W.E.B. Du Bois photo courtesy The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Bits & Bytes: Du Bois Legacy Festival; Berkshire Bounty food drive; WAM Theatre’s 2021 season; Berkshire Museum in-person summer camps

Great Barrington celebrates 4th-annual W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Festival

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Town of Great Barrington W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee will commemorate the 153rd birthday of native son Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois on Feb. 21 and 23, with performances, presentations, and community reflections.

Community partner Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center joins the Town to present this year’s free events, which will be shared online for remote viewing. The program centers on Du Bois’s commitment to racial justice, connecting his vision and work for liberation with ongoing protests for Black lives.

Deeper than the Skin photo courtesy The Mahaiwe

On Sunday, Feb. 21 at 3 p.m., Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway will present Deeper than the Skin, a singing, listening, and connecting experience. On Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., at the Du Bois Legacy Day event, Timeless Messages of Prophecy & Protest, the Du Bois Legacy Day proclamation will be read, and the 2020 and 2021 Du Bois Legacy Award recipients will be honored: activist and Clinton Church Restoration Founder Wray Gunn and musician-activist Reggie Harris.

Dr. Mary Nell Morgan, associate professor at SUNY-Empire State College, and local musician/singer Wanda Houston will join forces for a rendering and examination of the sorrow songs from Du Bois’s 1903 biography “The Souls of Black Folk.” Local activists, musicians, performance artists, community leaders, and scholars will reflect on the meaning of Du Bois’s legacy and vision for racial justice in their own work in the time of uprisings and movements for Black lives and racial justice.

Members of the W.E.B. Du Bois Regional Middle School community, along with BRIDGE, will share celebrations and reflections about the recent re-naming of the school in Du Bois’s honor.


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Berkshire Bounty announces March mobile food drive date

BERKSHIRE COUNTY — Berkshire Bounty will hold its monthly Mobile Food Drive on Tuesday, March 2 from 9-11 a.m. Donated canned and/or packaged goods will be delivered to The People’s Pantry in Great Barrington to help the growing population of food insecure people in South County.

Volunteer drivers go to donors’ homes to pick up canned and/or packaged goods left on their doorsteps. Donors may also drop their food donations at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire or at The People’s Pantry.

Berkshire Bounty is asking for volunteers to donate canned and/or packaged food, drive to pick up donations at food donors’ homes, and/or help unload from driver’s cars as they deliver food to People’s Pantry on the day of the food drive. If you are interested in participating, email info@berkshire-bounty.org. Please include your street address, email address, and telephone number.

To food donors: Foods in most demand are hearty soups, tomato sauce, and cereal. If donating from your own pantry, please check expiration dates.


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WAM Theatre announces 2021 season

LENOX — WAM Theatre recently announced a 2021 season that focuses on exploring our roots, our ancestors, and our legacy, to move forward towards a rebirth, a re-emerging, into a future with room for everyone.

“We are thrilled to be working with such incredible theatre artists in our 12th season and can’t wait for our WAMily to enjoy their work,” said Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven. “In line with our recently released accountability plan, the plays WAM will present this season deliberately shift our gaze away from white-centric stories and modes of storytelling and invite us all into conversation about a new future.”

Rachel Lynett photo courtesy WAM Theatre

The season begins with two virtual Fresh Takes play readings, starting with “Letters by Kamala,” written by Rachel Lynett and directed by Nicole Brewer, which will be available to stream March 14–21. In the tense lead up to the 2020 presidential election, Lynett conjures three female American political leaders of the past to share their wisdom, perspective, and wry humor with VP candidate Kamala Harris.

The second play reading, “The Light,” written by Loy A. Webb and directed by Colette Robert, will be available for streaming April 25–May 2. When a surprise proposal gift puts the future of characters Genesis and Rashad’s relationship at risk, they are forced to confront a secret from the past. This 70-minute, real-time rollercoaster ride of laughter, romance, and despair uncovers how radical love can be a healing beacon of light.

Tickets for “Letter to Kamala” and “The Light” are on sale now. Audiences can book a ticket to the virtual readings and view any time during the week. Patrons can pick their own ticket price, ranging from $15-$50. For more information or to reserve your tickets, visit the WAM website or call 413-274-8122.

Additionally, WAM announced its fall Mainstage production will be the U.S. premiere of “Kamloopa” written by Kim Senklip Harvey and directed by Estafanía Fadul. The high-energy story follows two urban Indigenous sisters and their encounter with a spirited shapeshifter. Together, they battle to come to terms with what it means to honor who they are and where they come from. The play’s artists, dates, and location will be announced later this summer.


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David M. Hunt Library hosts author Page Dickey on gardening and her new book

Page Dickey photo courtesy Hunt Library

FALLS VILLAGE — The David M. Hunt Library will host a free Zoom event with author Page Dickey on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. Dickey’s new book, “Uprooted,” documents her move to Falls Village, Connecticut and the establishment of her new garden there. Attendees can register at HuntLibrary.org, on the library’s Facebook page, or by calling the library at 860-824-7424. Signed copies of “Uprooted” are available at the library.

Page Dickey is a garden designer and the author of “Gardens in the Spirit of Place,” “Inside Out,” and “Embroidered Ground.” She lectures around the country on plants and garden design, and has written articles for House and Garden, Architectural Digest, Horticulture, and other publications. Her former garden, Duck Hill, has been featured in the New York Times, Elle Décor, and Vogue.


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Berkshire Museum in-person summer camp registration now open

PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire Museum recently announced its plans to host 14 unique summer camp programs at its South Street location, beginning June 28. Registration has begun for Museum members and will be open to the general public on March 18. Register at berkshiremuseum.org/programs/camp.

Photo from a past Animal Adventures camp, courtesy Berkshire Museum

The 2021 lineup of summer camps is split into two categories: morning sessions designed for campers entering grades 1 and 2, and afternoon sessions for those entering grades 3 to 6. This year’s week-long day camp programs are as follows. For grades 1 & 2: Animal Adventures, Bits and Bobs, It’s Electric!, Junior Archaeologists, Kitchen Ka-Boom!, LEGO Engineers, Our Living World, and Physics of Fun. For grades 3–6: Animation, Between the Lines, Create with Code, CSI: Monster Hunter, Movie Camp, and Renaissance Kid.

This year’s camp programs will follow all state and local guidelines and implement new measures to fight the spread of COVID-19, including smaller camp sizes, mandatory face coverings, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, and socially distant activities. Only one camp will take place in the museum at a time, with morning and afternoon sessions held in separate rooms to avoid the spread of germs.

Registration for the museum’s week-long, half-day summer camps is $200, or $175 for museum members. Camperships are available through the support of the Katharine L.W. and Winthrop M. Crane, 3D Charitable Foundation. Call 413-443-7171, Ext. 336 to learn more about campership opportunities.

In the event that state or local regulations prevent the museum from hosting in-person camps, programming will shift to the Camp@Home system. Families will be notified in advance of any changes and will have the option to participate in Camp@Home or receive a refund.