PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Barrington Stage Company is hosting its first ‘Celebration of Black Voices' festival, featuring a week of performances by members of the local Black community.
“One thing that we’ve been lacking here is that sense of community when it comes to the West Side neighborhood, the Morningside neighborhood,” said community engagement coordinator Sharron Frazier-McClain. “So we’re really using art as a vehicle to help the community re-write their story.”
All the events are outside the old Pittsfield Polish Community Club, and are free to attend. The goal is to bring in a new audience to engage and participate in the arts.
“Just come and see,” said McClain. “Really come and just hang out with us and start building relationships. And it doesn’t cost anything for that. It’s like no risk, no risk factor involved. And then the hope is to build on this yearly and make this an annual event.”
Children’s author Ty Allen Jackson joined the celebration Thursday, to lead a story hour on his book, "The Supadupa Kid," and ask kids in attendance what kind of superhero they want to be.
“They are our superheroes of today and tomorrow,” said Jackson. “I think it’s a powerful narrative to help them realize that they’re part of this world, and the attributes they have inside of them can help make the world a better place.”
For Jackson, being a part of the celebration is an honor, and he hopes, by sharing his stories and characters, to have a positive impact on everyone.
“It’s really essential, especially with the climate and culture that we have today, for people to see positive voices of color,” said Jackson. “And to have a young superhero to inspire our young superhero children to make the world a better place, I think, is very important.”
A full list of this week’s events can be found at the Barrington Stage Company website.