Original plays written and performed by Berkshire teens based on their personal stories

(Pittsfield, MA) Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in Downtown Pittsfield, MA, under the leadership of Artistic Director Alan Paul, celebrates 23 years with the 2023 Playwright Mentoring Project (PMP) Spring Tour with three free public performances: PMP North Adams Play Festival, Tuesday, March 28 at 7:00pm at ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance (1000 Main Street, Williamstown); PMP Pittsfield Play Festival, Thursday, March 30 at 7:00pm and the All PMP Fest on Saturday, April 1 at 2:00pm at the St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (36 Linden Street). 

Tickets to the PMP North Adams and Pittsfield Play Festivals on March 28 and 30 are first come first serve. For tickets to the All PMP Fest on Saturday, April 1, call the Barrington Stage Box Office at 413-236-8888 or visit www.barringtonstageco.org/Tickets.

The Playwright Mentoring Project Spring Tour features Berkshire County students from the following schools: Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter School (BART), Drury High, Herberg Middle, Hoosac Valley High, Lee High, McCann Technical, Mt. Greylock Regional, Pittsfield High, Reid Middle, Taconic High and Wahconah Regional.

The students have access to 20 members of the Playwright Mentoring Project from Director of Education and Community Engagement Jane O’Leary, Community Engagement/EDI (Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) Coordinator Sharron Frazier-McClain, Associate Director of Education Jess Diaz Griffin; Artistic Mentors Marcella Ferry, Carli McGurn; Peer Mentors Xinef Afraim, Kiara Bressett, Nollan Gageant, Evan Gardzina, Joseph Gunn, Shannon Gwozdz, Nick Howe, Jessyca Muniz; Playwrights Michael Dowling and Kelli Newby (Berkshires), Seth McNeill (Hudson); Sam LaFrage (New York City) and Dana Hall (Chicago); Therapists Deb Cole-Duffy and Lisa Tessier.

BSC’s Playwright Mentoring Project Spring Tour receives major support from C.F. Adams Charitable Trust, Avangrid Foundation, Berkshire Bank, The Feigenbaum Foundation, InterAct for Change, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Mass Cultural Council and United Way Berkshires.

“This year’s PMP plays represent students from all over Berkshire County. There are 43 participants performing in the play festival with 5 different plays being presented,” said BSC Director of Education and Community Engagement Jane O’Leary. “Many of the plays explore difficult social and emotional issues. These participants have navigated these sensitive topics and developed them into scenes with the assistance of trauma-informed mentors. By presenting this meaningful work we hope to foster a dialogue with the audience. Themes covered in this year’s plays include: disability advocacy, racism, Islamophobia, cancel culture, mental wellness, gender identity, psychological safety, harassment and navigating an uncertain future.  We continue to be inspired by participants’ willingness  to critically reflect on their circumstances and the world around them. The rigor and process that it takes to bring one PMP scene to life develops the necessary skills to thrive in any future endeavor. We are thankful to all the mentors and supporters that make this program possible.”


Lasting six months, PMP is an intensive, out-of-school activity that uses theatre as a catalyst to help young people learn valuable life skills. PMP is offered at no cost to the students, and no audition is required. Meeting weekly, PMP offers teenagers a brave space to talk about difficult issues in their daily lives. Participants learn the fundamentals of devising, playwriting and improvisation from experienced mentors. Theatre is used as a means of self-exploration and self-expression. Over the course of the program, teens collaborate to create an original performance piece based on their own stories. Over the six months, students develop conflict resolution skills, learn to express themselves and create a supportive community together. This year PMP ran 5 school groups, three in Pittsfield and two in North Adams. This year, for the 2nd year, PMP is partnering with Eagle Academy Middle School to develop a PMP play with their students. Eagle Academy students have been meeting twice a week since January 2023 and will have an invited performance in April for friends and family.

PMP is the winner of the nationally renowned “Coming Up Taller Award” and the Massachusetts Commonwealth Award for Creative Youth Development, for its Education Programs, most notably the Playwright Mentoring Project for underserved youth.


Barrington Stage Company (BSC) is an award-winning theatre located in Pittsfield, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires. Co-founded in 1995 by Julianne Boyd, BSC’s mission is to produce top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to engage the community with vibrant, inclusive educational outreach programs. Alan Paul succeeded Ms. Boyd as the company’s Artistic Director in 2022.

BSC attracts over 60,000 patrons annually and has gained national recognition for its superior-quality productions and comprehensive educational programming, including the award-winning Playwright Mentoring Project, the Musical Theatre Conservatory, Youth Theatre, KidsAct! and other initiatives. The company has become integral to the economic revitalization of downtown Pittsfield.

BSC’s reputation for excellence began with a smash revival of Cabaret that moved to Boston in 1997 for an extended run. The theatre’s prominence grew with the world premiere of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin (BSC 2004; Broadway 2005-2008, winner of two Tony Awards). Other notable productions include the world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s American Son (BSC 2016; Broadway 2018); Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session (BSC 2009; Off-Broadway 2010-2012); Leonard Bernstein, Comden & Green’s On the Town (BSC 2013; Broadway 2014, four Tony Award nominations); Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company, starring Aaron Tveit (2017); and West Side Story in honor of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins’ centenaries (2018).

BSC develops and commissions new work with two programs: PlayWorks, which supports the creation of new plays, and the Musical Theatre Lab, which develops new musicals. Since 1995, BSC has produced 45 new works, 22 of which have moved to New York and major US regional theatres. Following the industry-wide shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, BSC was the first Equity theatre in the US to return to live performance with its critically acclaimed production of Harry Clarke, starring BSC Associate Artist Mark H. Dold and directed by Ms. Boyd.

The 2022 season featured a critically acclaimed revival of Ain’t Misbehavin’, which won two Berkshire Theatre Awards, including Outstanding Ensemble; Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics; Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s A Little Night Music, winner of eight Berkshire Theatre Awards including Outstanding Production of a Musical; the world premiere play All of Me by Laura Winters, winner of two Berkshire Theatre Awards; the world premiere play Andy Warhol in Iran by Brent Askari, winner of a Berkshire Theatre Award for world premiere of a new play; May Treuhaft-Ali’s world premiere play ABCD; the Youth Theatre’s world premiere production of The Supadupa Kid; and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, winner of three Berkshire Theatre Awards including Outstanding Production of a Play.

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