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The Parks Commission responded favorably to the idea of outdoor performances.

Artist Looks to Launch Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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A local actor is looking to bring Shakespeare to Pittsfield's parks next summer, with possible evening performances at Springside.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lenox actor and businessman Enrico Spada is seeking to expand the Berkshires' seasonal theater offerings with a new series of free outdoor performances in Pittsfield planned for summer 2014.
 
The proposed "Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park," Spada told the city's Parks Commission on Tuesday, would include eight nights of quality professional theater under the stars tentatively scheduled for either July or August of the coming year.
 
"I think it's something that Pittsfield would benefit from," said Spada, "Especially the families that may not have the time or funds to get out to Barrington Stage or Shakespeare & Company."
 
Spada, who has worked for several years as marketing manager at Lenox's Shakespeare & Company as well as having his own graphic design business, says the idea is still in an "exploratory" phase, but has already enjoyed support from the city's Office of Cultural Development and the mayor. Shakespeare & Company has also given the idea its "blessing," a situation Spada said he hopes will eventually mature into deeper support and partnership*.
 
"Those are conversations that are ongoing, so we'll see how that pans out," he said.
 
Other support will also be needed, as the project has an estimated budget of $40,000, which the organizer will look to cover through the help of grants, local foundations, donors and other fundraising efforts.
 
In addition to paying actors, these funds will defray the costs of sound and lighting equipment, set design, costumes and a professional director and stage manager for the eight-show series.

Spada is considering nighttime performances at Springside Park, though he said other parks are also under consideration.

"The idea of having it under the stars at night ... creates more of a party, celebratory atmosphere," Spada told the Parks Commission.
 
Parks Recreation Coordinator Rebecca Tefft said the presentation was simply an initial advisory to the commission, and once more details were fleshed out the series would need to go through the customary process of permitting for park events.
 
"There's a lot more than just the Parks Commission involved in this," said Tefft. "Tonight was just proposing this to the commission to see what your thoughts were."
 
"It's a great idea," said commission member Clifford Nilan.
 
"Keep us updated," said commission Chair Dr. John Herman. "We'll want to know how it progresses."
 
*Clarification on Oct. 28, 2013: As stated in the article, Shakespeare & Company is endorsing the idea of public performances but other than that is not in any way affiliated with the initiative.

Tags: free theater,   parks commission,   public parks,   Shakespeare & Company,   Springside Park,   

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Berkshire County Kids' Place Gala Celebrates Courage

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Michael Supranowicz was presented with the Founders Award. He was president of the Kids' Place board for two years and retired from Hillcrest Educational Centers. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The "Wizard of Oz's" the Cowardly Lion finds his courage by facing his fears with the help of his friends. 
 
"Like the Lion, many children just need someone to help them realize that the courage they need to heal from the abuse they have suffered is already inside of them," said Rosemarie  Phelps, chairman of the Berkshire County Kids' Place Board of Directors. "For 26 years, the Kids' Place has helped lead these children and their families down the path to recovery."
 
The path on Friday night was a yellow brick road to "A Night in the Emerald City," the theme for these year's fundraising gala for the nonprofit that was held at Country Club of Pittsfield. Phelps donned a purple witch's hat to welcome guests to the event that also included recognition of several individuals for their work for Kids' Place. 
 
Berkshire County Kids' Place has been providing a safe and healing place for abused children for more than a quarter century. The agency is funded through the state Department of Children and Families, grants and donations. It works closely with related agencies and the Berkshire County district attorney's office to serve the more than 400 children that pass through its doors each year. 
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