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Shakespeare And Co Actor In Light

Shakespeare & Company Presents Philip Heller Distinguished Service Award

LENOX, Mass. – Mary Ann Turney of Otis, Mass. and Mesa, Ariz., has been presented the Philip Heller Distinguished Service Award by Shakespeare & Company, for exemplary volunteer service for more than a decade.

Established in 2019, the Philip Heller Distinguished Service Award and Fund was created by Anita Heller of Lenox in memory of her husband Philip Heller, who served as pro bono legal counsel to Shakespeare & Company from its inception in 1978 until his death in 2018. The fund makes annual recognition of a member of the community for extraordinary service to the Company possible, with surplus funds used to make improvements to Shakespeare & Company’s campus.

“Phil loved Shakespeare & Company, and he loved both the community and the arts of the Berkshires,” said Heller. “He volunteered a lot of his time, so it seemed logical to do something in his honor that also honors our very special volunteers.”

Stephen Ball, Shakespeare & Company’s general manager, said Turney’s management of the theater’s ushers is just one of her many notable contributions to the Volunteer Leadership Team.

“Coordinating the schedules of so many volunteers, as well as training them, is arguably one of the largest functions in the Volunteer Company – helping to staff upwards of 200 performances per season,” he said, adding that Turney also incorporated the use of both ticket-scanning and online-scheduling software, helped create outdoor-ushering policies for two new outdoor theaters, and worked to staff on-site, drive-in movies during the COVID-19 shut-down.

“She always works to provide as many ushers as we request each year, and has also stepped in to replace ushers on many occasions,” added Ball.

Similarly, Shakespeare & Company’s Artistic Director Allyn Burrows, who presented Turney’s award at a curtain ceremony last month, called the volunteers “the lifeblood of the Company.”

“There’s a reason the gardens look the way they do,” he said. “There’s a reason we hear from our patrons how wonderful the ushers are, and there’s a reason our actors feel so welcome here.”

This is the third year the Philip Heller Distinguished Service Award has been presented; the first recipient was Sarah Lytle of Richmond, Mass., and the second Bob Lohbauer of Lee, Mass.

For more information, call (413) 637-1199.

About Shakespeare & Company

Founded in 1978, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals in the world, located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. The organization welcomes more than 40,000 patrons annually, and is home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program.


Photo Caption: Anita Heller, left, presents the Philip Heller Distinguished Service Award to Mary Ann Turney of Otis, Mass., for providing exemplary volunteer service to the Company for more than a decade.


Shakespeare & Company is a professional live theatre company in the heart of the Berkshires, presenting a vibrant summer performance season featuring the works of Shakespeare in repertory with classic and contemporary plays. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, and is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program.