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Barrington Stage Company Awarded Over $1 Million Dollar Gift In Memory of Mary Anne Gross

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The Gross Family gift will support payroll and basic operating costs for the next six months.

Barrington Stage Company Awarded Over $1 Million Dollar Gift In Memory of Mary Anne Gross

Barrington Stage Company has announced that a generous gift of just over $1 million dollars has been made to the company by the family of the late Mary Anne Gross in recognition of her lifelong love of theatre and the Berkshires. This award also recognizes the heroic and tireless efforts of Barrington Stage Company in producing the first live Equity theatre in the United States in summer 2020, following the shutdown of live performing arts due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The Gross Family will also award $1 million to Pittsfield's Berkshire Theatre Group.

The Gross Family gift will support payroll and basic operating costs for the next six months in order to ensure that there are no furloughs or layoffs while the theatres continue to raise funds in support of future artistic programming. A portion of the gift is structured as a matching grant to leverage additional donations for 2021.

"The idea," said Phill Gross, "is to keep theatre infrastructures in place so that when the world is ready, they are ready to get back to as close to normal operations as soon as possible. The arts have been impacted dramatically by social distancing and crowd restrictions and they are so very, very important to the fabric of our lives and the livelihood of the artists themselves. For sure, we will need them more than ever when we come out the other side of this." Mr. Gross is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Adage Capital Management.

Barrington Stage Company's production of Harry Clarke, by David Cale, starring Mark H. Dold and directed by BSC's Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, was scheduled to open the theatre's mainstage season as the first indoor production in the United States to receive approval from Actors' Equity Association following the onset of the pandemic. At the end of July, Massachusetts delayed the state's reopening plan, which included indoor theatres. In less than a week, Harry Clarke was moved to an outdoor and opened to rave reviews. The production played from August 5-19, 2020.

The Gross Family gift was initiated by Mary Chris and Alan Bassman, who were seeking a way to honor the passing of Mary's mother in December 2019.

"We wanted to do something that could make a difference in the community and that would be a wonderful and fitting tribute to our mother's memory," said Mrs. Bassman. "My mom loved the theater and by exposing me to it at a young age, fostered my love for the performing arts. My brother, Phill and his wife Liz have been involved with many non-profits and offered to help with a charitable endeavor that would be meaningful to all of us."

Mr. Bassman added, "Mary Chris and I have been coming to the Berkshires for 15 years. Two years ago, we bought a condo in Pittsfield, moving here full time in June. We saw the outdoor performances of Harry Clarke and Godspell this summer and were moved by the courage, imagination and determination that it took to put on these shows. We felt that it would be a huge loss if these theater companies did not remain viable."

"We are living in unparalleled times and it is true philanthropy to provide such a generous financial gift, keeping our staff gainfully employed and the lights on," commented Ms. Boyd. "We are tremendously thankful to the Gross family for recognizing the importance of the arts, especially theatre, in this extremely difficult time for all artists and theatre companies. Covering our everyday operating costs allows us to begin working once again with artists, playwrights and directors - and especially our community - as we plan our 2021 season. We will be forever grateful for this timely and extraordinary gift."

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