Allen P. Harris, of Berkshire Money Management, program founder Enrico Spada and Mayor Daniel Bianchi announced the series on Tuesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For Enrico Spada, it is a dream come true. A midsummer's night dream, in fact.
The local businessman and actor announced Tuesday a series of free, outdoor plays will be coming to Springside Park this summer.
Spada, in partnership with the city, is launching eight free performances of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" from July 17-27.
"One of the things I've thought the Berkshires needed was this program," he said of a goal he set just a few years earlier.
Spada operates a graphics design business, but has also been teaching in Shakespeare & Company's youth programs for a number of years.
He brought the idea to the Parks Commission last fall.
The Shakespeare in the Park performances will include full lighting and sound and feature local actors. Additionally, Shakespeare & Company has volunteered to reach out to high schools and younger children to perform various roles in the play. The performances, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, are expected to be another cultural attraction to build on the city's arts scene.
"We really want people to enjoy the arts for the sake of the arts. We want the community to be enriched culturally," said Allen P. Harris of Berkshire Money Management, who is the lead sponsor for the performances.
Mayor Daniel Bianchi said the program will grow the economic base the arts contribute to the Berkshires by exposing more people to arts. With the performances being free, Spada said the barriers keeping some people from experiencing Shakespeare are broken.
"The stories and themes he writes about are huge, bold and timeless," Spada said of the benefits of people being exposed to the Bard. "I think that Shakespeare is a very important part of our heritage."
However, with all of the approvals and commitments in place, Spada said organizers are still looking to raise $25,000. They'll be launching a fundraising campaign for lighting, props and sound equipment, and to pay the staff and actors.
"The biggest expense is the lights and sound," Spada said.
Berkshire Money Management is matching $5,000 of donations brought in through the Indiegogo funding campaign during the first 10 days of launch, beginning Wednesday. Local artisans have contributed gifts for those who donate — and those who donate more than $1,000 will receive a "cameo" in the play.
"It's a big project," Harris said. "We have a challenge out there for the community."
The auditions are Saturday, April 12, from 10 to 4, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Ave., followed by three weeks of rehearsals. During that period, the actors will be holding workshops and working with schools.
"I know Shakespeare & Company has been very much involved with the kids in high school," Bianchi said. "We are so very thankful to have them involved [in this project]."
For more information, contact Spada at firstname.lastname@example.org