Berkshire Festival Showcase Celebrate Arts Made Locally

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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The Gaea Goddesses perform Friday at the Colonial Theater.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In a performance-packed, three-day event that spans Pittsfield to Stockbridge, Berkshire Theatre Group and a special board of organizers chaired by Gov. Deval Patrick will celebrate nearly 150 artists presenting works from all mediums created in the Berkshires.

The arts showcase, curated by Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims, is now in its second year, and offers a diverse array of carefully selected offerings from artists who live in or have ties to the Berkshire area.

"The festival was such a huge success last year," said Berkshire Theatre Group CEO Kate Maguire in a statement, "co-curators Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims have, once again, helped put the spotlight on the incredibly vibrant arts community in our region. The 2012 festival will take place over a single weekend; with eight performance blocks utilizing both the Colonial and the Stockbridge theatre facilities."

The event will kick off at the Colonial in conjunction with the 5 to 7 p.m. monthly Artswalk held the first Friday of every month, with an exhibition in the lobby featuring Maggie Mailer, Morgan Bulkeley, Cynthia Wick, Bruno Quinson, Susan Merrill, Ann Getsinger, Helga S. Orthofer and Christine Casara.

This will be followed with the short film "Facing Berkshire Heritage" by Michael Sinopoli and Nick De Candia, music by the Beeline Ramblers, then several more overlapping blocks of dance, theater, film,  music and talks featuring such local talents as Ellen Joffe, Alison Larkin, Jenn Gomez, Stephen Dankner, Rachel Siegel, the Gaia Goddesses and more. Full program listing is here.

Friday night's festivities will conclude with a local food and wine party called "Taste of the Berkshires" (which is not to be confused with the Junior League's annual "Taste of the Berkshires" event that will celebrate its fifth year Nov. 1 at the Masonic Temple.)

Dawn Lane and her Moving Company, top, take the stage on Sunday night. Gov. Deval Patrick is honorary chairman.
Friday may also feature an appearance by Patrick at about 7:30, though Deely said Thursday this was still somewhat "up in the air" and will depend on the governor's other scheduling factors.

Saturday, the event will continue on BTG's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, with theatrical works by 10 different playwrights and writers, from shorts to full length plays. At 6 p.m., action will relocate back to the Colonial with several more acts of music and spoken word. Additional film offerings Saturday night will include a special tribute to recently deceased filmmaker Sanjiban Sellew. "Remembering Sanjiban Sellew" by Lawrence Burke and John Sellew will be followed by a collage of the legendary Berkshirite's films and a short story by Sellew titled "A Thief Dressed in White."

Sunday will feature more theater on the Unicorn stage, with works by and based on diverse pens from Edith Wharton to Emily DeVoti, with extensive casts of prominent local thespians and luminaries, from Kate McGuire and Kim Taylor to teen Caroline Fairweather, who enjoys a rapidly growing reputation as one of the region's most promising young talents to watch. 

Back at the Colonial on Sunday night, even more live music will bookend a two hour performance of Jazz Vignettes, choreographed by Vincent Brewer and featuring a host of eminent dancers in a series that blends music, poetry and performance.

After more than 48 hours heavily packed with performance blocks, the festival will end late Sunday evening with a party featuring acclaimed New York City/Berkshire transplant jazz singer Bronte Roman.

Tickets range from $15 for a single event to $50 a night or $100 for the entire three days, and are available through the Colonial Box Office at 413-997-4444 or at

Tags: cultural event,   

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