The Official Blog of the
Williamstown Theatre Festival

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WTF Receives the 2011 Commonwealth Award for Achievement

We are thrilled and honored to receive this award!  The Massachusetts Cultural Council describes the Commonwealth Awards as this:

Given every two years by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Commonwealth Awards shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions that arts and culture make to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in communities across the state. The Awards ceremony is also a chance for the Massachusetts nonprofit cultural sector to come together, assert its value, and make the case for public investment in its work.

Past Commonwealth Award winners include leading artists, writers, and scholars such as Yo-Yo Ma and David McCullough; world-class institutions like Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and the Peabody Essex Museum; and social innovators like the Boston Cyberarts Festival and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.

For an individual or organization whose creative achievements have uniquely enriched life in Massachusetts.

Williamstown Theatre Festival
Image from Williamstown 
              Theatre Festival performanceFor over half a century, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has been a leading force in the American theatre, providing a catalytic environment in which the nation’s best established and emerging theatre artists develop, practice, and refine their craft in collaboration with a loyal and sophisticated audience.

Williamstown Theatre Festival is widely regarded as the premiere training ground for America's best emerging theatre artists, drawn from the nation's top undergraduate and graduate theatre programs. Students accepted into its highly-selective programs are immersed in a potentially career-launching experience by having the opportunity to work alongside renowned professional artists. Over the years, 57 Emmy Award winners, 23 Academy Award winners, and more than 115 Tony Award winners – many of whom started their careers as Williamstown Theatre Festival apprentices – have graced the Williamstown stages in various capacities.

While Williamstown Theatre Festival is perhaps best known for its bold, innovative productions of the greatest works in the theatrical canon, it is also one of the nation's most dynamic incubators for new plays. With at least three fully produced world premieres each season, works developed in Williamstown frequently have extended lives beyond the Festival. Throughout its history, the Festival has seen nine of its productions move to Broadway, 31 to off-Broadway theaters, one to PBS, one to HBO, and countless others to regional theaters around the nation.

The Festival is deeply committed to playing a lead role in the cultural life of the Berkshires. In addition to the full festival season, Williamstown Theatre Festival offers family-centered programming, including the annual Free Theatre production, to introduce new, and younger, audiences to live theatre. The Festival is also the proud home of the Greylock Theatre Project, a celebrated arts mentoring program for underserved and materially disadvantaged children from North Adams.

Williamstown Theatre Festival respects its position as an important economic engine for Williamstown and the Northern Berkshire region. While Williams College generates significant economic activity during the school year, summer activity created by the Festival is crucial for the financial health of local restaurants, hotels, and retail. They create jobs, both directly at the theater and in the surrounding community. Furthermore, over 60 percent of the earned and contributed revenue generated by Williamstown Theatre Festival comes from sources outside the Commonwealth, much of which is then reinvested in Berkshire County.

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