Tina Packer – Shakespeare and Gender Workshop

After rehearsing Heisenberg for four weeks, the play opened and  on opening night, director Tina Packer saw her fine work appreciated by an enthusiastic audience. Many directors would catch their breath and take a break. However, Tina Packer is speaking on the relevance of Shakespeare in today’s troubled times with an  OLLI group at the Berkshire Museum on August 29. On August 31 to September 2nd she will present her workshop on Shakespeare and Gender at Shakespeare and Company. Then she will offer a Public Speaking Workshop on September 21-23, also at Shakespeare and Company.

Bob and I were fortunate to talk with Tina about the Shakespeare and Gender workshop while she was still working on Heisenberg. Given her wonderful book  and performances of Women of Will, Tina is the right person to be discussing issues of gender in Shakespeare’s work. As usual, she inspired us to think freshly about Shakespeare and contemporary gender issues.
Click below to hear what she has to say.
For more information about educational programs and productions, go to Shakespeare and Company’s website.


Shakespeare and Company’s 2017 Season

shakespeare-and-company-campusin-lenox-massachusetts-2005-2707Winter brightens considerably when theatres announce what they will be performing in their coming season. One anticipates the pleasures that await theatre goers. Recently we visited the campus of Shakespeare and Company to hear from their Artistic Director, Allyn Burrows, what is in store. In addition to  their Shakespearean and contemporary productions, there will also be  educational programs.  We also learned about the new outdoors performance space, Shakespeare’s Garden.

The company is also presenting a special treat on the weekend of February 18 at 7 pm  and 19 at 2 pm. Lovers’ Spat-Shakespeare’s Famous Couple Encounters offer readings of scenes from Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer Night’s Dream among other Shakespeare plays where the characters  deal with the challenges all lovers face. The case includes Shakespeare and Company favorites Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Tamara Hickey, David Joseph, Jason Asprey and others.



Go to the Shakespeare and Company website for details.

Shakespeare and Company

For details about the rest of the season, click below

Allyn Burrows and 2017 Season

Lifelong Acting

ACT101Bob and I have enjoyed seeing the presentations of Acting 101 at the end of each sequence of classes. A range of people of different ages perform monologues and scenes with honesty and intensity. Why do acting classes have an appeal for people of all ages?  We decided to interview students we knew to find out what they enjoyed about studying acting, even if they weren’t interested in careers in acting. Miriam Silver and Maggie Pendergast were most obliging. We also spoke with Dan Silver who had studied acting as a young man, but went on to another career, but has since returned to it, acting with the Dorset Players and with Oldcastle Theatre Company.

Click below for the interviews.

Interview with Miriam Silver and Maggie Pendergast

Interview with Dan Silver




























































































Fall Festival 2016

ffs15-springfield-cleopatra-espa-043jpg_28206879034_oThe Fall Festival at Shakespeare and Company provides an opportunity for students from  ten area high schools to perform a Shakespearean play. Under the direction of Theatre Artists from Shakespeare and Company, the students work either on stage or backstage with other professionals from Shakespeare and Company. The plays are performed at their high schools and then at the non-competitive Fall Festival where all ten plays are performed. That audience  is their fellow students from the other high school productions.

Fortunately, the public can also have the pleasure of watching these exhilarating performances. The plays are ninety minutes long with dances, sword fights, comedy and drama that have thrilled audiences for four hundred years. This year the dates are November 17 to November 20. For tickets go to the Shakespeare and Company website

Shakespeare and Company

Bob and I interviewed three of the theatre artists who are directing the plays. To hear what the experience is like for the students and the directors, two of whom were in the Fall Festival when they were students in area high schools, click below.

Interview with Fall Festival Theatre Artists




The Girls Ensemble

girls-ensembleboswam2Most of the theatres in our area offer young people opportunities to explore issues important to them and experience the joys of creativity. WAM Theatre, “where arts and activism meet,” has a program for adolescent girls, 13 to 18 years old. where they can address their concerns while learning dramatic skills and devising their own theatrical productions. This is a collaborative process that uses improvisation, games, movement, brainstorming, writing  and more to create original material for performance.

To learn more about this unique program, Bob and I talked with Alicia Maher, Education Co-ordinator and Barby Cardillo, Education Outreach and Teaching Artist. Girls come from many different schools in the area. Auditions are  December 10 and the performance will be February 17, 7:30 pm  at The Tina Packer Theatre at Shakespeare and Company. The theme for last year’s production was Miss Labeled. This year’s theme will be decided by the girls themselves as they talk and work together.

Click the link below to listen to Barby and Alicia.

Barby Cardillo and Alicia Maher











Click on the link below to find out about the Decenber auditions.

Girls Ensemble Audition

Williamstown Theatre Directing Interns Program

williamstown_theatre_festivalWilliamstown Theatre Festival not only presents a range of plays in its two theatres over the summer, but it also offers a variety of  educational programs. One of these programs is the Directing Internship Program. In this program the interns are usually recent graduates from undergraduate programs. Each intern assists a professional director with one of the festival’s professional productions. In addition, they work with the apprenticeship program to direct a play. These plays are short and take place in the company’s Directing Studio late at night.

Late in the season Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing two of these directing interns, Mehr Kaur and Lily Riopelle. Listening to them we felt optimistic about the future of theatre. You can hear what they have to say by clicking on the link below.

Williamstown Directing Interns Mehr Kaur and Lily Riopelle

To keep informed of events at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, check their web page Williamstown Theatre Festival

                                     Coffee Break directed by Mehr Kaur
Intervention directed by Lily Riopelle
                                      Intervention directed by Lily Riopelle

Beauty and the Beast

13522043_1359049037442230_4791313547441371912_nLike most of the theatres in the region, The Berkshire Theatre Group has a range of educational programs throughout the year including  age appropriate productions for school groups throughout the year. There is a school residency program where children write and produce one act plays. There are also apprenticeship programs during the summer. One of the best known of their different programs  is the community theatre production which has been presented for the past eleven years during the summer season. Last year over 6,000 people attended performances of Mary Poppins. Over 120 children and adults from the community took part in the production in different capacities. They may be actors, musicians, backstage crew, ushers, supporting the productions in a variety of ways. Many return more than once. The positions are open to people from third grade through adult. The experience means a great deal  to the participants and involves them in the excitement and creativity of live theatre.

This year, the production is Beauty and the Beast which previews on August 11 and runs until August 19 at the beautiful Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. Bob and I were fortunate to interview the young people who are playing the title roles in Beauty and the Beast, Raymond White and Christy Coco.  To listen to the interview, click on the link below.

Interview with Beauty and the Beast

Berkshire Theatre Group