The Barter Theater Story: Love Made Visible


The Barter Theater Story: Love Made Visible


Published in 1982, The Barter Theatre Story: Love Made Visible tells the colorful history of a remarkable American cultural institution. Opened by native Virginian Robert Porterfield in 1933, the Barter Theatre offered the people of Abingdon, Virginia, and the surrounding area entertainment and a much-needed escape from their Depression-era working lives. It became the State Theatre of Virginia in 1946 and it is where the likes of Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, and Hume Cronyn got their starts. Mark Dawidziak, a journalist from New York who spent much of his twenties in Appalachia and grew to admire the theater, tells the improbable story of the Barter Theatre, which remains one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theaters in the country.

Download EPub

UNC Press Print on Demand


Barter Theatre (Abingdon, Va.)
Porterfield, Robert, 1905-1971


Mark Dawidziak

Date Copyrighted



CC BY-NC-ND: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.

Rights Holder

Appalachian State University

Social Bookmarking


Mark Dawidziak, “The Barter Theater Story: Love Made Visible,” Appalachian State University Digital Collections, accessed June 24, 2018,