If you live in the beautiful Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, or if you’re just making a trip to the region for a weekend, you’ll discover that there’s no shortage of arts and cultural events that you can take in. When you’re not observing nature in its splendor, there are many campuses that performing arts organizations call home. Hosting dance productions, music concerts, and theatrical shows, these groups are in a category of their own. See our guide to five places where you can enjoy live performances in the Berkshires.
Featuring historic campuses in Stockbridge and Pittsfield, Berkshire Theatre Group will be presenting some inspired productions on their stages. Take “Million Dollar Quartet,” a Tony award winning show about the coming together of legends, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, for a night of music. Later in the summer, you can view the world premiere of “The Smile of Her,” a play about the life of a suburban family in the 1950s. At the end of August, you can enjoy a breathtaking performance of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” presented by the Berkshire Opera Festival at The Colonial Theater. View a list of shows here. The Colonial Theatre: 111 South St., Pittsfield; The Unicorn Theatre: 6 East St., Stockbridge
The joyful summer dance festival held at Jacob’s Pillow, in the town of Becket, draws audiences every year. When you visit, you’ll enter a kind of village, where performances come to life in the Ted Shawn Theatre and outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage. At the 2023 festival, take in a show from Te Ao Mana, a dance company that seeks to expand the presence of indigenous Polynesian culture, or watch the Ice Dance International, during which award-winning skaters will perform atop special flooring. You can also see a work from Ananya Dance Theatre, made up of cultural activists and “BIPOC women, womxn, and femme” artists, as well as performances from The School at Jacob’s Pillow Performance Ensembles. Browse the festival season here. 358 George Carter Rd., Becket
On the Lenox grounds of Shakespeare and Company, you’ll find several theaters reviving classics from the Bard and more. This season, watch Ken Ludwig’s “Dear Jack, Dear Louise,” a story of two strangers who meet through letters. If you’re looking to see something written by Shakespeare himself, immerse yourself in “The Contention (Henry VI, Part II),” which has even been called the inspiration behind “Game of Thrones.” The wrestling for power between the Lancaster and York families is the subject of the play. Finally, Shakespeare and Company will also be presenting “Fences” by August Wilson, about a working class Black man struggling to support his family. View the season here. 70 Kemble Street, Lenox
The sweeping scenes of the Tanglewood campus, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, are the backdrop for a number of musical events taking place in the warm months to come. Listen to legends such as Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, joined by special guest JD McPherson. James Taylor will also be performing live, giving two “intimate [yet] memorable” concerts. For classical music lovers, Andris Nelsons of the BSO will conduct “Così fan tutte” by Mozart. The Boston Pops will present “Ragtime: The Symphonic Concert,” based on the Broadway musical. See the season here. 297 West St., Lenox
Every summer, this bold and rich festival on the Williams College campus has been bringing together theater artists for seasons of world premiere plays, revivals, and more. In July, you can catch a reading of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” telling the story of three women dreaming of a different life and coping with reality. Theatergoers may also like to attend a reading of “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh, which provokes the question of whether art can be separated from the artist who creates it. You’ll also have the chance to watch Broadway star Laura Benanti in concert. View the season here. 1000 Main St., Williamstown
Need weekend plans?
The best events in the city, delivered to your inbox