Will Call #52: Hot lights on chilly nights at the Mahaiwe

November 18, 2016

A Talk with Beryl Jolly

You’re listening to 52 of Will Call, released on a brilliant and beautiful Saturday, November 19, 2016. I’m your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you so much for joining us. We just heard a snippet of Ghost Town Girl from the eponymous new release from California-based Roots band, Echo Sparks. Not because we’re featuring them on this show, but because I recently recorded a video interview with them and I’ve got that tune stuck in my head. Go to greylockglass.com and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when that episode of INDIEcent Exposure goes live. In the meantime, go to their website to find out more and to listen more songs from Ghost Town Girl.

Beryl Jolly, executive director or the Maihawe Center for the Performing Arts (photo by Paul Shoul).
Beryl Jolly, executive director or the Maihawe Center for the Performing Arts (photo by Paul Shoul).

My guest on the show this week is certainly no Ghost Town Girl—she’s Beryl Jolly, executive director of the Mahaiwe Center for the Performing Arts in Great Barrington, Mass., and she’s going to tell us not only about some of the great events coming up at the Mahaiwe, but also about some of the community programs that make the Center such a cornerstone of Great Barrington and, really, the entire region.

But before we get to my conversation with Beryl, I’ve got to tell you that when I was checking out the Mahaiwe schedule for the weekend on their website, I saw that Hamlet, starring Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, is being broadcast live in HD from London’s National Theatre on Sunday afternoon. You can grab tickets while you’re listening to this show, now that I think about it.

And while I was reading about Hamlet, it occurred to me that this weekend marks the 28th run of the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, from Shakespeare & Company. I can’t think of any Shakespeare staged with more energy and enthusiasm than the Fall Festival. If you haven’t been, the short description, from Shake & Co.’S website is:

The Fall Festival deeply engages over 500 students every year through personally meaningful, educationally rigorous and dramatically compelling experiences of Shakespeare’s classical dramas. The Festival is truly a celebration, never a competition. Students from multiple schools work collaboratively, exploring Shakespeare’s words, unpacking the humor and the heartbreak, the intensity and humanity of these unparalleled plays.

The even shorter description is that it’s just powerful stage magic that you shouldn’t miss.

High School’s yet to perform this weekend are:

Saturday, November 19
1:30pm – Springfield Central High School | The Comedy of Errors
3:30pm – Berkshire Waldorf High School | Henry IV, pt.1
6:15pm – Monument Mountain Regional High School | As You Like It
8:30pm – Lenox Memorial High School | Much Ado About Nothing

Sunday, November 20
1:30pm – Chatham High School | Julius Caesar
3:30pm – Taconic Hills High School | Romeo and Juliet

And tickets are still available, at least at the time of this recording, so, why not make it a Shakespeare weekend, both at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox and the Mahaiwe just down the road in Great Barrington.

And with that, let’s get on with the show and our interview with Beryl Jolly, Executive Director of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.

About Beryl Jolly

Beryl Jolly has been the director of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center since the rebirth of the century-old theater as a dynamic Great Barrington cultural destination in the spring of 2005.

The Mahaiwe’s extensive historical restoration was completed in 2006 and the theater is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mahaiwe has become a flagship venue in Berkshire County, presenting world-class music, dance, theater and family events, as well as “Live in HD” broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and London’s National Theatre and classic movies on a year-round basis.

In 2012, Great Barrington was named the #1 Small Town in America by Smithsonian Magazine, and the quality of arts programming at the Mahaiwe was referenced as a point of distinction in the town’s selection.

Ms. Jolly leads a small, stellar team to create the presentation schedule of over 150 events per year. The theater operates on an annual budget of $1.7 million and the organization successfully completed a $2.2 million restricted campaign goal to eliminate the theater’s debt and establish a cash reserve in 2015.

Prior to joining the Mahaiwe, Ms. Jolly served as the Director of Individual Giving and Development at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), as a General Management Associate at the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival and worked in several Broadway offices including the League of American Theaters and Producers.

About the Mahaiwe

Located in downtown Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is the year-round presenter of world-class music, dance, theater, classic films, Live in HD broadcasts, and arts education programs for the southern Berkshires and neighboring regions. The intimate jewel box of a theater opened in 1905. Since 2005, the performing arts center has hosted over 1,000 events and welcomed almost half a million people through its doors. The Mahaiwe has now welcomed over 15,000 students from 55 different schools for its school-time performances and residencies.


A limited number of $15 tickets are available for audience members ages 30 and younger to the Mahaiwe’s live performances through the Mahaiwe ArtSmart Tix program. The Mahaiwe is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6:00pm and three hours before show times. For tickets and information, see www.mahaiwe.org or call 413.528.0100.


14 Castle Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230

Mahaiwe Box Office Hours:

Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6:00pm (and three hours before showtimes)

Box Office: 413.528.0100







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