ABINGDON, VA. – In conjunction with the unveiling of Barter Theatre’s 2020 season, Richard Rose announced his plans to retire from the organization Dec. 31. Rose is leaving his post as producing artistic director after a long and storied career, including 27 years of dedicated service at Barter Theatre and over 150 productions directed. He is known throughout the region and the country as a bold and innovative leader who propelled Barter Theatre to unprecedented success and acclaim.
“It is hard to accurately portray what Rick Rose has meant to Barter Theatre, or how great of an impact he has had on the arts in our region,” said Kyle Macione, president of Barter’s Board of Trustees. “Anyone who knows Rick understands his deep, unwavering love of Barter Theatre, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, we sincerely thank him for his many years of leadership and wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”
Rose will serve as producing artistic advisor throughout the remainder of the year, facilitating a smooth transition in leadership and directing one of his favorite plays this holiday season with Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” the holiday classic tale of joy and goodwill.
“I’ve had the honor to be able to lead Barter Theatre over the last 27 years. Interacting with all of the truly wonderful patrons, the many passionate and excellent members of Barter’s Board of Trustees, and the truly exceptional talent that has graced the Barter stage are among the greatest joys of my life,” said Richard Rose. “We have been planning a leadership transition for Barter Theatre over the past several years, and now is the time for this transition to occur. In my life, it is time for me to spend more quality time with my wife, Amanda, and enjoy a new chapter in our life as well. Katy Brown is a spectacularly capable professional who, after many years here herself, shares a deep passion for Barter, its mission, and the people we serve. I have no doubt Katy will lead Barter with distinction and grace into a bright and incredible future.”
In keeping with the organization’s Board-approved succession plan, Katy Brown, Barter’s associate artistic director, has been appointed producing artistic director, taking over leadership of the theatre. Brown becomes the fourth artistic director in the theatre’s 86-year history and the organization’s first female chief executive. In her twenty-first year at Barter, Katy Brown has directed over 100 professional productions, and she has served as artistic director for both The Barter Players and The Barter Players Encore Company.
“I am so grateful to have had the chance to learn and grow here at Barter, and I am especially grateful to Rick Rose for all the opportunities he has given me and this company over the years,” said Katy Brown. “Barter is made up of an amazing group of artists and dedicated professionals, and I could not be more excited to collaborate with them, and the people of this region, in building a strong and sustainable future.”
“In my nearly two decades of Board service with Barter Theatre, I have had the pleasure of working with Katy Brown, seeing firsthand her work ethic, and watching on stage the tremendous final product of her artistic and directing capabilities,” Macione said. “Katy is well-suited to the producing artistic director position, and she has the full support of the Board of Trustees as she assumes this critical role. We congratulate her and look forward to her leadership in the years ahead.”