A! Magazine for the Arts

Barter Theatre celebrates the holiday season with seasonal plays

October 30, 2023

Barter Theatre, Abingdon, Virginia, has three holiday plays scheduled for this season.

“Miracle on 34th Street” opens Nov. 16 on the Gilliam Stage.

It’s the story of the year when Macy’s Santa Claus claims to be the real Kris Kringle. When he is put on trial to prove it, it’s up to a little girl’s belief in miracles, a kindly lawyer, and a lot of Christmas spirit to save the day. Join us for the musical of one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time.

Barter Connects offers a related event Dec. 9 following the 2 p.m. performance. Doris’s daughter Susan doesn’t believe in Santa Claus... and then Susan meets Kris Kringle, the new Santa at Macy’s Department Store. Kris and his goodness slowly chip away at Susan’s cynicism until her faith is restored, just part of the “Miracle on 34th Street.” Barter loves the joy Santa brings to children at Christmas, and to that end welcomes to the stage Don Royston, a.k.a. Santa Claus from the Appalachian Santa Train. The Appalachian Santa Train is sponsored by the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. This year makes Royston’s 25th portraying the jolly old elf, distributing toys, food, clothing and candy to thousands of people along the train’s 14 stops from Pikeville, Kentucky, to Kingsport, Tennessee. Royston shares memories and stories from his time on the most wonderful train of all.

“I’ll be Home for Christmas” opens Nov. 22 in the Smith Theatre.

It’s Dec. 24 in a busy airport, and newly-divorced gate agent Cheryl Dean is desperately trying to keep her Christmas spirit as she deals with a host of zany characters flying home for the holidays. An opinionated grandmother, a young man with big dreams, a champion turkey caller and more are stuck in the airport as the night wears on. People will fall in love, get on each other’s nerves, and maybe even end up with the happiest Christmas they’ve ever had in the unlikeliest of places.

Barter Connects offers a related event Dec. 22 following the 8 p.m. performance. Whether by land, by sea, or by air, every Christmas, millions of Americans find themselves traveling to the place they love best – home – and the characters in “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” are no exception. Join Producing Artistic Director Katy Brown and resident actor Hannah Ingram as they talk with local travel agents about the challenges faced by these characters. These travel experts also share tips for staying stress-free while traveling during the holiday season. At the end of the session, there will be time for you to share stories of your own traveling nightmares.

The Barter Players perform “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” which opens Nov. 28 at the Gilliam Stage.

It’s Christmas time at the Cincinnati Zoo, and everyone there eagerly anticipates the birth of Bella, the zoo’s first baby hippo. Seven-year-old Lois Jean, the zookeeper’s daughter, is especially excited—she’s counting on Bella to reunite her family in time for the holidays. Then the unexpected happens, and only one person can prevent tragedy. Will Santa arrive in time to save Bella—and Christmas? A heartwarming musical adventure for the whole family.

For more information, visit www.bartertheatre.org or call 276-628-3991.