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BWW Feature: Enrichment Through the Arts Is Alive and Well In The Berkshires

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BWW Feature: Enrichment Through the Arts Is Alive and Well In The Berkshires

No doubt you've heard the phrase "we are living in unprecedented times" often over the last few months. More than likely for most reading this it is an undeniably true statement of fact. Never in my lifetime have theatres across the country / world been dark for such an extended length of time.

In mid-June here in The Berkshires, "the season" should be in full swing. We SHOULD be enjoying outstanding performance experiences at our beautiful and beloved venues by world-class artists and creatives. Alas, that is proving to be difficult if not impossible. While there are a few valiant companies still hoping to provide some form of performance this year, most everyone associated with the performing arts community has worked through the five-stages of grief and arrived at acceptance that there will be little or no live theatre in our region this season. This leaves theatre companies and artists virtually unable to earn the funds necessary for survival. It also leaves theatre lovers with a significant void to fill. Those with children face the added challenge of how to fill their children's summer with rich and rewarding ways to fill a plethora of available time during the lazy hazy days of summer 2020. Berkshire Theatre Group has solutions for some, if not all, of the above.

One such offering, BTG PLAYS! was developed as a year-round education program serving 13,000 school children in over 26 schools across Berkshire County. During this time of social distancing when work is being done remotely, doctor visits are done via telemedicine, and large gatherings in enclosed spaces are not possible, BTG PLAYS! provides young people a connection to the arts. BTG has developed a virtual after-school curriculum that is based on in-person classes at elementary and middle schools. These classes involve a hybrid of static lessons and a weekly pre-recorded video message from a BTG education staff member. This programming has been strategically designed so that it can be done independently, and children are taught how to think in a creative way.

BTG Artistic Director, Kate Maguire said: "At this moment in time the arts are more important than ever. With the decision to keep schools closed through the end of this school year, BTG PLAYS! Year-Round Education Program has become more necessary, as the need for art, culture, and connection grows. Our Education staff and artists have been working hand-in-hand with public schools to ensure that we are still able to engage with our students during this time. Your support in this moment is needed to help us continue our vital work with BTG PLAYS!"

Support for BTG allows them to continue to work and adapt programming to best continue serving students in The Berkshires and beyond. Visit: https://www.berkshiretheatregroup.org/support/ to donate.

BTG now has a wide range of virtual offerings with virtually something for everyone. Programs are offered on a weekly basis live on Facebook, and can be accessed at any time on the BTG website visit: https://www.berkshiretheatregroup.org/media/news-articles/


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From This Author Marc Savitt