It was through a local actor's love of theatre that Abingdon's most well known attraction was born. The Barter Theatre originally opened in the 1930's when Robert Porterfield, an unemployed actor and native of Southwest Virginia, brought a troupe of actors to Abingdon. The ticket price was 35 cents but as the country was in the grips of the Great Depression not all patrons could afford the price. Porterfield's desire to allow everyone the opportunity to attend the show gave rise to the theatre's name. Porterfield would accept the equivalent of the ticket price in produce thus, the playhouse became known as the “Barter Theater”. Today the Barter Theatre is honored as the State Theatre of Virginia.