Tony DiTerlizzi, Spiderwick, 2003. Acryla gouache on Bristol board. Cover illustration for The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone, 2003. ©Tony DiTerlizzi. Image courtesy Norman Rockwell Museum

Bits & Bytes: Educators’ symposium at Norman Rockwell Museum; Radius Playwrights Festival; ‘Clever Little Lies’ at the Ghent Playhouse; BioEYES science program

The Radius Playwrights Festival features fully staged readings of the six selected new short plays created by local writers within a 50-mile radius of Great Barrington.

Norman Rockwell Museum to host educators’ symposium

Stockbridge — On Saturday, Jan. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Norman Rockwell Museum will present a symposium for educators titled “Distant Lands: Literary Fiction in the Classroom.” Participating educators will learn about creative approaches to bringing literary fiction into elementary and middle school classrooms during a day of lectures, workshops and readings.

The event will begin with a discussion between award-winning illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi and Newbery Honor author Holly Black about their collaboration on the book series “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” At 1 p.m., librarian Alexis Brown Kennedy and art teacher Karen Romeo-Leger from Lenox Memorial Middle and High School will discuss literary, art and library connections for the classroom. At 2:30 p.m., participants will explore creative, hands-on methods for introducing students to literary fiction withTim Callahan, principal of Drury High School in North Adams. The afternoon will conclude with a “test your knowledge” session, which will include a raffle giveaway.

Admission to the event is $35, and $20 for NRM members. Professional development points will be available. For more information or to register, contact Patrick O’Donnell at (413) 931-2221 or


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Berkshire Playwrights Lab to present Radius Playwrights Festival

Allyn Burrows

Great Barrington — Berkshire Playwrights Lab will present the second annual Radius Playwrights Festival Friday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Saint James Place. The festival features fully staged readings of the six selected new short plays created by local writers within a 50-mile radius of Great Barrington.

The included plays will be “Pandora Shakes Things Up” by Maizy Scarpa of Canaan, New York, directed by Tod Randolph; “The Audition” by Steve Otfinoski of Sandisfield, directed by James Warwick; “The Golden Years” by Joe Starzyk of Brunswick, New York, directed by Mike Brady; “The Kiss” by Anne Undeland of East Chatham, New York, directed by Kim Stauffer; “The Two Bobs” by Barry J. Kaplan of Woodstock, New York, directed by Mike Dowling; and “What’s Little Ax Between Friends” by Joe Starzyk, directed by Allyn Burrows.

Anne Undeland

According to BPL co-Artistic director Jim Frangione, “We look for plays from playwrights of all ages and political stripe and with so many area colleges within the ‘50 mile radius,’ we hope it will bring an exciting diversity of experienced, novice and emerging playwrights to our doorstep for this evening of short plays. The plays are selected via a blind submission process, guaranteeing a level playing field for all, regardless of the level of experience or notoriety.”

Tickets are $15 each with discounts available for groups of six or more. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call BPL at (413) 528-2544.

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Ghent Playhouse to stage ‘Clever Little Lies’

Ron Weber and Meg Dooley in ‘Clever Little Lies.’ Photo: Matt Sikora

Ghent, N.Y. — The Ghent Playhouse will present “Clever Little Lies” by Joe DiPietro Friday, Jan. 26, through Sunday, Feb. 4.

“Clever Little Lies” is a contemporary adult play that sheds comedic light on the serious and secret corners of marriage, relationships and family. A mother always knows when something is wrong, and this mother is determined to dig deep for the truth when her husband returns home a bit on edge from a tennis match with his son. Determined to get to the bottom of things, she invites her son and daughter-in-law for drinks and dessert, causing uproarious chaos.

Directed by the Ghent Playhouse’s artistic director Cathy Lee-Visscher, who also designed the set, “Clever Little Lies” stars Meg Dooley as Alice with Rob Weber, Erin Harwood and Will Murphy.

Tickets are $22 for the general public, $17 for Ghent Playhouse members and $10 for students with ID. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call 1 (800) 838-3006.


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Third-graders from Williamstown Elementary School participating in Williams College’s BioEYES program. Photo courtesy Williams College

Williams students teach science to third-graders in BioEYES program

Williamstown — Eleven Williams College students are teaching in third-grade science classes in three schools over the course of three weeks. The BioEYES program is a week of hands-on science lessons in which elementary students mate live zebrafish and examine the eggs under a microscope to learn about life cycles, development, heredity and the environment.

The BioEYES program serves Williamstown Elementary School, Brayton Elementary School in North Adams and Lanesborough Elementary School, and is adapted from a program at the University of Pennsylvania. The college students spend one week at each school. Because zebrafish breed quickly, third graders are able to watch their zebrafish embryos develop into free-swimming larva and observe the changes firsthand. The Williams students create lesson plans and teach the third-grade classes during the program. The class draws from all majors, ranging from biology to theatre.

While the program currently visits the maximum possible number of schools, it program may expand to the greater Berkshire area in the coming years. A BioEYES teacher training is planned for November 2018 and will take place during the Berkshire Compact Professional Development Day. Interested teachers will learn about the BioEYES program and how they can implement it at their schools. Williams would continue to support the program at these schools by supplying zebrafish, microscopes, equipment, and journals.