GREAT BARRINGTON — Berkshire Playwrights Lab joins Theater5Alliance 8 p.m. Sept. 24 in the debut of a free virtual series, Keeping Live Theater Alive, available free at BerkshirePlaywrightsLab.org.
Conceived by actor Dan Lauria, each Keeping Live Theater Alive program comprises three-to-10-minute original vignettes written and read by well-known stage and screen actors. The films are edited by filmmaker Jeremy Fletcher.
This first program in the series features Kim Brockington, Jodi Long, Joe Mantegna, Alfred Molina, James Pickens Jr, and Tony Shalhoub.
The next installment, available on Oct. 13, will feature Bryan Cranston, Lou Diamond Phillips, Priscilla Lopez, Reno Wilson, Wendie Malick, and Lauria.
Each program will be available for "the foreseeable future," according to a spokesperson for BPL
Theater5Alliance was formed in June to "bring the arts to people's homes and to emphasize the importance of keeping local theater alive and thriving," the organization said in a prepared statement.
The programs are being offered free, the BPL spokesperson said in an email, "because (the member theaters) want this to be accessible to all. They understand that many people will not be able to (make donations)."
In addition to Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Theater5Alliance's members are Durango PlayFest, Laguna Playhouse, New Jersey Repertory Company, and Seven Angels Theatre, all of whom canceled their in-person summer programming due to COVID-19. This series is exclusively available on each company's website.
The 15-year-old Berkshire Playwrights Lab focuses solely on the development of new plays and playwrights through staged readings in collaboration with professional actors and directors at St. James Place and Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Some of those new plays have gone on to to full production in New York and at Berkshire Theatre Group, New Jersey Repertory, Shakespeare & Company, and The Public Theater.
The Lab also nurtures local and regional playwrights through its Radius Festival and Berkshire Voices Writers Workshop.
Berkshire Playwrights Lab is under the artistic direction of one of its founders, Joe Cacaci, and Rick Dresser, Felicia Harden, and James Anthony Tyler.