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Pittsfield High Schools Set June 7 for Virtual Graduation

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Public Schools will hold virtual graduation ceremonies on Sunday, June 7, for Taconic and Pittsfield high schools. 
 
And, if conditions improve enough from the novel coronavirus pandemic, Superintendent Jason McCandless hopes to present diplomas to the class of 2020 in person on July 18. 
 
The virtual ceremonies will be aired on Pittsfield Community Television on Channel 1302 on Spectrum Cable, and on YouTube
 
Pittsfield High School's graduation will air Sunday at 1 p.m., and the Taconic High School's program will begin at 2 p.m. on the same day.
 
"The accomplishments of the class of 2020 are second to none. This group of students, born into a world shaped by the horrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, and graduating from high school in the midst of a pandemic, have shown grit, determination, and a focus on serving their community and looking out for one another from their first day of kindergarten," McCandless said. "We thank them, their guardians, parents, families, and teachers for their class, resilience,
and determination during these difficult times."
 
The July 18 date was set by the state Department of Health and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. After this date, the district will be able to assess a timeframe for the ceremony based on conditions in the commonwealth and the local community, McCandless said.
 
"If we are able to do an in-person diploma ceremony, many safeguards will be in place to ensure social distancing and recommendations for the allowable number of people at one time are strictly followed," he said.
 
The school district is also in mourning the loss of family to COVID-19. In its announcement, the district said its members join the rest of humanity in being deeply saddened that COVID-19 has greatly impacted our global neighbors, the nation, the commonwealth, our students, families, and community. 
 
While there has been tremendous loss for the entire community, the seniors have lost many things, some of which they have been looking forward to since they were young children. 
 
"Our community, the families of the class of 2020, and most of all, our seniors themselves, deserve celebration and recognition."
 
More details on in-person diploma-granting ceremonies will be forthcoming. For updates and information, visit http://pittsfield.net.

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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman. "I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theater professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back”

Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire said "Godspell" got the green light after BTG established a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. 

"We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks," she said. "Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theater in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. 

"I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical 'Godspell.'”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated "Godspell" from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

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