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Bits & Bytes: Martin Luther King Jr. interfaith celebration; Winter Studio Festival of Plays; Massachusetts environmental legislation discussion; ‘Quiet, You’re Dead!’

At the interfaith celebration specially choreographed dances by the Olga Dunn Dance Company will be featured, along with a musical presentation by Peter Wilson of Clinton Church.

Interfaith celebration to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Great Barrington — The Southern Berkshire Clergy Association and the Interfaith Committee of Southern Berkshire will present the 19th annual Interfaith Celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Monday, Jan. 15, from noon to 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington, 251 Main St. Bard College at Simon’s Rock social studies and arts professor Wesley Brown will give the keynote address, “Martin Luther King, Jr., the Man not the Monument,” which will draw on his experiences during the 1960s as a civil rights worker inn voter registration with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. A reception with refreshments will follow.

Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the State University of New York at Oswego, and a master’s degree in literature and creative writing from the City College of New York. He is the author of three novels and three produced plays. He is the co-editor of the multicultural fiction anthology “Imagining America” and the nonfiction multicultural anthology “Visions of America,” and he is the editor of “The Teachers & Writers Guide to Frederick Douglass.” He is professor emeritus in English at Rutgers University in New Jersey and was a visiting writer at Sarah Lawrence College in New York in 2015. Brown has been teaching at Simon’s Rock since 2007.

To bring together the community in a diverse shared experience, specially choreographed dances by the Olga Dunn Dance Company will be featured along with a musical presentation by Peter Wilson of Clinton Church, hymns led by retired opera singer John Cheek of Grace Church and organ music by Nancy King of Christ Trinity Church in Sheffield. Local clergy and lay leaders who will also take part in the event include Rev. Dr. Randall Wilburn; Chaplain Kathleen George; Rev. Dr. Janet Zimmerman; Rabbi Neil Hirsch; Dr. Fred Conforti, OFS; and Wray Gunn.

The event is free and open tot he public. Each attendee is asked to bring a nonperishable food item for the People’s Pantry.


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Shakespeare & Company to present Winter Studio Festival of Plays

Ariel Bock. Photo courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Lenox — Shakespeare & Company will present its Winter Studio Festival of Plays Saturday, Jan. 13, and Sunday, Jan. 14. The weekend of staged readings will showcase emerging and established playwrights, and feature Company artists.

Corinna May. Photo courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Festival titles include “Wonders of the Invisible World,” a new play written by Liz Duffy Adams and directed by OBIE Award winner Nela Wagman; “The Shadow of a Doubt,” the newly discovered play by Edith Wharton and directed by longtime Company member Normi Noel; “Timebomb,” a new play by Carson Kreitzer and directed by Shakespeare & Company artistic director Allyn Burrows; the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Buried Child” by Sam Shepard and directed by former Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Virginia Stage Company and Portland Stage Company artistic director Charles Towers; and “The Whirligig,” written and directed by actor Hamish Linklater, son of Shakespeare & Company co-founder Kristin Linklater and known for “The Big Short,” “The Fantastic Four” and the TV series “Fargo.” Each reading will be followed by a post-show discussion with the artists.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students. For tickets and a complete line-up of festival offerings, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Shakespeare & Company box office at (413) 637-3353.


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‘Why You Need To Care: A Discussion About Environmental Legislation in Massachusetts’

Mark Stinson. Photo courtesy MassDEP

Pittsfield — Mark Stinson, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection circuit rider for western Massachusetts, will speak at the Pittsfield Green Drinks meeting Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. at J. Allen’s Clubhouse Grille.

Stinson will lead a discussion about town conservation commissions and environmental legislation in Massachusetts. Stinson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and has also taken master’s-level courses in forestry management at UMass Amherst. He has over 13 years of experience at the conservation commission level as a commissioner, chair and agent for a Massachusetts community.

The meeting will begin at 5:15 p.m. All are welcome.cFor more information, contact Elizabeth Orenstein at (413) 717-1255 or


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The Comical Mystery Tour in ‘Quiet, You’re Dead!’ Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Ventfort Hall to host ‘Quiet, You’re Dead!’

Lenox — Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum will present “Quiet, You’re Dead!”, a murder mystery dinner theater performance by the Comical Mystery Tour Sunday, Jan. 21, at 5:30 pm.

Guests will join an autograph dinner in honor of J.J. Rollings, author of the novel series “Henrietta Porters and the Witches’ School of Flying Housewares.” Rollings is toasted at his hometown Amanda Huggankizz Library by Dewey Decibel, Conan the Librarian, Ms. Brooke Snooty and Harriett Potterson. Have they assembled to shower Rollings with praise or do they have other deadly reasons for seeing him?

In production since 1995, The Comical Mystery Tour has had over 50,000 audience members viewing and/or participating in their programs.

Tickets are $40 per person and include a full-course dinner with a cash bar. Reservations are required by Monday, Jan. 15. For information or reservations, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or



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