1939

Robert Porterfield establishes the Barter Theatre Award Luncheon in New York City, given to the actor or actress who had made the most memorable contribution to the theatre during the previous year. The award consisted of a Virginia ham, a silver platter to eat it off of, and an acre of Southwest Virginia mountainside.

1946

Barter is designated The State Theatre of Virginia, making it the first professional theatre to attain this status.

1948

Barter wins the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Award for Regional Theatre.

1956

Barter establishes the annual “Ernest Borgnine Award” to honor the best new actor of each season. Borgnine, a Barter Alum, won an Oscar preceding this event.

1963

President Kennedy praises Robert Porterfield for Barter Theatre.

1978

Renovation of the Barter Playhouse is completed and to be used for new, experimental and innovative works. You know this space today as Barter’s Smith Theatre.

1979

Barter is given their first ever Virginia Governor’s Award for Excellence in Art.

1993

The First Light Theatre is founded, providing live theatre for young audiences.

1995

Patricia Neal, a Barter Alum, visits for Barter’s Day of the Woman, during which the Patricia Neal Scholarship for Barter acting interns is founded.

1996

Barter is one of three theatres in the U.S. to receive a challenge grant in the amount of $150,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Barter premiers in Rybinsk, Russia, with The Angel’s Share marking the beginning of a continuing exchange between the Rybinsk Municipal Drama Theatre and Barter. In the summer of the same year, Rybinsk Theatre presents three plays in repertory at the Barter.

1997

Barter goes Off-Broadway for the first time since the 1960’s with Doctors and Diseases. Barter receives Commonwealth of Virginia decree from Legislator in honor of Barter’s 65th Birthday Season.