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Shakespeare & Company Holds 2018 Season Gala


Honoring Trustee Michael A. Miller for his twenty-five years of service, Shakespeare & Company held its 2018 Season Gala on Saturday, June 30th. The sold-out benefit, co-chaired by Rhea Werner and Suzanne Werner, was the most successful in Company history, raising more than $400,000 for Training, Education, and Performance programs.

The festivities began outdoors in The Roman Garden Theatre with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and a silent auction. At the sound of Dave Pickard's trumpet, guests made their way to the Tina Packer Playhouse, as three performers rode horseback and actors from Love's Labor's Lost performed scenes from Henry V in the background.

The evening performance was headlined by musicians from the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, interspersed with monologues and scenes from veteran Shakespeare & Company artists. The Company then celebrated Michael A. Miller with a champagne toast. Shakespeare & Company Board Chair Kenneth E. Werner presented Miller with a special Honorary Citation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for his continued support of Shakespeare & Company and the greater Berkshire County cultural community. Along with the certificate, Miller was awarded a Shakespearean broadsword engraved with "once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more" from Henry V.

"Our gratitude goes out to everyone who joined us for this celebratory evening," said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. "We are especially thankful to Mike Miller. We are humbled by his continued dedication to the Company's performance, education, and training programs, and glad we could honor the legacy he has generously helped to create."

After the performance, guests were welcomed into the tented courtyard for an elegant dinner catered by Kate Baldwin Food. Company members surprised guests with the song and poetry inspired by the Berkshires immediately following dinner. Guests then returned to The Roman Garden Theatre for dancing with DJ BFG.

Performing on behalf of the Silkroad Ensemble were Shaw Pong Liu, Kaoru Watanabe, and Michi Wiancko. Shakespeare & Company was represented by Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Gregory Boover, Thomas Brazzle, MaConnia Chesser, Kevin G. Coleman, Susan Dibble, Nehassaiu deGannes, Aimee Doherty, Jonathan Epstein, Deaon Grifin-Pressley, Ted Hewlett, Tamara Hickey, Cloteal Horne, Jennie M. Jadow, David Joseph, Zoë Laiz, Greta Mathews, Corinna May, Claudia Maurino, Annette Miller, Tina Packer, Simon Winchester, and Kristin Wold.

Rhea Werner (co-chair), Suzanne Werner (co-chair), Helene Berger, Sandra Bourgeois, George Camarda, Phoebe Giddon, Ricki Helfer, Dr. Beverly Hyman, Jennie Jadow, Deborah Ryan, Barry R. and Marjorie Shapiro, and Rose Zoltek-Jick formed the 2018 Gala Committee.

"We can't thank our co-chairs Rhea Werner and Suzanne Werner enough," said Managing Director Adam Davis. "Together with our Gala Committee, Board of Trustees, and staff they went above and beyond to make the Company's first-ever sold-out Gala possible."

The Shakespeare & Company Board of Trustees are Kenneth E. Werner (Chair), Jeffrey B. Konowitch (Vice Chair), Barry R. Shapiro (Vice Chair), Michael Helfer (Treasurer), Michael A. Miller (Clerk), Jerome Berko, Sandra Bourgeois, George Camarda, Kevin G. Coleman, Gerald Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Fuchs, Phoebe L. Giddon, Dr. Beverly Hyman, Jennie M. Jadow, Dennis Krausnick, Barri Marks, Maureen O'Hanlon, Helga S. Orthofer, Tina Packer, Claudia Perles, Scott Rubinow, William M. Ryan, David A. Smith, Robert B. Strassler, John Douglas Thompson, and Suzanne Werner.

Shakespeare & Company's 2018 Gala was sponsored by Bella Flora, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Blue Q, Canyon Ranch, Chocolate Springs, Cranwell Resort, Golf Club Domaney's, Liquors, Ken Krensta, Berkshire Aviation, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Nejaime's Wine & Cheese Shop, Seven Hills Inn, SoCo Creamery, Soma Catering, Spirited Wines, Toole Companies, and Yankee Inn.?

When we create music together, we listen to our differences, connecting and creating meaning from them. The musicians of the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble represent dozens of nationalities and artistic traditions, from Spain and Japan to Syria and the United States. The Ensemble is a musical collective that appears in many configurations and settings, from intimate groups of two and three in museum galleries to rousing complements of eighteen in concert halls, public squares, and amphitheaters. Silkroad musicians are also teachers, producers, and advocates. Off the stage, they lead Silkroad's passion-driven learning programs, create residencies in schools, museums, and communities of all sizes, and experiment with new media, genres, and partners to share Silkroad's approach to radical cultural collaboration. The Ensemble performs throughout the world, and has recorded six albums. Its Grammy Award-winning album, Sing Me Home, was developed and recorded alongside the 2016 documentary feature about Silkroad, The Music of Strangers.

Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals of the world. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at

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