Barter Theatre director says new COVID-19 protocol will protect actors, audience

Local

ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – Barter Theatre was one of the first local entertainment venues to announce new COVID-19 protocols following President Biden’s plea to help in the fight against COVID-19 by requiring vaccinations for those attending events.

Those attending indoor shows must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.

Barter Theatre Producing Artistic Director Katy Brown said theatre officials had actually been talking about implementing the stricter protocol for a while now.

“In talking with our medical advisory board in the last couple of weeks and looking at the rising caseload, we really felt like this would be the safest thing for everybody involved,” Brown said.

Brown said she and her staff wanted to still be able to hold indoor shows safely, especially since actors perform unmasked.

“We want to make sure that we can get people back inside of the theatre, so we can have the biggest economic impact possible on the region,” Brown said.

Brown said they’ve received various reactions since the announcement, but people who already have tickets and don’t want to comply can get a refund or switch to a show at the Moonlite Drive-In.

“We’ve had lots of different reactions,” Brown said. “We’ve been making sure to reach out to everyone who had tickets already.”

Brown said they’re going to continue doing shows at the Moonlite Drive-In as well, at least through the Christmas season.

“This is such an important place for everybody in the community,” Brown said. “People’s grandparents came here, people’s parents came here, people have been coming since they are children. We really belong to this community.”

The next show inside the Barter Theatre will be “Frankenstein” opening on September 30.

To see the full list of new protocols and procedures, click here.

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