Carole Siegel, Ed.D.
Educational Outreach Committee Chair, BTG Board of Trustees
William S. Ballen
Coordinator of Professional Development Berkshire Readiness Center, MCLA
Sherri James Buxton
Music Instructor, Central Berkshire Regional School District/Berkshire Music School
As part of our ongoing efforts to support children's interest in the arts, we established the Youth Advisory Board in 2010. This Board which features high school students from across the county, meets periodically to discuss upcoming events, makes suggestions for artists of interest to young audiences and assists with activities at the theatres including distribution of information, creation of videos and social media networking.
The Performing Arts for Schools series is intended for school-aged children and programs are chosen to complement the curriculum in each grade level. Performances are not appropriate for children under the age of five.
Education programs are a fundamental component of the Berkshire Theatre Group’s mission to serve our community. School field trips to our theaters allow students to experience diverse, educational and entertaining, programs that reinforce classroom curriculum, while fostering an understanding of and appreciation for the performing arts!
This past summer marked the 8th Annual Berkshire Theatre Group’s Children’s Theatre production. Peter Pan was performed in August with over 100 children grades 3 and up from school districts throughout Berkshire County participated as well as a number of adults from of our local community. The cast performed to packed audiences at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. This is the first professional theatrical experience that many of these children will have the opportunity to participate in. We hope this experience will stimulate a life-long love of theater and help to produce the next generation of theatre goers, if not actors or other theatre professionals.
BTG PLAYS! School Residency Program—In-School Programming
Through a 14-week creative and collaborative process, students will develop and write their own original one act plays. BTG PLAYS! is designed to enable students with a variety of learning styles to grasp the fundamentals of playwriting by using improvisation as the primary teaching tool to communicate concepts of theatre, literature, writing, and playwriting contained in our student study guide, which is distributed to each student. The study guide includes vocabulary, guided imagery exercises, dialogue examples, and exercises that provide opportunity for students to develop short pieces of writing that become the raw material for each student to use in the creation of a one act play. Classes are led by trained actors and playwrights who encourage students to develop conflict exercises, act out original scenes, and transform their classrooms into creative laboratories for theatre. The program is intended to be a hands-on kinesthetic learning experience that celebrates each young person and the uniqueness of his/her artistic voice. The final weeks of BTG PLAYS! are filled with the excitement generated by the rehearsal and production of staged readings of selected student written plays at each school for parents and peers. All students become actors in the productions. The BTG PLAYS! School Residency Program adheres to the Massachusetts English Language Arts guiding principles.
BTG PLAYS! Touring Performances Offered Throughout the School Year
Beginning in October and running through the school year, BTG’s Artists-in-Residence perform an original play at dozens of venues throughout the region. These well-crafted productions are appropriate for elementary and middle school and are designed to introduce students to the excitement of live theatre. A question and answer session with the actors follows each performance.
BTG PLAYS! After School, allows students with a variety of learning styles to discover the fundamentals of theatre production, acting, and storytelling while exploring a classic myth or fairy tale. The programs are intended to be a hands-on kinesthetic learning experience that celebrates each young person and the uniqueness of his/her artistic voice. The programming is led by trained actors who get the students up on their feet acting out scenes, playing a variety of theatre games and working on voice and movement. Ultimately students learn to trust their own imaginations while learning respect for their fellow peers and how to work in the context of a group. Additionally, some vacation classes and after school classes offer a backstage component. Students are introduced to the basic elements of design of props, costumes and set.
BTG PLAYS! on Vacation is offered during the April School Vacation Week at the Berkshire Theatre Festival campus for students ages 8-13. Classes run Mondays-Fridays from 9am until 2pm. Classes culminate in a final performance. Registration required. Scholarships are available through the Richie duPont Award. Students must apply.
Actor Training Program
Berkshire Theatre Festival, now Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) performing on five stages has a strong commitment to investing in the next generation of theatre artists. By presenting theatre that matters—world premieres, contemporary works, and classics—we are able to speak to who we are in our world today.
Our highly regarded Summer Performance Training Apprentice Program offers 15 students from all over the country a multifaceted approach to actor training that combines a strong emphasis on movement and vocal technique. The uniqueness of the program lies in our fundamental belief that theatre succeeds through ensemble work. As a result, students are vital members of the BTG community, performing on one of our many stages, taking classes each day, and assisting in a variety of departments including production and administration. Students should be prepared for a vigorous and all-encompassing approach to professional theatre.
Production & Administrative Internships
Berkshire Theatre Group offers internships and summer staff positions in both Production and the Administrative office. Applicants for the internship program need to be students with some theatre experience who are looking to expand their knowledge with hands-on work and mentorship from professional department heads. Staff members should have theatre experience and be prepared to lead and teach their department in a quick-paced environment. Each intern or staff member is a crucial part of the creation and operation of the festival from running professional shows, to building sets, costumes, to house managing and working in our marketing and development departments. This is the opportunity to gain familiarity and work experience in the theatre career you are headed towards. College credit is available by request.
Directing, Design & Technical Direction
Berkshire Theatre Group performing on four stages offers Assistantships in Directing, Design, and Technical Direction. Applicants for this program need to be aspiring students wanting to further their theatre careers with hands-on professional training. Those students in the Assistantship program will work alongside production interns and staff in their particular field, as well as a chance to put what they have learned into practice. The Assistantship Program tuition for 2014 is $1,000 for Directing Assistantships and $700 for Design and Technical Direction Assistantships. This tuition does include housing, meal plan and the following benefits.