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ENTERTAINMENT: PS21, shuttered, makes plans, offers walks

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CHATHAM—Like performance venues across the country, PS21 has
had to cancel its spring season through June 20. The venue’s earlier
hopes of reopening this summer appear increasingly unlikely.

As flux and uncertainty are hallmarks of the present moment, the PS21
staff and board work to find ways to offer performances by artists of the
highest caliber and continue fulfilling the venue’s commitment to the
community of Columbia County. They are exploring innovative
performance formats and ways to continue programs for the area’s most
vulnerable residents, such as the theater program for elders in residential
care who are now isolated from friends and family.

Photo credit: Judy Grunberg

In the meantime, while the theater remains shuttered, PS21’s 100 acres
of undeveloped apple orchards and meadows are open, offering a place
if respite and recreation with ample room for all to walk along the gravel
drive leading to the grounds and explore the many pathways through the
fields. Walkers should maintain a safe social distance and also keep an
eye out for ticks in a landscape that also provides habitat for wildlife.
Parking is available at the top of the PS21 driveway.

For more information and links to performances available now, visit the
PS21website, ps21chatham.org.

Rockwell Museum furloughs staff

STOCKBRIDGE, MA—The Norman Rockwell Museum (NRM) has
furloughed 42 of its 63 staff members and implemented salary
reductions for the remaining 18 full-time employees and five additional
staff, who will work part-time to sustain the Museum and position it to
be ready to reopen.

The Museum continues full health care benefits for the enrolled
furloughed employees and will assist furloughed staff members in
connecting to additional benefits that may be available to them.
The Museum has compensated staff fully since closing its doors on
March 13. The furlough period is expected to continue for up to four
weeks, but it will be reviewed weekly and could be longer. The Museum
will revisit and revise its course of action in accordance with the
evolving impacts of the pandemic.

The Norman Rockwell Museum was born out of Rockwell’s popular
following. Its business model is built on a diversified portfolio of earned
revenue sources from visitor admissions, museum store and café sales,
traveling exhibitions, program fees and essential contributions from
individuals, foundations and governmental agencies. With a small
endowment portfolio, it is vulnerable under these extreme
circumstances.

While the Museum building remains closed until government health
guidance permits a reopening date, the website is lively with virtual
exhibitions and events. The NRM will continue to provide and update
The Virtual Museum as a community resource for teachers, families,
children who are home schooling and people isolated in their homes.
See NRM.org

Jacob’s Pillow cancels 2020 season
BECKET, MA—The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival has been cancelled
for the 2020 season, for the first time in 88 years.

The Pillow, which has expanded to a year-round center over the past
four years, cancelled all public events, artist residencies and rentals from
March 13 to April 25 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and in
accordance with state and federal mandates.

Now it has cancelled its summer festival, scheduled for June 24 to
August 30, along with its annual gala, scheduled for June 20.
The organization’s operating budget is $8 million. Nearly 50% of its
annual revenue comes from Festival ticket sales and ancillary activities.
As a result of the cancellation, and to protect the fiscal health of the
organization, the Pillow reduced its year-round workforce of 45 full-
time employees by 40%; laying off 10 people and leaving 8 open
positions unfilled.

Additionally, 10 full-time employees were moved to a part-time
schedule. The remaining 17 full-time employees received pay cuts
ranging from 20% to 30%. Contracts for more than 40 seasonal staff
were cancelled and the organization’s Intern Program for 33 young
people from around the world was eliminated for 2020. Those laid off
will be eligible for coverage under the organization’s health care policy,
through July 31.

In the coming months, Jacob’s Pillow will deliver digital content drawn
from the Pillow’s extensive archives, create new programs featuring
artists that were scheduled this summer, and produce a new series of
online PillowTalks.

The Pillow is also exploring moving its professional training intensives
offered at The School at Jacob’s Pillow online, and plans to resume its
community engagement programs across Berkshire County as soon as it
is safe to bring people together.
For more information visit jacobspillow.org.

Shakespeare & Co. postpones 2020 summer season
LENOX, MA—Shakespeare & Company has postponed its 2020
summer season to the summer of 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic
(coronavirus). The decision was unanimous, from the Board of Trustees,
Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and Managing Director Adam Davis.

The Company intends to move as many of the productions planned
between May and September 2020 as it can to 2021, including “King
Lear” with Christopher Lloyd and the outdoor production of “Much Ado
About Nothing” in the Roman Garden Theatre.

In addition to the main performance season, the Company is canceling
its summer Education and Actor Training programs, including Riotous
Youth, Summer Conservatory and the Summer Shakespeare Intensive.
At this time, the Company plans to proceed with the Fall Festival of
Shakespeare, December production of Emma, Northeast Regional Tour
and Month-Long Intensive as scheduled.

The 2020 Gala, honoring Shakespeare & Company founding member
and director of education Kevin G. Coleman for his work as an actor,
director and educator, has been rescheduled from June 27 to October 10,
2020. For additional gala information or to reserve seats, call 413 637-
1199, ext. 105. Learn more at www.shakespeare.org

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