(Editor’s note: This is a weekly series interviewing community leaders to share their thoughts and goals for the community.)
Allan Barlow is managing director of the Ragged Edge Community Theatre. He relocated to Kentucky specifically for the position in 2016 after acting in several area plays.
“I had been spending a lot of time in Harrodsburg doing my one man Christmas Carol and James Harrod,” said Barlow. “When the position was vacant, I was ready to make Harrodsburg my home.”
Barlow was born in Montana and relocated to Tennessee as a teenager with his family.
“I graduated high school and college in Tennessee and joined The Institute for Outdoor Drama in North Carolina in 1981,” said Barlow. “I came to Harrodsburg for the first time in 1981 to participate in the outdoor drama, “The Legend of Daniel Boone.” In 1983, I actually played Daniel Boone.”
Barlow said he spent the three best summers of his life in Harrodsburg in the 1980s and it left a lasting impression.
Barlow’s career led him to see 48 of the 50 states while acting, teaching and writing for over 30 years before finding his way back to Harrodsburg in 2011.
“I was introduced to Tagan, the managing director of Ragged Edge at the time and pitched her my one-man Christmas Carol,” said Barlow. “It ran in Harrodsburg for four years. I was doing James Harrod in the summers too. I was spending a great deal of time here.”
In addition to acting and writing, Barlow started several after school drama programs in the Seattle area.
“Everywhere in the country, when budgets need to be cut, the arts are the first to go,” said Barlow. “So there was a need for drama programs. The kids and parents loved it.”
Barlow said it is his goal to start similar programs here in Mercer County.
“It has always been a stated goal to start youth drama programs,” said Barlow. “We just need staff and a place to hold them and I have the curriculum.”
Barlow is very proud of the momentum Ragged Edge has achieved over the last few years.
“We have seen double digit growth in every aspect of the theatre over the last two years,” said Barlow. “We want to continue to build audiences and have our shows be something for people to talk about.”
Barlow believes word of mouth recommendations have greater impact than any advertisements.
“If we keep offering top notch shows, people will talk about them and more people will come,” said Barlow. “Advertisement is important but if people enjoy themselves and talk about them, it means a lot.”
Barlow said Harrodsburg has a wealth of culture, history and talent.
“Harrodsburg has so much potential to be a tourist destination unlike any other,” said Barlow. “Being a part of the community, bringing tourist entertainment and building working relationships with local restaurants is our goal.”
Barlow said he is already working with community organizations to further tourism in the area.
For more information on Barlow or the Ragged Edge Community Theatre visit their website at raggededgetheatre.org.
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