A theater company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is reporting record ticket sales for its 2012 season. That’s after the company weathered a move from southern Berkshire County during difficult economic times.
Julianne Boyd is the artistic director for Barrington Stage. She says the company moved to Pittsfield six years ago — a decision she says drew some skepticism.
“People said like…why would you move there? Those people aren’t interested in theater. Um, But I think the most amazing thing to me is the number of people that have come. I think we’re always worried that theater is a dying art from etc. etc. But I don’t think we’ve found that.”
Boyd says during their summer and fall seasons, over 51-thousand people came to see Barrington Stage performances. And of those 51,000, 27 percent were from the Pittsfield area. Boyd says the company provides New York caliber shows. That means they do their casting in New York City, and draw the more than 100 technical and administrative staff members to live in Pittsfield during the height of the summer season. But even with so many out-of-towners, she says, Barrington Stage seeks to engage area residents.
Boyd says she was expecting the shows to catch on among the city’s growing adult creative class. But she says two years ago the company realized they could ignite the larger Pittsfield community’s interest in theater through its youth.
“I mean when we did The Crucible, we had students at intermission, they would call their parents at intermission and tell them they had to come see the show. And right after intermission was over our phones would ring off the hook because parents would be calling and saying “my son or daughter said I have to see this.”
Boyd says since then, they’ve performed a mix of well known and original plays including Fiddler on the Roof — which is what led to high ticket sales this year. She says now that they have an established audience for the 2013 season, they’ll experiment with some lesser known shows.