The Return of the Drive-in
By Jacob Hane, 1Berkshire Intern
A silver lining in this pandemic is that drive-in movies are making a comeback. As the cultural organizations in the Berkshires grappled with amended seasons due to the Coronavirus, many performing arts venues made a pivot and have begun showing drive-in movies. These drive-ins are offering everything from cult classics to recent Oscar-winning films; they are also encouraging families to bring snacks and picnic-foods to enjoy throughout the flick.
Pictured: Drive-in movie at Shakespeare & Company
But these drive-ins do more than just provide entertainment for family and friends. Drive-ins are actually reshaping the summer economy in the Berkshires, allowing performing arts organizations to regain income lost to seasonal cancellations. Many of them have partnered with other local organizations and restaurants, and they are not only supporting their communities, but bringing them together.
As a kid, I used to go to drive-ins all the time. I remember seeing the first Shrek film in our old minivan. Parked in the back of the lot, my siblings and I feasted on our trove of snacks while listening to the fuzzy audio through the radio. Being able to relive that same experience as an adult was quite the ride. While we weren’t crammed together in our long-gone minivan, we nonetheless enjoyed watching Richard III. In fact, because we were all so tightly packed in our quarantine-car, the energy throughout the film was ecstatic; we commemorated the successful movie night with a few scoops of Lickety Split Ice Cream!
Here are some of the many organizations offering great experiences such as mine:
Renowned for its vibrant world-class Shakespeare performances, Shakespeare & Company was one of the first cultural organizations in the Berkshires to pivot their season to include drive-in movies. With the help of Berkshire International Film Festival, the two have been showing great films such as Crescendo and Alice. So head over to downtown Lenox, grab a bite to eat at Alta, Brava, or your other Lenox favorite, and enjoy one of many great films. Movies run during the evenings, Thursdays through Sundays this summer.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in collaboration with Simon’s Rock
Another great organization hosting weekly drive-in movies is the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center! From The Goonies to Men in Black, they are showing all of your favorite classics from the last four decades. With restrooms on site and local concessions provided by SoCo Creamery and the Berkshire Food Co-op, the Mahaiwe is revitalizing the drive-in movie scene with authentic care and passion. Make sure to check out the schedule to see the next movie offering at their current operating location, the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock.
Pictured: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center showing a drive-in film at Simon’s Rock
Berkshire Theatre Group in collaboration with Taconic High School
Capitalizing on this new, creative summer alternative, Berkshire Theatre Group has also joined the mix! Airing shows outside of Taconic High School, BTG has run their own series of musicals and performances, such as She Loves Me. With a food truck parked nearby, BTG restores the soul of the drive-in experience, offering a return to the classic American pastime. After you laugh, cry, and sing your way through any of your favorite shows, head down to downtown Pittsfield and grab some Crescent Creamery ice cream or stop in for a drink at Methuselah Bar and Lounge. Check out their offerings here, and learn more about their other performances and shows coming this Fall!
Get your snacks and beverages ready, because Berkshire Money Management is still going strong with their free Friday night movie series, Wild Air Movies! While not technically a drive-in, your group of five folks can sit out on their lawn and enjoy family-friendly movies like Lion King and Harry Potter. Shows begin at 9 PM, but doors open at 8 PM!
So even though this summer #intheBerkshires is a bit different from our norm, there are still plenty of ways all of us can support our performing arts organizations and take advantage of the outdoors. Don’t miss these fantastic, throwback opportunities — and make this summer count!