Stories of Stockbridge: Chapman and Ionesco

Dave’s Journey with the BTG

Photograph from unknown newspaper, 1969, from the BTF archives.

Dave Chapman spent forty years working in the arts. He worked in theatre and dance doing everything from maintenance to lighting design. His love of theatre was sparked during a summer job in high school with the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

“I went to high school at Pittsfield High, and back then due to the overcrowding they had split sessions, so I had my afternoons free. I heard that the Berkshire Theatre Festival was looking for people to spruce up the playhouse for the summer season, and so I started working at BTF during the afternoons. My time there overlapped with the incoming summer staff, and I found them very interesting.

I hadn’t really been exposed to theatre before, so I begged myself a job for the summer. I became the assistance maintenance man. Once I got done with my work for the day, I was allowed to go and work in the shop, and that’s what I did. I learned about stage carpentry, you know building scenery, building props.

They liked my work, and invited me back the next year. Gradually, it was after the seven summers that I worked with BTF, I became the assistant technical director. I was going to Berkshire Community College throughout those years, and you know I was the techie at BCC.

I finished college in Pittsburgh, and moved to New York. I had actually gotten into lighting for dance by this point, and was pointed to Jacob’s Pillow. I was there for five seasons as the technical director of the Ted Shawn theatre. In 1978 I met a dance company called Pilobolus. I was with them for 20 years as their lighting designer, supervisor, logistics, until 1996 when I went back to Jacob’s Pillow.

In 1999, I got a call from Bob Boland, who I’d worked with before, and was invited to be on the board of directors with The Colonial Theatre. They used my road experience to work with the consultants. I decided to see if I could join the staff at the Colonial, and worked with them for a couple of years until the budget was cut and they couldn’t keep me on.

I realized that I’d done what I could in the theatre, and went back to school for healthcare. It was a forty year career with the bookends being the Berkshire Theatre Festival and The Colonial Theatre.”

Dave Chapman now works as a Hyperbaric Medical Assistant at the Wound Care Center and began his career in medicine in 2009.

My Favorite Story

“In 1969, we did a production of a play called Hunger and Thirst by Eugène Ionesco. He [Ionesco] came with his wife to the opening, and I got to meet him. He was the most proper man that I’ve ever met. A small man with this beautiful blue silk collarless jacket, no tie, his collar buttoned up to the top. His wife looked to me like Mamie Eisenhower. She dressed very similar to Mrs. Eisenhower with the little round hat and was so prim and proper.

His play, Hunger and Thirst was something else. You know we did this production that was bizarre beyond anything I’ve seen before or since. We filled the proscenium with a wall, which was hinged in 4 pieces so that it could track off and open up, so that one side would fold back and the other side would fold back, and they’d track off to the sides. So it was the entire width and height of the proscenium there. It was a thick plywood covered with appliquéd Styrofoam, covered with toy submachine guns and parts of baby dolls. There were a lot more toys and things, but those two I always remember. The thing weighed a lot.

The designer, I can’t quite remember his name, but I know he and his wife went on to be the production designers of Saturday Night Live. Anyway, we had this giant structure up, and the designer came in and looked at it. It was a massive piece, and he said ‘Can we move this six inches upstage?’ and a hammer dropped from the grid in his general direction. He left the theatre at that point and didn’t come back until we’d finished putting this up.”

Plan Your Visit

Read our suggestions on where to dine, and where to hang your hat.

Get Started
Did You Know?
Just like NPR, Berkshire Theatre Group depends on the generous giving of its members!
Join Today!
We believe the performing arts can transform a community.
Learn More
Of the 16,000 Berkshire County school children, we serve 13,000 through our BTG PLAYS! Year-Round Educational Programs.
Learn More
Theatre is the place where we go to understand what lies in the human heart.
About Us
BTG's buildings, on two campuses in Stockbridge and Pittsfield, are historic treasures.
Theatre Info
Berkshire Theatre Group believes that the creative arts encourage freedom of speech and debate.
Get Involved
"Out of need will come the way. Once the pandemic ebbs, whenever that is, there will be an incredible need to gather again." - Artistic Director, Kate Maguire
Join Today!
The theatre has existed from the time of the Greeks. We will go on.
Learn More
Join Our Mailing List

Receive the latest BTG News, Updates, Special Offers, and more right to your inbox.

Subscribe

News & Articles

From the Archives: Two Dead Crows

By: Scout Swonger (They/Them/Theirs) As the spookiest of days approaches and everyone is getting into the Halloween spirit with jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, and graves about the yard, we at BTG are … Read On

Have you heard about #GivingTuesday? Giving Tuesday reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and generosity. 🌍 Over the next couple of weeks we will share some of our favorite ways to participate in the movement and how you can be a part of Giving Tuesday by donating to Berkshire Theatre Group! How will you join the movement?
16 0
Voting is open for Broadway World’s 2022 Regional Awards! Follow the link and drop your vote for Berkshire Theatre Group! 📩
.
link in bio!
35 0
Our very own Kate Maguire hosted Governor-Elect Maura Healey as she met with Berkshire County Lawmakers at BTG's Colonial Theatre on Thursday!
.
link in bio for the full story!
80 2
On behalf of everyone at Berkshire Theatre Group, we want to say thank you to everyone, past and present, who has served our nation.
26 0
When the audience asks for it, you give an encore! 👏 Due to popular demand, we are extending our Theatre Pass deadline for ONE week! Hurry- this offer now ends November 18th!
.
link in bio!
14 0
Don’t forget to vote for Berkshire Theatre Group! ✔ BTG has been nominated for Awards in the categories of Live Music Venue, Live Theatre, and Performance Space. You can vote every day until November 14
.
link in bio!
19 0
🎵There is no doubt that this show will have you strolling down memory lane and tapping your toes to some of your favorite tunes! Grab your tickets today and join us for the final performance of the show, back where it all began at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA.
.
Link in bio!
20 0
🎸Whoooa! We’re halfway there! 🤘Don’t forget to grab your tickets to BonJourney for November 12th! This high-energy show has sold out the last two times it’s been in town and we can’t wait for another night of rock! 
.
Check the link in our bio for tickets!
16 0
⏰There are 6 days left to purchase your passes! Visit the link in our bio and grab yours today! 🙌🏼
20 0
⛷We are back with Warren Miller’s 73rd annual ski and snowboard film, “Daymaker”! Whether you’re joining us for the first time or coming back for a yearly tradition, the fun is guaranteed to be extreme! 🏂 How many Warren Miller films have you seen? Comment below!

Ticket link in bio!
16 0
BTG has won Best of the Berkshires for Best Live Theatre! 🎉
63 2
We are so excited to announce The Things I Cannot Change: A Staged Reading in Collaboration with the Roundabout Theatre Company! 

This staged reading will take place at the Unicorn on November 6 at 2pm. Tickets are free; a $10-$20 donation is suggested.
21 0
The holidays will be here before you know it! 👀🎄🎁

Back by popular demand after this summer’s hit “Smokey and Me: A Celebration of Smokey Robinson”, Charl Brown returns to the Colonial with The Doo Wop Project featuring stars from Broadway hits Jersey Boys, Motown: The Musical and A Bronx Tale! Ticket link in bio! 
.
.
.
#theatre #broadway #doowop #holiday #intheberkshires #charlbrown
23 2
Your favorite annual film tradition is back, this November 3 at the Colonial! ❄️ Warren Miller's 73rd annual ski and snowboard film DAYMAKER will take you on a journey to peaks that replace the mountains in your mind with ones that free your mind. 

Ticket link in bio!
14 0
It's Time To Vote! ✨The Rural Intelligence Voting Round is now LIVE! BTG has been nominated for Awards in Arts Organization, Live Music Venue, Live Theatre and Performance Space.

 You can vote every day until November 14! Link in bio 🗳
21 0
Join us for the annual celebration that crosses generations and connects us to the comforting constant of snow with Warren Miller’s 73rd annual ski and snowboard film, Daymaker, November 3 at the Colonial! ❄️☀️⛷🏂

More info and ticket link in bio!
19 0
Announcing a limited time offer: A Three Show Theatre Pass for $120! Hurry– this offer ends November 11!link in bio! 

📷: @ekrwcreative
25 0
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
Error: Connected account for the user berkshiretheatregroup does not have permission to use this feed type.
Follow Us