Saturday, July 13, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Juneteenth virtual reading; RYSE in October; ‘Ride for Roots Rising’; virtual staged reading

To help support the market, Roots Rising has launched the socially distant bike ride challenge “Ride for Roots Rising.”

Barrington Stage, theREP team up for Juneteenth virtual reading

Vincent Terrell Durham. Photo courtesy Barrington Stage Company

Pittsfield — On Friday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m., Barrington Stage Company will team up with Capital Repertory Theatre of Albany, New York, to present a virtual reading of “Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids” by Vincent Terrell Durham.

Presented as part of PlayGround Zoom Fest, the nation’s largest livestreamed new works festival, “Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids” will be streamed to celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the 1865 reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved Black people in Texas. The play speaks to the subjects of gentrification, white fragility, the Black Lives Matter movement and police violence against Black bodies. Originally co-commissioned by PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts, the play offers insight and humor in portraying the meeting of a well-meaning white liberal couple and Black Lives Matter activists.

The reading will be rebroadcast Monday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m., following which Barrington Stage will host a community discussion via Zoom led by its community engagement coordinator Sharron Frazier-McClain. Zoom details will be available Monday via BSC’s website.

The stream will be available on theREP’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The stream is free and open to the public, but a suggested donation of $10 requested to support a GoFundMe campaign that aims to raise $1 million for the funding of Black theatre projects in America. For more information, contact Barrington Stage Company at


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RSYP student empowerment program to move to October

Great Barrington — In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Railroad Street Youth Project’s youth student empowerment program will be conducted on Saturdays throughout the month of October, either online via Zoom or outdoors at RSYP’s Drop-in Center following state guidelines for health and safety.

Open to recent graduates and students entering their junior or senior years at Monument Mountain and Mount Everett high schools, RYSE provides an opportunity for young people to explore their options after high school — whether at a private, state or community college, through a gap year, or at a vocational school — in a safe and supportive space.

In weekly program meetings, RYSE participants will take part in a series of dynamic and youth-centered sessions on topics ranging from balancing tasks, goal setting, demystifying the federal student aid application process, and productive financial behavior such as credit building, budgeting and saving. Youth receive a stipend of $200 upon completion of the program, and are eligible to apply for a scholarship of up to $20,000, which may be used over the next four years to assist with tuition at a state or private college or university, a community college or vocational school, a focused curriculum for a gap year, or any GED program. A panel made up of staff and board members will review scholarship applications in a competitive process.

An online application for the program is available. The application deadline is Friday, July 3. For more information, contact Railroad Street Youth Project at (413) 528-2475 or


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‘Ride for Roots Rising’ to support virtual farmers market

Pittsfield — When its Pittsfield Farmers Market closed due to the pandemic, Roots Rising launched its Virtual Farmers Market to ensure the community’s continued access to fresh food. To help support the market, Roots Rising has launched the socially distant bike ride challenge “Ride for Roots Rising”: Between Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 28, road cyclists and mountain bikers can complete either a beginner, intermediate, or advanced route.

Prizes will be offered to the three teams that fundraise the most. All registrants will be entered to win some additional prizes, including gift certificates to Berkshire Bike and Board, Arcadian Shop, Berkshire Outfitters, the Spoke, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, and Roots Rising’s own Virtual Farmers Market. In addition, Mill Town and Berkshire Bike and Board are offering a bike giveaway for Pittsfield youth.

There is a general registration fee of $25 as well as a low-income registration fee of $10. The event is free for youth under age 12. Mill Town and the Gilson Family Foundation will triple all donations and pledges from riders to benefit the Virtual Farmers Market. For more information, including links to route maps and registration, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact Roots Rising at (413) 344-0816 or


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Virtual Staged Reading Series to present classic radio drama thrillers

Copake, N.Y. — In association with the Copake Grange, the Two of Us Productions will present two classic radio drama thrillers as the next offering in its Virtual Staged Readings Series Saturday, June 20, at 7 p.m.

“Mr. Markham, Antique Dealer” deals with a blackmailer, a murderer and a room full of clocks, one of which talks. Who is actually murdered, and who is the murderer? On the morning Adams drives cross-country from New York to California in “The Hitchhiker,” he sees a man on the Brooklyn Bridge waiting for a lift. Adams sees the man again an hour later, hitchhiking at the Pulaski Skyway. As he progresses toward his destination, Adams repeatedly sees the same hitchhiker despite the fact that there should be no way the man could get ahead of him.

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.



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