely more individual patrons...With the kids we work with this is an experience that they wouldn't normally get and we like to expose them to different things. So a reasonable increase in ticket prices wouldn't hurt us."

They always fall back on "kids" to sucker the school system and local government out of money. Mr. Rose claims without more loot performances and programs may have to be cut. I predict the Virginia Tobacco Commission will call this once again "economic development" and misuse more taxpayer funds to bail out yet another non-profit. They have until the end of 2011. I suggest he raise ticket prices, get a real business plan, or shut the doors. Ref. BHC November 22, 2011

Definition of largess: "Liberality in bestowing gifts, especially in a lofty or condescending manner."

About Barter Theatre

The 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 admittance by letting the local people pay with food goods, hence the name "Barter".

In 1946, Barter Theatre was designated the State Theatre of Virginia. Many well-known stars of stage, screen and television have launched their careers at Barter, including Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, Hume Cronyn, Gary Collins, Frances Fisher, Kevin Spacey, Larry Linville and Wayne Knight. On The Lot winner Will Bigham acted at Barter Theatre for many years before pursuing a film career alongside his wife Catherine Gray.

In 2008 the Barter Theatre celebrated its 75th anniversary. Located in the wealthiest community in Southwest, Virginia, it's part of a vast system of taxpayer-funded amusement parks for the local rich. It was also in financial trouble even with taxpayer bailouts.

Since 2008 the Barter Theatre has had endless financial problems due to decreasing government handouts.

Please support the Barter Theatre. Visit their website at

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