LENOX, Mass. – Shakespeare & Company has awarded the 2023 Philip Heller Award for Distinguished Service to Sandra Bourgeois of Richmond, Mass. 

Bourgeois, a member of Shakespeare & Company’s Board of Trustees and past president of its Volunteer Company, is the sixth and latest recipient of the award, established in 2019 by Anita Heller of Lenox, Mass., in memory of her late husband Philip Heller. Heller, a real estate attorney in the Town of Lenox, represented Shakespeare & Company pro bono for 40 years until his passing in 2018.

The Philip Heller Award for Distinguished Service recognizes members of the community for extraordinary service to the Company, and was launched in tandem with the Philip Heller Fund, which generates funding for various campus improvement projects. In recent years, funding has gone toward such initiatives as  the creation of an on-campus composting system and COVID-19 testing supplies that enabled two New York State high schools to participate in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare.

Bourgeois has volunteered with the Company since 2011, when she and her partner, Sarah Lytle, joined the gardening team. Bourgeois became the first Secretary for the Volunteer Company in 2013, then Vice President, then President – a position she held until 2019. 

As President, Bourgeois initiated the Company’s Oral History Archive Project (OHAP), which preserves and highlights countless documents, images, and recordings from the Company’s 46-year history, in a readily usable system.

In 2015, Bourgeois helped create Shakespeare & Company’s original “Talking Bench,” located at the outdoor Roman Garden Theatre. She raised funds, chose the Berkshire Ash slab to make the bench, and organized Company actors, including Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, to record readings accessible from the bench via a QR code. 

In 2017, Sandy became a member of the Company’s Board of Trustees, representing the Volunteer Company. She continues to contribute her time and expertise to the gardening team, the Development department’s planned giving initiatives, the Property Committee, and the annual Tag Sale fundraiser, which raised $4,211 this year – a record intake. 

Henry Baker, current President of the Volunteer Company, praised Bourgeois’ commitment to Shakespeare & Company, particularly through a diverse set of projects completed over many years. 

“In the last 12 years, Sandy has shown incredible leadership among the volunteers and dedication to Shakespeare & Company, he said. “I can’t think of a more fitting recipient for the 2023 Heller Award.”

For more information or to make a gift to the Philip Heller Fund, call Kristen Moriarty at (413) 637-1199 ext. 105, or email kmoriarty@shakespeare.org.

Philip Heller Distinguished Service Award Past Recipients 

Sarah Lytle, Richmond, Mass. 

^Bob Lohbauer, Lee, Mass.

^Scott Rubinow, Durham, N.C.

Mary Ann Turney, Otis, Mass. 

Ken Werner, Lenox, Mass.

^ – deceased

About Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 by Tina Packer. Located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Company offers performance, education, and actor-training opportunities year-round, and attracts more than 40,000 patrons annually with a core of more than 150 artists.

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