Shakespeare & Company founding artistic director Tina Packer is the author of the newly released audiobook 'Tales From Shakespeare,' which will be celebrated with a launch event Saturday, Aug. 22, at Ventfort Hall in Lenox. Photo courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Bits & Bytes: ‘Tales From Shakespeare’ book launch; Berkshire Bounty food drive; Compassion Club for kids; online theater workshop; ‘Guerilla Bunny’ at NHFF

Foods in most demand are pasta, tomato pasta sauce and cereal. Those who are donating from their own pantries are asked to be mindful of expiration dates.

Tina Packer, Alison Larkin launch ‘Tales From Shakespeare’ audiobook

Lenox — Shakespeare & Company founding artistic director Tina Packer has teamed up with local audiobook publisher Alison Larkin to produce the new audiobook “Tales from Shakespeare.” The audiobook includes 10 short stories written and recorded by Packer, and based on the plays of William Shakespeare. It is published by Alison Larkin Presents.

Image courtesy

Director, actor and Shakespeare expert Packer has adapted 10 of Shakespeare’s most popular plays into short stories retold in modern language. Her introduction, included in the audiobook, provides the listener with information about Elizabethan England and Shakespeare’s life and work.

“These are such good stories; they have value for us at any age. I’ve written them so that 5-year-olds, or 13-year-olds, or 103-year-olds will enjoy them,” said Packer. “Now it might be that parents will sit with their children and listen to ‘Twelfth Night’ but will save ‘Macbeth’ for the following year, or sneakily listen to ‘King Lear’ by themselves! And everyone loves listening to the foolery of Puck, the passion of Romeo and Juliet, and the bravery of Rosalind as she dresses up as a boy and teaches her lover how to woo her/him. The stories are for us, for all time. I hope people will enjoy them as much as I do.”

Stories included in “Tales from Shakespeare”: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Hamlet,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “King Lear,” “As You Like It,” “Macbeth,” “The Tempest,” “Othello,” “Twelfth Night,” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

A launch event featuring Packer giving a talk, reading from the audiobook and being interviewed by Shakespeare & Company artistic director Allyn Burrows will take place Saturday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m. at Ventfort Hall. The event is available both in-person and for online viewing. Registration is required. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or


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Berkshire Bounty preparing for monthly food drive

Great Barrington — Berkshire Bounty is preparing for its monthly mobile food drive, which will be held Tuesday, Sep. 1, and for which Berkshire Bounty will collect canned and/or packaged goods to be delivered to the People’s Pantry as well as the South Congregational Church in Pittsfield in order to help the growing population of food insecure people in Berkshire County.

During the drives, Berkshire Bounty volunteers visit donors’ homes to pick up packaged food donations at their doorsteps. Food donors may also drop their food donation at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire or at the People’s Pantry. Foods in most demand are pasta, tomato pasta sauce and cereal. Those who are donating from their own pantries are asked to be mindful of expiration dates. Anyone who would like to participate by donating canned and/or packaged food or by volunteering as a driver is asked to contact Berkshire Bounty at and include their street address, email address and best contact telephone number. Further instructions will be provided to those who volunteer.

Berkshire Bounty’s August food drive resulted in over 2,000 pounds of donated food for the People’s Pantry.


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Berkshire Humane Society introduces Compassion Club

Pittsfield — Berkshire Humane Society has introduced the Compassion Club, a new program for children ages 8-12. Each month the educational subscription box has humane education activities such as reading or writing assignments, coloring contests, crafts with all the pieces, assignments to visit a place in the Berkshires, surprise gifts, and free book sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union.

Berkshire Humane Society partnered with Mass Audubon for its August box, which featured with buy one/get one passes to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox, Nature Bingo, and a lightning bug activity. Future boxes will feature Berkshire Animal DREAMS, Berkshire Wildlife Services, Nature Matters and Berkshire Natural Resources Council.

Subscriptions are $20 per month. Enrolled families may pick up the boxes at Berkshire Humane Society’s main shelter in Pittsfield, Purradise at 301 Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington, or other locations by arrangement. For more information or to register, contact Elizabeth Filkins at (413) 447-7878 x129 or


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Williamstown Theater Festival to offer online playwriting workshop

Williamstown — On Wednesday, Aug. 19, from 5 to 5:45 p.m., Williamstown Theatre Festival will offer a livestreamed Community Works playwriting workshop with Community Works co-founders Laura Savia and Lucy Thurber via its Facebook page. Notepads and writing utensils are recommended. No prior experience is necessary and all ages are welcome. A Facebook RSVP is not required to attend. A captioned recording of the workshop will be made available. The workshop is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Hayley at


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‘Guerilla Bunny’ to screen at New Haven Documentary Film Festival


Berkshire County — An ongoing public art project by an anonymous Berkshire artist is the subject of a short documentary film that has been selected to screen Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival. The film was also selected as one of a set available online. Produced by Salisbury, Connecticut, resident Sophia Deboer, “Guerilla Bunny” was filmed and directed by Richard Sands, and took three years to complete.

The Guerilla Bunny “struck” on Easter morning in Stockbridge from 2008-19, placing unusually painted eggs in public areas in plain sight for pedestrians to find. In 2020, delayed by the Massachusetts COVID-19 stay-at-home advisory, the Guerilla Bunny hit 13 Berkshire and surrounding towns on June 21.

This year’s New Haven Documentary Film Festival was rescheduled from June to August 18-23 due to the pandemic. The screenings take place live outdoors as well as online.