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The First Equity-Authorized Indoor Theater Is Moving Outdoors

Barrington Stage Company was all set to become a pandemic pioneer: the first theater in the United States to put on an indoor show featuring an Actors’ Equity performer since the coronavirus outbreak shuttered stages nationwide.

But the organization, located in Pittsfield, Mass., has run into an unexpected roadblock: the state of Massachusetts, which has allowed museums to reopen and indoor dining to resume, is not permitting indoor theater.

So Barrington’s artistic director, Julianne Boyd, has made the difficult decision to move her production of “Harry Clarke,” a one-man show about an ingratiating con man, outdoors.

Boyd had already removed many of the seats in her main theater, reconfigured the air conditioning system, redesigned the bathrooms, and reconceived the way patrons enter and exit the building. But now she’s shifting gears and, with Equity’s permission, planning to stage the play in a tent outdoors.

“The show must go on,” she said. “This isn’t the end of the world. We’re disappointed, but we’re happy we took the in-depth measures we did, and as soon as the governor takes the next step, we’re ready to go back.”

“Harry Clarke,” by David Cale, was staged in New York in 2017 and 2018, starring Billy Crudup. The Barrington Stage production, which is scheduled to run from Aug. 5 to Aug. 16, is to star Mark H. Dold.

The decision does not affect a production of “Godspell,” put on by the neighboring Berkshire Theater Company, which was also approved by Equity. That production, which is to run from Aug. 6 to Sept. 4, was always planned to be staged outdoors.

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