There are lots of opinions as to why the Berkshires stage is the center of so many world-class theater companies, troupes, mainstay productions, and festivals but there is little argument that once The Berkshire Theatre Festival, Tanglewood, and Jacob’s Pillow were established, they served as magnets for much of what followed.
The Berkshire Playhouse may have started it all in 1928 with the Berkshire Theatre Festival, which continues to this day under the guidance of the Berkshire Theatre Group. The five different stages that make up the Berkshires Theatre Group – the Fitzpatrick, the Unicorn, the Neil Ellenoff, the Colonial, and The Garage – bring steady entertainment year-round to the Berkshires stage.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, founded in 1933 by modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn is the longest-running dance festival in America. Running every summer from June to August and including over 50 different performance companies from across the globe, Jacob’s Pillow Dance is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the property was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony’s busy summer house, routinely brings musicians and conductors from all over the world to the Berkshires stage. Between the Festival of Contemporary Music, the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and various big name artists passing through the area, it’s a good bet that you’ll end up before a Tanglewood stage when you’re in the Berkshires.
Another old Berkshires venue, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center has been in Great Barrington since 1905 and routinely presents a great and varied selection of music, dance, theater, opera, and film in its recently renovated, 700-seat performance center.
The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Tony Award-winning and innovative stage productions attract audiences and artists alike with productions that often lead to Broadway and beyond.
Founded in 1995, Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company offers compelling and award-winning new plays and musical productions year-round.
Looking for the Bard on the Berkshires stage? Shakespeare & Company, in Lenox has produced both classic Shakespeare and newer works since 1978.
Other Berkshires stages include:
The Guthrie Center at Old Trinity Church in Great Barrington
The Music & More Festival, August through September at The Meeting House in New Marlborough
The Berkshire Fringe Festival during August in Pittsfield
The New Century Theater at Smith College in Northampton
South Mountain Concerts starting in September in Pittsfield
Lebanon’s Theater Barn
… and, of course, more – there’s always more on the Berkshires stage!
Berkshires Stage Lodging
Whatever brings you to the Berkshires, whether its the stage, our area’s natural beauty, recreation, business, or what have you, do yourself a favor and stay at The Federal House Inn.
Centrally located in lovely South Lee, The Federal House Inn provides easy access to all the Berkshires have to offer, along with delicious, candlelit breakfasts, stately amenities, and uncommonly comfortable accommodations. Come see what you’ve been missing!