Photo Gallery: Shakespeare in the Park announcement
PITTSFIELD -- It will be "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Springside Park this July.
A free production of the Shakespeare play will be staged in the park from July 17-27, according to the Office of Cultural Development, which announced the plan on Tuesday at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield.
The play will be put together by Enrico Spada, an educational artist with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. He has previously directed its Fall Festival of Shakespeare residency program.
"I think it's wonderful," Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi said. "I think it's great to be able to expose our community to Shakespeare, many of whose stories are still relevant today."
Shakespeare in the Park will launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising $25,000 toward the cost of staging the production. Berkshire Money Management owner Allen Harris has pledged $5,000 for the play -- if $5,000 is raised from other sources in the first 10 days of the fund drive, which begins Wednesday.
"I'm going to need a little help" in raising the funds for the play, Harris told a crowd of about two dozen people. "It's a big project."
Harris said he was drawn to helping Spada due to his own experience in high school reading Shakespeare and acting out scenes from his work.
Anybody who donates $1,000 will be offered a cameo in the play, Spada said.
Spada estimated the cost of the production at $40,000 to $45,000, though he said it could be staged for less if enough money isn't raised. Costs include lighting, hiring an electrician, building a stage, audio rentals, renting props, paying a technical director, stage director and actors.
He already has raised more than $6,000 for the production on his own, and he hopes to bring in more.
"I think that Shakespeare is a very important part of our heritage," Spada said. "We're Americans, but we speak English."
Spada said the "legacy of these stories" and the experience people have in reading them in school have made a big impact on the culture.
He chose Pittsfield as a site for the plays because "it's the center of the Berkshires. It's got the parks, it's got the people, it's got the need."
Not everybody can get out to see Shakespeare performed, he said.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is beautiful," he said of the play within a play. "The story is a delight." He especially likes the ending, in the court of Athens, which he called "hilarious."
Harris said he hopes the summer play "will draw exposure" to the Berkshires.
"What we really want is for people to enjoy the arts for the sake of the arts," Harris said. "We want the community to be enriched."
To reach Nathan Mayberg:
or (413) 496-6243
Wanted: A few good Thespians
Enrico Spada is looking to use 10 locally based actors, four high school students and four younger students for the Shakespeare in the Park production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Tryouts will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 12 at the Lichtenstein Center. Rehearsals will take place at the same location over a three-week period beginning in June.