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Barter Theatre returns to its roots with Barter Days

Holly Nelms • Jun 8, 2017 at 6:30 PM

ABINGDON — Barter Theatre will stay true to its name next week with Barter Days, which will allow patrons to trade food items for show tickets.

This year’s Barter Days will include “The Cottage” on June 13 at 7:30 p.m., “The Savannah Sipping Society” on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. and “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” on June 17 at 10 a.m.

Barter Theatre, the nation’s longest-running professional theatre, opened in 1933 during the Great Depression, according to a press release. Robert Porterfield, the founder of the theatre, allowed patrons to exchange food and livestock for show tickets, which is how the venue got its name.

Though the theatre has changed over the years, it has celebrated its bartering heritage with Barter Days since 1993, offering barter tickets to three shows every summer.

All bartered food is donated to Feeding America Southwest Virginia, a food bank that serves 26 counties and 10 cities in the region. Damean Matthews, communication associate for Barter Theatre, said the theatre collected more than 2,000 pounds of food in 2014 and more than 3,000 pounds in 2015.

A limited number of barter tickets will be available for each performance, and no advance reservations can be made for them. Patrons are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items that are equivalent to the cost of a ticket, if possible.

Theatre staff will begin collecting food one hour before each show begins, and tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Anyone interested is reminded that these events are usually very popular, so it is recommended to arrive early,” the press release states.

For more information, visit www.bartertheatre.com.

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