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Shakespeare in The Park members hassled during rehearsals on The Common in Pittsfield

Shakespeare in the park (copy)

Members of the Shakespeare in the Park company rehearse Monday. From left, Diana Steele, Sally McCarthy, Christopher Brophy and Julie Castagna, in a scene from "The Comedy of Errors." Actors were harassed three times in the past week during rehearsals, prompting them to seek help from Pittsfield police.

PITTSFIELD — Actors rehearsing for an annual Shakespeare performance were harassed three times in the past week during rehearsals at Pittsfield’s The Common, prompting them to seek help from police.

Shakespeare in the Park will still take place in free performances at The Common, starting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Enrico Spada, founder and director of the program, said the incidents have been dealt with and are not a continuing cause of concern for the company.

The first incident happened Aug. 3 around 6 p.m., when a group of “male and females” on bikes with backpacks started fights with Shakespeare in the Park staff, according to Pittsfield Police Department report logs. Actors told The Eagle that members of the group appeared to be in their teens.

According to the log, Officer Jennifer Carr said the group scattered upon arrival by police. Officers were able to speak to a few of the young people, and got them to move along. The actors were unable to provide identification for individual members of the group.

There was another incident Monday, when one member of the group showed up with his dog around 6:30 p.m., leading to the cast and staff retreating into the Zion Lutheran Church on First Street at the edge of The Common — and again calling Pittsfield police. There was no physical altercation.

And again on Tuesday, the same group member started to circle the Shakespeare in the Park company members around 8 p.m.

Spada said Lt. Jeffrey Bradford talked to the unidentified person and his mother Tuesday about his presence there.

Performances of “The Comedy of Errors” start Thursday as planned. Spada said the company has been in close contact with Pittsfield police to shape a safety plan.

“We’re feeling confident towards the event. There will be a police presence, so everyone can feel safe during the show just like there has been in other events this summer like Third Thursdays,” he said.

Aina de Lapparent Alvarez can be reached at aalvarez@berkshireeagle.com.

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