The world-renowned dance and cultural hub Jacob's Pillow, which calls The Berkshires its home, has sadly announced the cancellation of its 2020 Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. In a press release, the board of trustees and executive leaders announced this will be the first time in the organization's 88 year history that the 10-week summer celebration, scheduled for June 24 - August 30, will not be held.

In recent decades, the festival, which continues to grow yearly, has featured more than 50 national and international dance companies with over 500 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. In addition to the cancellation of the summer program, the annual gala (June 20) will not be held as well. 

Previously, the Pillow, which has expanded to a year-round center over the past four years, canceled all public events, artist residencies, and rentals from March 13-April 25 earlier this month in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and in accordance with state and federal mandates.

For the safety of our staff, artists, audiences, and the larger Berkshire community, this is our only responsible action. If our collective efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are effective, and people are able to congregate again in August, we will make every effort to try to bring audiences together in keeping with the public safety guidelines in effect at that time. This is extremely difficult news to deliver; in the coming months, we will do all we can to take care of our staff, artists, community, and audiences. 

 Executive & Artistic Director, Pamela Tatge.

As the Board of Trustees, it is our first responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our staff, artists and audiences. The global pandemic has put our beloved Festival and all who animate it at risk. We also are charged with serving as stewards of the Pillow’s fiscal health, and have been forced to make difficult choices as a result of the cancellation. I have tremendous faith in the Pillow’s leadership and staff to shepherd the organization through these trying times

Christopher Jones,

Chair of Jacob’s Pillow Board of Trustees

Nearly 50% of its annual revenue comes from Festival ticket sales and ancillary activities. As a result of the cancellation, and to protect the fiscal health of the organization, the Pillow will reduce its year-round workforce of 45 full-time employees by 40%; laying off ten people and leaving eight open positions unfilled. Additionally, ten full-time employees will be moved to a part-time schedule, effective April 6. The remaining 17 full-time employees will receive pay cuts ranging from 20-30%. Contracts for more than 40 seasonal staff have been canceled and the organization’s Intern Program for 33 young people from around the world has been eliminated for 2020. Those laid off will be eligible for coverage under the organization's healthcare, through July 31 of this year.

In the coming months, Jacob’s Pillow will deliver digital content drawn from the Pillow’s extensive Archives, create new programs featuring artists that were scheduled this summer, and produce a new series of online PillowTalks. The Pillow is also exploring moving its professional training intensives offered at The School at Jacob’s Pillow online and plans to resume its community engagement programs across Berkshire County as soon as it is safe to bring people together. 


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