Experience...the Difference. Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia, is a regional treasure and nationally recognized professional theatre. Enjoy up to four shows in two days. Two theatres bring audiences a great selection of comedies, musicals, dramas and new works year-round. Enhance your Barter experience with special packages. Also, visit The Barter Cafe at Barter Stage II. Barter was founded during the Great Depression by Robert Porterfield, an out of work actor living in New York who saw an abundance of food in his homeland SW VA, but no live theatre. He opened the doors in 1933 proclaiming, "With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh." Gregory Peck, Ernest Bognine, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, Hume Cronyn, Gary Collins and Larry Linville are among the stars who have begun their careers at the Barter.