Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park is planning to return to the First Street Common next summer for a 6th season. According to a press release from founder/director, Enrico Spada, the company has become a local favorite for its free productions that bring together community members from across economic, social, and cultural spectrums.

According to the release, if state and local guidelines deem it safe to do so, the company will stage another production in 2021.

Like many area theatres, Pittsfield Shakespeare's season was paused this past summer. The same week the company planned to announce its 2020 production, the COVID-19 outbreak closed the theatre industry entirely.

As the pandemic quickly developed, we held back on announcing the title for the summer, opting for a ‘wait and see’ approach… We waited, but the outlook never improved.” ~ founder/director, Enrico Spada

Spada says that there have been silver linings, however. The canceled season gave him time to reflect on the company’s infrastructure, sustainability, and role in the community.

Until now the effort of fundraising and producing was a labor of love for one person. Of course, that isn’t sustainable in the long run. So many people have reached out asking about our plans, so it’s important for us to set the groundwork for a thriving future. ~Spada

For the past few months, Spada and a small group of long-time company members have been meeting over Zoom to reimagine how the company could become more sustainable. The group, which has become the organizations new board of directors, includes Pittsfield Shakespeare artists Haley Barbieri, Christopher Brophy, Julie Castagna, Brittany Nicholson, Maizy Broderick Scarpa, and Patrick Toole. The group has identified objectives including long-term financial strength, more equitable pay for artists, building community partnerships, and of course, continuing to bring free outdoor Shakespeare to Pittsfield.

To reach these objectives, the new board is leading a crowdfunding campaign this month. The campaign will be their most ambitious yet with a goal of $20,000 in public support (to be supplemented by foundational, state, and business support). Additionally, these funds will help the company meet the challenges of producing live theatre during a pandemic.

The fundraising campaign launches on Tuesday (December 1st)—also known as "Giving Tuesday" on social media, and concludes on New Year’s Day, when the title of next summer’s production will be announced via the Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park Facebook page. PSP’s Facebook page will also host a series of interactive virtual events, including games, reminiscences, and a virtual watch party.

To learn more about Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park and to donate, audiences can visit www.pittsfieldshakespeare.org, and follow Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park on Facebook (facebook.com/pittsfieldshake) to join virtual events and stay up-to-date on PSP news and the campaign’s progress.

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