As of 3/1/21, we can host socially-distanced gatherings of up to 104 people in our Sanctuary space!

Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Berkshire Voices, and Dynamic Performance

Berkshire Playwrights Lab provides playwrights with the space to create. Through readings, workshops and fully-staged performances, BPL provides a structure for emerging and established playwrights in the Berkshires. Saint James Place is honored to provide the performance space for this weekend’s Berkshire Voices production: Jane Denitz Smith’s I Am, You Are, We Were. 

Jane Denitz Smith’s I Am, You Are, We Were is on Sunday, January 26 at 7pm here at Saint James Place.

Berkshire Voices is a program of BPL: a group of 10 – 12 talented local playwrights and theater artists meet every week at Saint James Place for 8 – 10 weeks in the Spring and Fall. These theatre playwrights, directors, producers and other professionals and enthusiasts gather in the East Room on Monday evenings from 6:30 – 9:00 pm and work together on short 10-minute plays or scenes from longer plays. They read the content cold so that the playwright can hear how his or her words sound – and then receive comments and reactions to help them move forward with their work.

In a recent conversation with Andy Reynolds, a playwright who has had two Berkshire Voices readings at Saint James Place – In Between Without You in 2017 and The Last Days of the Contract Player in 2019 – Reynolds said, “It is so helpful as a playwright who spends most of their time typing away alone in front of a computer screen to connect with other artists and get an early chance to hear what their written words sound when read aloud. Plus, it’s  a lot of fun!”

At the end of each of these work sessions, 2 – 3 full-length plays are chosen to be read aloud for the public. Reynolds said, “This is crucial to the development of a play – to hear the entire piece from start to finish. It is also terrific to work with a director in shaping and refining the piece. When you add actors to the mix, it becomes very exciting. The final ingredient is a live audience, who get a chance to hear a work in development and voice their reactions to what they heard.”

This Sunday, January 26th at 7pm here at Saint James Place, Jane Denitz Smith’s play, directed by Joe Cacaci, I Am, You Are, We Were, will be read. This original work features two families – one Russian, one suburban Jewish – and how their equilibrium is tilted by Bolshevik fervor, loss and a garage bursting with a lifetime’s worth of possessions. Learn more about the play and Smith here.

Suggested $15+ donations accepted at door in support of BPL and local playwrights and actors.

Playwright Reynolds said, “I love the intimate feel of the Great Hall at Saint James Place – it’s ideal for Berkshire Voices readings. There’s nothing nicer than cozying up in a seat on a winter’s night and hearing a fantastic play read by talented people. The best part is not knowing what you’ll experience until it’s happening!