Founded in 1933 with the commitment to make quality theatre affordable by letting patrons trade produce for admission, Barter Theatre is one of the nation’s longest-running professional Equity theatres. Under the leadership of Richard Rose, Producing Artistic Director, Barter offers 23 full productions in repertory during 2015 at its three stages in Abingdon, VA (pop. 8,000). As the premiere tourist attraction in southwest Virginia, Barter draws 160,000 patrons annually who help generate $34 million in local business and tax revenue, meaning every $1 spent at Barter generates $10 locally. Designated the State Theatre of Virginia in 1946, in 1947 Barter became the first regional theatre to receive a Tony Award. In 1979, Barter received the first Virginia Governor's Award for Excellence in Arts, and is the only Virginia arts organization to twice receive the Dominion Arts Stars Shining Star Award for extraordinary artistic and community impact. Barter Theatre’s education programs touch the lives of 65,000 students each year through world-class productions of The Barter Players and other unduplicated services such as the Young Playwright’s Festival, Barter Youth Academy, student matinees and Barter’s ground-breaking initiative called Project REAL (Reinforcing Education through Artistic Learning.) The Barter Players are worthy heirs of Barter’s legacy of Shakespeare productions, having mounted five works of Shakespeare since 2010. The Othello project—with matinee performances, pre- and post-show workshops and in-school workshops-- will benefit economically disadvantaged students at over 20 schools in the region, providing access to the arts that would otherwise be absent.