Berkshire Theatre Group and Artistic Director/CEO Kate Maguire are pleased to announce a generous gift of just over $1 million dollars from the family of the late Mary Anne Gross in honor of her lifetime love of both theatre and the Berkshires.

From the Official Press Release From Berkshire Theatre Group:

This award also recognizes the heroic and tireless efforts of Berkshire Theatre Group in producing the first live Actors’ Equity approved musical 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 just over $1 million to Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company.

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 theatre continues 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.

In July 2020, Berkshire Theatre Group’s musical, Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz, the first Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) approved musical in the United States following the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, opened a five-week run under a tent outside of The Colonial Theatre.

Due to popular demand and critical acclaim, the run was extended for two weeks. The musical ran from August 6 - September 20. Berkshire Theatre Group has just been approved once again by AEA and will present Truman Capote’s Holiday Memories outdoors at its Stockbridge Campus from November 20 - December 20.

The gift came by way of Mary Chris and Alan Bassman, who were seeking a way to honor the recent passing of her mother in December 2019.

“We wanted to do something in my mother’s memory that could make a difference in the community and be meaningful to Alan and me,” said Mrs. Bassman. “My mom loved the theater and she exposed me to theater at a young age, which fostered a love for the performing arts in me. 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 us. We thought this would be a wonderful and fitting tribute to our mother.”

About Berkshire Theatre Group:

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires. In 2010, under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, the two organizations merged to form Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG).

Berkshire Theatre Group's mission is to support wide-ranging artistic exploration and acclaimed performances in theatre, dance, music and entertainment. Every year, BTG produces and presents performances to over 68,000 attendees and, through our Educational Program, serves over 13,000 Berkshire County schoolchildren annually.

In July 2020, Berkshire Theatre was the first company in the United States to earn approval from the Actors’ Equity Association to produce a musical (Godspell) in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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