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Barter Players bring Twain classic to Louisa

Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 5:00 am

Phillip Rast (l to r), Tyler Cramer, Garrett Houston and Jake Dailey delivered a performance of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” that was filled with childish glee and juvenile hilarity.

For the 16th year, the Barter Players of Abingdon, Virginia returned to Louisa County Friday to deliver performances to the schools, as well as the Louisa Arts Center.

Presented by the Louisa County Rotary Club and Dominion Energy, this year’s play was the Barter Theater’s  adaptation of the Mark Twain classic, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” It was a tale filled with boyhood romance, childish adventure and the inevitable coming-of-age.

About 650 Louisa County elementary school students enjoyed The Players’ performance of “The Princess and the Pea,” earlier in the day, while 350 middle school students were treated to a performance of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

Pat Hanley, chairman of the Rotary Club’s Barter Players Program, said it’s an event they look forward to every year.

“We love having these wonderful actors out every year, and having them bring the arts to both Louisa’s students and the community,” Hanley said.

The event, which drew 190 people for the Friday night show, is a product of the partnership between Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation and the Louisa County Rotary Club. The Rotary Club, one of the world’s oldest and largest charitable organizations, contributes to many causes, most notably Louisa County Public Schools.

The State Theater of Virginia, more commonly known as the Barter Theater, opened on June 10, 1933, making it the oldest professional theater in the United States. Along with their host of resident and associate resident actors, the Barter Theater brings together a small group of young actors to travel around the state and perform adaptations of well-known and classic stories from throughout history.

The adaptations are written in-house by Catherine Bush, the Barter Players’ resident playwright, to be performed in one act by a small group of actors with little to no set design. Garrett Houston, who played the lead role of Tom Sawyer, said that while it presents a great deal of challenges,  this system has a great deal of benefit in return.

(Article by Andrew Hollins)

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Feb. 28, 2019 issue.

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