Berkshire Theatre Festival
It is of no surprise that the Berkshire Theatre Festival's Playhouse has become both an historical and cultural icon. From its inception, the building has had nothing but great minds and high ideals (save for a brief, early stint as the Stockbridge Casino); the building was designed by Stanford White's architectural firm and first became an active theatre as a result of Mabel Choate selling the building to Walter Clark, Dr. Austen Fox Riggs and Daniel Chester French, who formed a sort of "pre-Tribeca" artistic alliance called the Three Arts Society. The Berkshire Playhouse's opening night was on June 4, 1928 and has since seen some the age's most notable actors treading the stage, including Cagney, Barrymore, Gish, Hepburn, Keaton, Hackman, Hoffman, Pacino, and countless others performing the great works of Wilder, Hellman, O'Neil and Williams.
In 1967, the Berkshire Playhouse was renamed the Berkshire Theatre Festival. To make room for the many new and different works, the Unicorn Theatre was created in the 1970s, specifically to showcase more experimental, challenging or provocative works. In recent years, the building has been renovated and improved to make the theatre and even more pleasant entertainment. The BTF has shepherded a critically acclaimed set of works, while helping focus on outreach to bring the theatre closer to the people of the community, as well as offering residencies where students can hone their craft. The entire experience challenges and benefits both artist and audience.