Barter Theatre’s artistic director to step down after 27 years

It’s the end of an era for Barter Theatre. After 27 years, artistic director Richard Rose announced his retirement from the theater on Thursday, effective Dec. 31.

“I’ve had the honor to be able to lead Barter Theatre over the last 27 years,” Rose said in a statement. “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.”

Speaking to the Press, Rose said he’s honored to have been a part of Barter for so long, and that it was an emotional decision, but he’s excited to move on and spend more time with his family.

“The emotional part of the journey is saying goodbye,” Rose said. “We’ve bonded very special over Barter Theatre, and there’s always a(n emotional) feeling leaving something important.”

Rose said the decision to retire has been a long time coming, and that a plan has been in the works for a few years. As they prepared to announce the theater’s 2020 season, however, Rose knew it was time to call it a career.

“We’ve all done this together,” Rose said of his decision to retire, adding that it was “very special” to be able to make the announcement surrounded by his friends and workmates.

Stepping into Rose’s role will be 21-year Barter veteran Katy Brown, who Rose expects to succeed and hit the ground running.

“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,” Rose said. “I have no doubt Katy will lead Barter with distinction and grace into a bright and incredible future.”

In a statement from Barter, Brown said she is grateful to have learned and grown up there, and that she was “especially grateful” to Rose, who hoped Brown would be named his successor, though Rose said he didn’t pressure the board to do so.

“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,” Brown’s statement read.

In his time with the theater, Rose director over 150 productions, and will serve as producing artistic advisor throughout the year as Brown transitions into her new role. He’ll end his storied career directing one of his favorite plays, “White Christmas,” which will open on Nov. 15.

“We’ve accomplished a lot and there’s been some truly spectacular memories we’ve made and created and I think those will stick with me and many others for a long time,” Rose said. “We truly created something very unique and special here.”