Photo courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Bits & Bytes: Shakespeare book launch; #ArtWeekAtHome; Mother’s Day video series; virtual staged reading

Shakespeare & Company launches new book

Lenox — Shakespeare & Company has announced the launch of the book “Shakespeare & Company: When Action is Eloquence,” co-written by Company member Bella Merlin and founding artistic director Tina Packer, with a foreword by artistic director Allyn Burrows. Drawing on previously unpublished material including notebooks, lectures, interviews and rehearsal diaries as well as the Company’s newly collated historical archive, the book provides insight into the unique works of a theater company and sheds light on the role Shakespeare plays in the modern world.

“Shakespeare & Company: When Action is Eloquence” is the first comprehensive investigation into the internationally acclaimed company founded in 1978 by actor-director Tina Packer and voice pioneer Kristin Linklater. The book includes material on Shakespeare & Company’s founding and early history as well as its aesthetic, rooted in Elizabethan theater principles. Additionally, the book encompasses the vocational components of the Company’s actor training intensives, practical pedagogy of its education programs, and insights into its unique approaches to performance. The book also explores the impact and legacy of its three lifetime founding members: Dennis Krausnick (actor training), Kevin G. Coleman (education) and Packer.

Published by Routledge in March, the book is now on sale. Beginning Wednesday, May 6, Shakespeare & Company will present a series of virtual events to promote the book. For more information, contact Shakespeare & Company at (413) 637-3353.

–E.E.

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Reimagined 2020 ArtWeek festival to celebrate creative Commonwealth

Boston — The Boch Center, producer of the annual ArtWeek festival presented by the Highland Street Foundation, launched #ArtWeekAtHome, taking place through Sunday, May 10. The reimagined format replaces the original ArtWeek, which would have featured almost 800 creative events in over 170 communities across the state, including many free events for families, children, residents and visitors.

Beginning May 1, which was to have been the original festival kick-off day, ArtWeek event hosts and partners have posted links on social media to their online content including tours, concerts, at-home activities and other creative programs while tagging #ArtWeekAtHome and @ArtWeekMA. A 10-day ArtWeek bingo game includes daily artistic prompts and themed challenges celebrating different genres. The schedule includes nods to music, museums, dance, crafts, theater, literature, the outdoors/public art, film, history and the culinary arts. The following week, #ArtWeekAtHome highlights will be shared on ArtWeek’s website as well as on different social media channels.

–E.E.

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Patrons gather at Ancram Opera House in 2019. Photo courtesy Ancram Opera House

Ancram Opera House to present Mother’s Day video series

Ancram, N.Y. — Just in time for Mother’s Day, Ancram Opera House will launch “Local Characters: Mothers,” a quartet of video conversations with four remarkable area residents on the topic of mothers. A new video will be posted on AOH’s each Friday in May at 1 p.m. beginning Friday, May 8.

“Local Characters: Mothers” is a preview of a new AOH community series that will debut this season and feature lively, free-wheeling, unscripted conversations with surprise guests from the area. The series will feature AOH director Paul Ricciardi in conversation with:

  • Photographer and massage therapist B. Docktor on rescuing her 99-year-old mother from a New Jersey nursing home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (May 8);
  • Ancram town clerk Monica Cleveland on having her daughter, mother and grandmother all living with in a two-minute drive (May 15);
  • Brown University senior Rose Lang-Maso on returning to Germantown due to COVID-19 and living with her moms during her final college semester (May 22); and
  • Monica Byrne, creative director of Home/Made Hudson and Atelier Roquette, on observing Mother’s Day without the woman who raised her as a single parent in New York City (May 29).

“The COVID pandemic has forced us to adapt, and we’ve pivoted to producing a free, all-virtual season this spring and summer,” said Ricciardi. “Our aesthetic has always been about storytelling, and in times like these, telling and listening to stories is one way for us to process this experience and heal.”

The videos will be free to watch. For more information, contact the Ancram Opera House at (518) 329-0114 or info@ancramoperahouse.org.

–E.E.

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Virtual Staged Readings Series continues with ‘Stranger in the Attic’

Copake, N.Y. — In association with the Copake Grange, the Two of Us Productions will present the next offering in its Virtual Staged Readings Series, “Stranger in the Attic” by John Kaasik, Saturday, May 9, at 7 p.m.

“Stranger in the Attic is set in the country home of a freelance writer and his wife, whose quiet life is unexpectedly upset by the arrival of a stranger who offers the writer an exclusive story about a murder that has not yet happened.

The performance is free and open to the public, and will be presented via Zoom. Donations will be gratefully accepted. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Two of Us Productions at (518) 329-6293.

–E.E.