The Berkshire Theatre Festival, located in Stockbridge, MA, and the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA, will each retain its respective boards of trustees, but will also create a new board to oversee operations uniting the two companies. Berkshire artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire will now essay the same roles at the Colonial. A staff of 17 will be created to manage programming at both venues.
BTF is renowned for its summer productions (often featuring Broadway actors) and the Colonial's programming, a mix of concerts, comedy and limited stage bookings, is strongest in the fall through the spring. The two will combine their resources to interchangeably stage productions and festivals throughout the year. It is also the aim to possibly transfer larger scale productions to or from New York in the future thanks to the Colonial's larger capacity.
Leaders at the two organizations decided on the partnership in order to address a challenging economy, which has brought about changes in the spheres of nonprofit arts and culture management and fundraising.
The Berkshire Theatre Festival was founded in 1928. Its main stage was originally designed and built by Stanford White as the Stockbridge Casino in 1888. BTF is one of the oldest regional theatres in the U.S. The Colonial opened in 1903 and enjoyed life as a Vaudeville house until the Great Depression. It was renovated and reopened to the public in 2006.