As Roadside Theater artists toured the country telling their Appalachian story from the inside out, they also began listening to the stories of others, as told by companies creating theater from their particular history and culture.
In 1981, in response to increasing Ku Klux Klan activity in the South, Roadside and Junebug Productions, an African-American company from New Orleans, began performing for each other's home audiences – one predominately white, the other black, both low to moderate income.
The success of these exchanges led Junebug and Roadside to work together to create two jointly developed plays, Junebug/Jack and RoadBug, which toured nationally for eight years, and played an important role in the development of Roadside's community cultural development methodology.
In 2000-2002, Pregones Theater, a Puerto Rican company from the Bronx, New York, with which Roadside and Junebug had been conducting exchanges, joined the two companies in creating and touring Promise of a Love Song, a musical play of stories from the three cultures. And in 2006, Roadside, Pregones, and Beegie Adair (jazz pianist and composer) began creating Betsy, a musical play.
For the past 30 years, Roadside has conducted, and continues to conduct, a cultural exchange with traditional Native American artists in Zuni, New Mexico, which has resulted in the founding of Idiwanan An Chawe, the first Zuni language theater company. Roadside and Idiwanan An Chawe co-created Corn Mountain/Pine Mountain: Following the Seasons, a bilingual play.
These collaborations humanize the issues of race and class by speaking to cultural differences as well as common experiences. Their success depends on extensive, long-term exchange between the theater companies, their audiences, and their home communities.