Barter Theatre welcomes Amanda Leslie as its new director of marketing. Barter administrators say Leslie's previous experience as managing director for North Carolina Stage Company in Asheville, NC, will bring new fresh ideas and great skills to the region.
Leslie was installed as director of marketing at Barter Theatre, Abingdon, Va, on Monday Dec. 3. Barter had been interviewing and evaluating candidates for the position since June of this year. Leslie now serves as head of the marketing department where her duties will include marketing an array of programs to Barter's more than 160,000 annual visitors and promoting both of Barter's unique stages and children's programs along with working with all of the attractions from the region to bring tourists into Southwestern Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee.
In the selection process, Barter was attracted to Leslie's unique experience with theatre marketing. "We saw in her resume lots of skills that fit the position well and some unexpected talents," said Lori Hester, director of patron services at Barter. "In our interviews, Amanda's personality really shone. She has a big vision for Barter; we were also attracted to her understanding of theatre and her ability to see what patrons look for in choosing their theatre experiences. She understands tourism marketing as well."
This vision was displayed in her work with North Carolina Stage Company. "It was wonderful," said Leslie of her time in Asheville. "I was there almost nine years. It's a relatively young theatre only in its eleventh season. I was able to grow with them and learn by doing."
In Asheville, Leslie managed a range of programs including The Catalyst Series, which she says provided a venue for artists with limited funds but a wealth of "talent, passion and ambition," and LiveWireAsheville.com, an accumulation of artists and art forms in the Asheville area. "There is power in working together," said Leslie. "Arts organizations are less in competition with each other than video games and Netflix. If we can make live performance part of your life, that's half the battle."
There are some distinct similarities between Asheville and Abingdon said Leslie. "I've been here less than two weeks," said Leslie. "I can already see it has the same classic small town charm, especially in Main Street. There is a walkable downtown and you can experience the town as a whole."
Leslie is relatively new to Abingdon, but her fiancé, Andrew Livingston, worked locally as an actor at Barter in 2009, and they look forward to "putting down roots" in the area, said Leslie.
Leslie says Abingdon and Barter have a strong family appeal which drew her to the area, and attributes some of Abingdon's charm to the artistic esteem of the community. "There is a clear love of the arts," said Leslie. "It's clear how vital art and Barter Theatre are to Abingdon and its community."
Abingdon's artistic value and Leslie's affinity for the arts are a cause for excitement according to Barter Producing Artistic Director, Richard Rose, "Telling the story of theatre through marketing is a unique challenge and one not frequently understood in the world of marketing." Rose continued, "Amanda Leslie brings some new and refreshing skills to Barter's strong marketing efforts. She possess very strong strategic and branding ideas that will help Barter and the region to attract an even larger audience base and expand the marketing efforts of our entire region. We are all very excited that Amanda has chosen to join our excellent marketing team here at Barter Theatre."
This excitement is shared by Barter's new Director of Marketing. "I am really excited about this opportunity and the new challenge," said Leslie. "I love Barter's rich history. I love how deeply it touches so many, and how it is such a vital part of the community."