Shakespeare & Company plans festive Independence Day fun for families

The Reading of the Declaration of Independence, Shakespeare & Company, July 4th, 2011. Photo by Kevin Sprague ©2011

The Reading of the Declaration of Independence, Shakespeare & Company, July 4th, 2011. Photo by Kevin Sprague ©2011

Once again, Shakespeare & Company is opening its grounds to the Berkshire community for their annual July Fourth Celebration. This lively and family-friendly day is a FREE event, open to the public. Come enjoy a fun-filled day of music, song, a classic all-American barbeque, and a stirring reading of the Declaration of Independence. It’s a tradition begun by Tina Packer who is in the photo above.

This year, special guest readers include the former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, State Senator Benjamin Downing, Massachusetts State Representative Smitty Pignatelli, and acclaimed broadcast journalist Ted Koppel.

“It’s one of the most influential documents in history,” says Artistic Director Jonathan Croy. “Every year, hundreds of people gather to hear the reading, people from the community, weekend guests, visitors from across the globe; and it’s quite moving—direct, thoughtful, and passionate. It’s a document that says much about who we are, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our independence than a reminder of how this all started.”

Guests are invited to a ribbon cutting of Shakespeare & Company’s upgraded accessibility features at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at 1:45pm, concessions for sale will open at 2:00pm, and the free reading of the Declaration of Independence at 3:00pm.

Written in 1776, The Declaration is a vital part of our shared legacy and one of the most historically significant texts ever penned. Shakespeare & Company’s reading of The Declaration of Independence features some of the most stirring words of political rhetoric ever written, spoken out loud by Company actors, community members, and state and local dignitaries.

Fourth of July Schedule of Events:

1:45 – Ribbon cutting for upgraded accessibility features at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

2:00 – Community Barbecue (à la carte pricing)

2:45 – Music performed by Company musicians

3:00 – Reading of The Declaration of Independence

About Shakespeare & Company

Located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Founded in 1978 by Tina Packer, the organization attracts tens of thousands of patrons annually. The Company is also home to a renowned Center for Actor Training, as well as an award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.

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