Barrington Artistic Director Julianne Boyd announced July 8 that the company has purchased the Berkshire Music Hall in downtown Pittsfield for $785,000. BSC plans to continue the renovations of the Music Hall that were begun by its former owner Raymond Schilke. The first complete BBC season produced at its new home will begin in summer 2006.
In a statement Artistic Director Boyd said, "We are thrilled to announce that Barrington Stage Company has purchased the Berkshire Music Hall and neighboring Octagon House on Union Street in Pittsfield. We are looking forward to making Pittsfield our year-round home and to becoming part of this burgeoning, vital arts community. The support of Berkshire County, particularly that of our South County audience who have been the heart of BSC for the last decade, has been indispensable in the creation of top-quality innovative theatre. It is our wish that this move allow us to grow artistically while reaching an even broader, more diverse countywide audience. A permanent home will allow BSC to produce and develop more shows throughout the year. Barrington Stage Company will also be looking to rent additional space, not only for the building of costumes, sets and props, but for a Stage II performance space for the 2006 season."
Boyd also announced that composer William Finn, whose Spelling Bee is currently enjoying sell-out audiences on Broadway, will curate a 2006 Stage II season of new musicals by up-and-coming writers and composers.
The Berkshire Music Hall, located at 30 Union Street, opened in September 1912 as the Union Square Theatre. The theatre featured vaudeville acts, stage shows and silent pictures, and in 1928 began showing "talking pictures." In 1967 the theatre was sold and renamed The Paris, which featured first-run movies through the 1970's. The theatre was then purchased by the Berkshire Public Theatre in 1983. A non-profit repertory theatre company performed there through 1994.
Co-founded in 1995 by Julianne Boyd, the Barrington Stage Company is a not for-profit theatre whose mission is three fold: "to produce top notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold new ways of bringing audiences into the theatre." For more information visit www.barringtonstageco.org.