Shakespeare & Company planning public memorial celebration honoring founding director of training Dennis Krausnick

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LENOX — Shakespeare & Company is hosting a special memorial program honoring founder and director of training, Dennis Krausnick, who died in November.

"Dennis Krausnick: Celebration of Life" begins 1 p.m. June 24 in the Tina Packer Playhouse Tent on Shakespeare & Company's campus at 70 Kemble St. The afternoon-long event event is open to the public.

The day includes a memorial program with stories and sentiments from Krausnick's life; a curation of his artistic work; and afternoon tea. Throughout the day his recently published book of poetry, "White Flash," will be available for purchase, with 100% of the purchase price going to the recently established Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund. Founded by Krausnick in 2018, the fund supports scholarships to increase diversity within the Shakespeare & Company's Center For Actor Training.

"Dennis' contribution to my life and to the company's life is immeasurable," Tina Packer, Krausnick's wife and Shakespeare & Company founding artistic director, said in a news release, "in part because we were passionate about the same things, but also because he had the knack of filling in whenever and wherever rifts were seen and difficulties encountered.

"For instance, when we first arrived at the Mount in 1978, Dennis went two days early to organize the house and decide how the 20 people moving in would all share it. Or the times he stepped in as managing director during the first 20 years. He was integral to forming the company and keeping us together, creating structures, listening to aspirations and disappointments, never once wavering in his own commitment. In year two, he organized us as two non-profits — Shakespeare & Company and Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc. When we needed plays about Edith Wharton, or adapting her work, Dennis wrote them. Dennis held us together. He held me together. And I hope this day can offer some small glimpse into the life he lived, as an artist, as a partner, and as a friend."

"Dennis was my first teacher here, and my last," said artistic director Allyn Burrows in the news release. "Missing him is surpassed only by how much we appreciate his dedication and enrichment of this company."

"Much of what Shakespeare & Company strives to be in the world can be traced to Dennis," said friend, fellow founder, and director of education, Kevin G. Coleman. "The theater artists he inspired and encouraged over the years can hardly be counted. His insight as a writer and director, and his courage as a teacher and performer can hardly be measured. But for me, it was always his friendship."

Those interested in attending should contact Shakespeare & Company by June 14. Complete information is available by phone at 413-637-1199.

In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund online at shakespeare.org/actor-training.

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