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.
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Children Learn About Wildlife at Richmond Free Library
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
Children pet Chili the chinchilla.
RICHMOND, Mass. — There were some furry and feathery guests of honor at the Richmond Free Library this weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, founder of Nature Matters Jennifer Leahey wowed local children and parents with a presentation of live animals.
This event was sponsored by the Richmond Cultural Council, said Library Director Kristin Smith. "We are grateful for their continued support."
Though this is not the first time the library has hosted an animal event, it was Nature Matter's first time here. The event was at full capacity, and each of the socially distanced chairs placed in a semi-circle full of eager animal lovers.
The presentation was aimed at families and children of all ages. Leahey was chosen by the library because her programs are about connecting people with animals, because she rescues animals and turns those that cannot be released into animal educators, and because she is from Berkshire County, Smith said.
Additionally, this presentation was a safe, socially distanced event where all attendees wore masks.
Much of Berkshire Community College's original establishment is because of the work done by former state Rep. Thomas C. Wojtkowski of Pittsfield, who represented what was then the 5th Berkshire District.
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