OLLI at BCC Special Events & Programs

OLLI at BCC offers a wide variety of programs and events that combine fascinating learning opportunities with the opportunity to meet great people.  Some are for members only, others are open to the public, but OLLI members receive special discounts.

All of our events and programs are organized by our members. Interested in helping? Contact the OLLI Office about joining an OLLI committee.

Upcoming events

    • Sunday, September 16, 2018
    • Sunday, April 14, 2019
    • 7 sessions
    • Devonshire Estates. 329 Pittsfield Road, Lenox
    • 19

    Immigration & Terrorism
    in English Novels of the Late 19th Century

    A Monthly OLLI Book Group Led by James Kraft

    September 16, 2018 - April 14, 2019

    Longtime OLLI instructor James Kraft will lead a new monthly group entitled "Immigration & Terrorism in English Novels of the Late 19th Century" in Lenox starting on Sunday, September 16th at 2pm, and continuing on the second Sunday of each month (except for January) through April 2019. 

    Participation is free for all OLLI members. (If you are not yet a member, please join to take part in this program by calling 413.236.2190 or join online here. You must be an OLLI member to attend.)  Please read, or begin to read, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad for the first meeting.

    Near the end of the nineteenth century, various authors addressed unusual aspects of British life at the height of its imperial era. Henry James wrote two novels that remain largely unknown. The Princess Casamassima (1885) concerns radical politics and terrorism in London, and The Tragic Muse (1889) is a portrait of a young Jewish immigrant whose success as an actress forces her to choose between a career and a position in British social life.

    Also at this time, Joseph Conrad wrote The Secret Agent (1907), his vivid account of a spy ring, and George Eliot wrote in Daniel Deronda (1876) of the challenging place of the Jewish immigrant in the new democratic state.

    Finally, we will read the end of the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (1886) illustrating the difference between Robert E. Lee and Grant when they meet for the Civil War surrender in Appomattox.  It is a subtle portrait of the emotional basis of honor, fear and democratic beliefs, beyond the subject matter of most novels of that era, with surprising relevance for today.

    The group will read the following books in this order:

    • Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (Click here for a free ebook, or here to purchase on Amazon: please read, or begin to read before the first meeting. There are also several film adaptations of the book.)
    • Henry James, The Princess Casamassima
    • Henry James, The Tragic Muse
    • George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
    • And for the last class, the final chapter of the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
    All meetings are on Sunday afternoons at 2pm at Devonshire Estates, located at 329 Pittsfield Road in Lenox, Mass.
    The Book Group is led by longtime OLLI literature instructor James Kraft who attended Princeton, King’s College, Cambridge University, and Fordham.  He has a doctorate in literature and has taught at the University of Virginia, Université Laval in Quebec City, and Wesleyan in Connecticut.  He was assistant director of the Whitney Museum for eight years, and now teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College and at the New York Society Library in New York City.

    Book Group Schedule-at-a-Glance

    9/16/18 The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

    10/13/18 Henry James, The Princess Casamassima

    11/11/18 The Princess Casamassima, continued, beginning of The Tragic Muse

    12/9/18 The Tragic Muse, continued

    2/10/19 George Eliot, Daniel Deronda

    3/10/19 Daniel Deronda, continued, and beginning of Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

    4/14/19 Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant & final discussion

    • Monday, March 25, 2019
    • 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
    • K-111 Lecture Hall, Berkshire Community College, 1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201


    Monday, March 25th 2:30pm-4pm

    K-111 Lecture Hall at Berkshire Community College
    1350 West Street, Pittsfield, Mass. 01201

    Free & open to all!

    While national politics may be dominating the headlines these days, state and local politics and policy are vital to our daily lives and our communities. Join us for a very special Town Hall for OLLI at BCC members with State Senator Adam Hinds on Monday, March 25th at Berkshire Community College. Senator Hinds will share his legislative agenda for the coming year and how it will affect our region.

    Senator Hinds (D-Pittsfield) was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2016 and re-elected in 2018.  He represents the largest geographic territory in the Legislature, including all of Berkshire County. He serves as the Senate chair of the Joint Committee of Revenue and the vice chair of the Senate Committee on Redistricting. He is a member of the powerful Senate Committee on Ways & Means as well as several other policy committees with jurisdiction over matters of importance throughout western Mass: Health Care Financing; Education, Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development and Senate Rules.

    Senator Hinds also serves as the Senate co-chair of the Rural Caucus, the Senate vice-chair of the Cultural Caucus and is an active member of the Gateway Cities, Regional Schools, Regional Transit Authority, Criminal Justice Reform, Clean Energy and Food Systems Caucuses.

    Before becoming State Senator, he taught two classes for OLLI at BCC: one on contemporary Middle East history and politics and the other on youth at risk.

    Senator Hinds attended Wesleyan University and then studied international law and negotiation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is a Truman National Security Fellow.

    Senator Hinds is the founding director of the Pittsfield Community Connection, a program designed to proactively engage at-risk youth before exposure to and engagement in violence and crime, and the former Executive Director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, based in North Adams.

    Senator Hinds previously worked for the United Nations and spent nearly ten years focused on the Middle East. He spent three-and-a-half years in Iraq, and was based in Jerusalem for two years as chief regional advisor to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. He worked with Kofi Annan to attempt to broker a ceasefire in Syria and was part of a team that worked to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program. Early in his career Senator Hinds worked for former Congressman John Olver and as a regional director for John Kerry for President, where he served under Susan Rice, the former US National Security Advisor.

    Join us on March 25th to learn more about important policy challenges in our region and state, and share your concerns and ideas with Senator Hinds.  OLLI at BCC President Peter Bluhm will introduce Senator Hinds.

    Space is limited and RSVPs are required. We hope to see you there!

    • Tuesday, March 26, 2019
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Barrington Stage Company Wolfson Center 122 North St., Pittsfield MA 01201

    Tuesday, March 26th, 10am-11:30am
    At Barrington Stage Company's
    122 North Street, Pittsfield, Mass.

    FREE & Open to All

    You are invited to OLLI's free, fun, festive spring open house. Open to both members and non-members of OLLI, you'll enjoy delicious refreshments, meet interesting people, and hear from our spring instructors. Plus we'll get a sneak preview of Barrington Stage Company's 25th anniversary season (and some surprises.)

    Plus, if you are not yet an OLLI member, if you join OLLI at the Open House, your first year's membership will be 50% off!

    The OLLI Spring Open House will be held at Barrington Stage Company's Wolfson Center, located at 122 North Street in downtown Pittsfield. Metered parking is available on both North Street as well as nearby streets. Please click here for the downtown Pittsfield parking map.

    Our spring semester of fascinating classes begins April 16th, and we are offering classes in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Lenox and Williamstown. OLLI classes have no tests, no grades, and no prerequisites - just learning for the love of learning.

    • Tuesday, April 16, 2019
    • Friday, May 24, 2019
    • Various locations in Berkshire County.

    This spring OLLI offers over two dozen courses in Great Barrington, Lenox, Pittsfield and Williamstown.  The courses cover a broad range of topics, including such diverse subjects as Birding in the Berkshires, Uncle Joe Stalin, Berkshire Performing Arts Previews and many more.  Here is a summary of our Spring 2019 course offerings.

    Our spring 2019 semester runs from April 16 to May 24 with weekly classes from 4 to 6 sessions each.

    Flexpasses ($50 each) are also available. These entitle the holder to attend up to 6 individual class sessions within a semester, perfect if you will be out of town for part of the semester, or if you are just omnivorous! (Note that Flexpasses are not valid for limited registration courses, lottery courses or courses that have reached capacity.)

    To register for classes, you must first join OLLI, if you are not already a member. You can then register online, by mail, using the registration form found in the online catalog, or by phone at 413.236.2190. 

    Questions? You can always give the OLLI office a call at 413.236.2190 and we will be happy to help!

    • Friday, May 24, 2019
    • 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
    • The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, Mass. 01230

    The Mona Sherman Memorial Lecture honors the late Mona Sherman, a former OLLI President who had a transformative effect on the OLLI program. Thanks to the generosity of her family and friends, the annual lecture is free to the Berkshire community that Mona loved.

    The OLLI Annual Meeting features a review of the past year, election of new board members, and updates from Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy.

    Both events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required as the event has sold out for the past 3 consecutive years. We are grateful to Berkshire Gas for co-sponsoring the lecture.

    • Wednesday, May 29, 2019
    • 8:00 AM - 5:45 PM
    • Museum of Fine Arts - Boston 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115
    • 48


    presents a bus trip to


    Wednesday, May 29, 2019

    Bus leaves Big Y parking lot in Lee at 8am, returns at approximately 5:45 pm.

    featuring the new exhibit
    Toulouse Lautrec & The Stars of Paris

    Aristide Bruant snarls. Loïe Fuller swirls on stage in the “serpentine dance.” The critic Édouard Dujardin eyes Jane Avril as they listen to the vulgar songs of Yvette Guilbert. These are celebrities of 19th-century Paris made famous by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in a spectacle of evocative posters, prints, and paintings. “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris” See the celebrity culture of Lautrec’s time and the artist’s fascination with the personal lives of les stars as well as the roles that they played. Docent tour & the afternoon for your own discovery! 


    FRIDA KAHLO and Arte Popular
    GENDER BENDING FASHION: 100 years of haute couture
    BAUHAUS PRINTS 1919-33: The groundbreaking school of modernist      abstraction
    BOSTON MADE: Arts & Crafts Jewelry & Metalwork
    ROYAL CELEBRATIONS: Japanese Prints & Postcards

      Lunch on your own. Maps, lunch ideas & other exhibits will be distributed on the bus. Registration includes round trip bus, museum admission, Toulouse Lautrec docent tour, tips, and snacks.  Refunds cannot be made unless space is filled from the wait list.

      Special Events Chair: Arline Breskin 413.243.3640

      Click here for a printable flyer to mail in with payment, register online, or call the OLLI Office at 413.236.2190. Registration is $82 for OLLI members, and $90 for non-members.

      Thank you to OLLI's Special Events Committee for organizing this and so many other great OLLI events!

      • Thursday, June 20, 2019
      • 5:15 PM
      • 358 George Carter Rd, Becket, MA 01223
      • 27

      Join OLLI for its festive annual Evening at Jacob's Pillow on Thursday, June 20th.  Great company, great dancing, and delectable desserts from our OLLI chefs!

      Hailing from Vancouver, Ballet BC pushes the boundaries of classical ballet with a cutting-edge, contemporary sensibility. Praised as “physically rigorous, dramatically solid, and truly contemporary” (Dance Magazine), Ballet BC celebrates ten years under the leadership of Artistic Director and former company member Emily Molnar, whose vision has guided the company into an era of innovation and collaboration.

      The evening begins with an exclusive talk by Norton Owen, Jacob Pillow's Preservation Director, in Blake’s Barn at 5:15 pmAfterwards, bring your own picnic supper - or buy one on site - and our OLLI chefs will provide delectable desserts and iced tea under our OLLI tent.

      The evening ends with an extraordinary performance by Ballet BC at 8pm.  OLLI has reserved excellent seats for the performance, but we must have your order in by June 1st to ensure your seat. 

      Tickets are $80 for OLLI members and $86 for guests and include premium orchestra tickets, a talk by Norton Owen, a private OLLI tent and desserts and iced tea. If you already have tickets, you may purchase a ticket for desserts and iced tea only for $8.

      To order tickets to OLLI's Evening at Jacob's Pillow, register online, call the OLLI office at 413-236-2190, or click here to download a printable Word form to mail in with a check. Seating in the order received. Refunds only if space filled from a waiting list.

      Event Leaders: Lesley Oransky 914.261.6037
      Ellen Tabs 413.274.3434

      Special Events Committee Chair: Arline Breskin 413.243.3640

      Thank you to OLLI's Special Events Committee for organizing this and so many other great OLLI events! 

      • Sunday, July 14, 2019
      • Sunday, July 21, 2019
      • Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, England

      Shakespeare in the Tudor Age
      An OLLI at BCC Trip to England
      July 14th-21st, 2019

      Join OLLI instructor Phillip McKnight to an extraordinary trip to England next summer, featuring visits to Oxford, best seats for three Shakespeare performances, a backstage tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, lectures by Professor McKnight and visiting professors, and much more!

      OLLI’s first trip to England to celebrate William Shakespeare’s life and times will be fascinating. Together we will spend a week in Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon taking a close look at the Bard himself, and the historical context in which he lived and worked.

      Walk the streets that Shakespeare once walked, and explore his life and history. Our guide, Phil McKnight, Esq. (B.A. Williams College, J.D. University of Chicago Law School) is a frequent OLLI lecturer on environmental law, Shakespeare and the law, and the role of law in American democracy.

      Registration for this exclusive trip is limited to a maximum of 30 people. For more information, as well as the registration form, click here.  OLLI at BCC members save $100!

    Past events

    Friday, March 22, 2019 Nonprofit Board Training & 'Speed Dating'
    Thursday, February 28, 2019 The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art Tour & Lunch
    Thursday, January 17, 2019 Free Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop
    Tuesday, January 15, 2019 OLLI Winter 2019 Semester
    Monday, December 17, 2018 Villages in the Berkshires Information Session
    Wednesday, December 12, 2018 OLLI Winter Open House
    Wednesday, November 07, 2018 OLLI University Day: 1968 Around the World
    Saturday, October 20, 2018 Alan Chartock on the 2018 Midterm Elections
    Sunday, October 14, 2018 OLLI's Annual Theatre Brunch
    Friday, October 12, 2018 "We Are Staying" Book Talk & Signing
    Sunday, September 30, 2018 Celebrating Arline Breskin
    Thursday, September 20, 2018 OLLI Fall 2018 Semester
    Monday, September 17, 2018 OLLI England Trip Open House
    Thursday, September 06, 2018 Daytrip to Albany Institute of Art & History
    Wednesday, August 29, 2018 Shakespeare's Relevance in these Troubled Times
    Tuesday, August 28, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Shakespeare & Company, Mothers & Sons
    Thursday, August 23, 2018 Daytrip to the Storm King Art Center
    Tuesday, August 21, 2018 OLLI Fall Open House
    Wednesday, August 15, 2018 Russian Culture & Cuisine: From Peter the Great to the Present
    Tuesday, August 14, 2018 1968: Fifty Years Later UNIVERSITY DAY
    Thursday, August 09, 2018 Lapsed OLLI Member Focus Group
    Tuesday, August 07, 2018 High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour August 7th
    Monday, August 06, 2018 Tiny House Factory+Giant Mill in North Adams
    Thursday, August 02, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Chester Theatre Company, Mary's Wedding Matinee
    Friday, July 27, 2018 Not-Yet-An-OLLI Member Focus Group
    Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Edith Wharton's Lenox: Six Local Places Where Edith Wharton's Presence Still Radiates
    Wednesday, July 25, 2018 North County OLLI Member Focus Group
    Tuesday, July 24, 2018 An Afternoon with the Berkshire Opera Festival
    Thursday, July 19, 2018 Central County OLLI Member Focus Group
    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Barrington Stage, Dolls House 2
    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Update on Recent Supreme Court Rulings on Gerrymandering & the Right to Vote
    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 CANCELLED: High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour July 17th
    Monday, July 16, 2018 South County OLLI Member Focus Group
    Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Mystic Seaport Tour Bus Trip
    Saturday, June 30, 2018 Leonard Bernstein at 100: A Talk with Professor Jeremy Yudkin
    Wednesday, June 27, 2018 OLLI Faculty Appreciation Party
    Tuesday, June 26, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Berkshire Theatre Group, Church and State
    Tuesday, June 26, 2018 SOLD OUT:High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour #2
    Thursday, June 21, 2018 An Evening at Jacob's Pillow with the Royal Danish Ballet
    Tuesday, June 19, 2018 Free! Behind-the-Scenes Tanglewood Preview
    Tuesday, June 12, 2018 SOLD OUT: High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour
    Monday, June 11, 2018 OLLI Volunteer Leadership Academy
    Saturday, June 09, 2018 Music Changes the Brain: A Neuroscientist's View
    Monday, June 04, 2018 Teaching for OLLI: A Free Course
    Monday, June 04, 2018 OLLI Summer 2018 Semester
    Friday, June 01, 2018 Play Ball! Picnic Dinner & Baseball
    Thursday, May 31, 2018 Art in Bennington Daytrip
    Friday, May 25, 2018 SOLD OUT: OLLI Annual Meeting & Katy Tur Talk
    Thursday, May 17, 2018 OLLI at 3rd.Thursdays!
    Thursday, May 10, 2018 FREE Williamstown Theatre Festival Community Workshop
    Saturday, May 05, 2018 Navigating Climate Change in Uncertain Times
    Saturday, April 21, 2018 Cellblock Art: Set Free in the Penitentiary
    Thursday, April 12, 2018 OLLI Spring 2018 Semester
    Thursday, March 22, 2018 OLLI Spring Open House
    Tuesday, March 20, 2018 The Elling Eide Center Private Tour and Lunch - March 20th, 2018
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 The Elling Eide Center Private Tour and Lunch - March 13th, 2018
    Friday, January 12, 2018 OLLI Winter 2018 Semester
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017 OLLI Downhill Skiing Group
    Wednesday, December 06, 2017 OLLI Winter Open House
    Wednesday, November 08, 2017 OLLI University Day: Criminal Justice Reform
    Sunday, November 05, 2017 Reading Willa Cather with James Kraft
    Saturday, October 21, 2017 How Digital and Social Media Have Disrupted Journalism
    Sunday, October 15, 2017 OLLI's Annual Theatre Brunch
    Sunday, October 08, 2017 Celebrating Arthur Sherman Luncheon
    Saturday, September 16, 2017 The Honesty of Hoax: Stories Behind the Consumption of Counterfeits
    Thursday, September 14, 2017 OLLI Fall 2017 Semester
    Thursday, September 07, 2017 OLLI Mentoring for Success Meeting
    Wednesday, September 06, 2017 Meet Memoir Writing Instructor Vivian Dorsel
    Wednesday, August 30, 2017 Sex, Science, Society and Reproduction
    Tuesday, August 29, 2017 Historic Wahconah Park Guided Tour & Lunch
    Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Seven: A Staged Reading
    Tuesday, August 22, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Berkshire Theatre Group, Zoo Story
    Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Economic Myths, Realities, and Opportunities
    Wednesday, August 09, 2017 OLLI University Day
    Monday, August 07, 2017 Writing with Pictures Class
    Thursday, August 03, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Shakespeare & Company, Intimate Apparel
    Friday, July 21, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Chester Theatre Company, Skeleton Crew
    Tuesday, July 18, 2017 OLLI Bus Trip to JFK Library & Edward Kennedy Center for the Senate
    Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Drones: The Sky Isn't the Limit!
    Tuesday, July 11, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Barrington Stage, Ragtime
    Tuesday, July 11, 2017 An Afternoon with the Berkshire Opera Festival
    Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Faculty Appreciation Cocktail Party
    Thursday, June 22, 2017 An Evening at Jacob's Pillow with the Miami City Ballet
    Saturday, June 17, 2017 The Beatles & Classical Music: A Talk with Professor Jeremy Yudkin
    Saturday, June 03, 2017 Patient Safety: How to Avoid Being Harmed by Healthcare
    Friday, June 02, 2017 OLLI Summer 2017 Classes
    Thursday, June 01, 2017 Free Behind-the-Scenes Tanglewood Tour
    Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Berkshire Carousel Guided Tour & Lunch
    Wednesday, May 24, 2017 OLLI Annual Meeting & Cokie Roberts Talk
    Saturday, April 29, 2017 New Directions for Jacob's Pillow with Director Pamela Tatge
    Saturday, April 22, 2017 Up From Stardom Staged Reading & Reception
    Saturday, April 15, 2017 Landscapes of the Clark with Director Olivier Meslay
    Wednesday, April 12, 2017 OLLI Spring 2017 Semester
    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 OLLI Spring Open House
    Wednesday, March 08, 2017 Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Tour & Lunch
    Friday, February 24, 2017 Smartphone Photography Workshop/Great Barrington
    Thursday, February 23, 2017 Williamstown Theatre Festival Community Workshop
    Monday, February 06, 2017 Smartphone Photography Workshop/Pittsfield
    Saturday, January 28, 2017 Winter Bookbinding Workshop
    Wednesday, December 14, 2016 OLLI Winter Open House
    Friday, December 09, 2016 One Month Later: Making Sense of the 2016 Election
    Thursday, November 03, 2016 Free Workshop with Williamstown Theatre Festival
    Sunday, October 16, 2016 OLLI's Annual Theatre Brunch
    Saturday, October 01, 2016 Trends in Philanthropy: Here, Nationally, Worldwide
    Tuesday, September 27, 2016 Introduction to Western Square Dancing
    Monday, September 12, 2016 OLLI 2016 Fall Course Registration
    Tuesday, September 06, 2016 OLLI Bus Trip to the New Britain Museum of American Art and the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT
    Sunday, September 04, 2016 Seventh Annual OLLI Art Show
    Saturday, September 03, 2016 OLLI Art Show Reception & Silent Auction
    Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Confronting Climate Change: A Talk by Williams College Professor Ralph Bradburd
    Wednesday, August 24, 2016 OLLI Fall Open House
    Saturday, August 20, 2016 A Taste of Korea
    Wednesday, August 17, 2016 OLLI University Day
    Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Play Ball! - Pittsfield Suns Baseball Game.
    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 The 2008 Financial Crisis: The Federal Reserve's Resolve
    Wednesday, July 13, 2016 Some Fascinating Stories Behind Windsor Mountain School
    Saturday, July 02, 2016 Haydn Behind Beethoven
    Saturday, June 25, 2016 Situating Stigma: Mental Health in News and Social Media
    Thursday, June 23, 2016 Jacob's Pillow featuring ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET
    Wednesday, June 01, 2016 From Hard Rock to Hospitality
    Tuesday, May 31, 2016 A Day at the Pittsfield Airport
    Saturday, May 07, 2016 Mum Bett and her Quest
    Sunday, February 21, 2016 OLLI 2016 Spring Course Registration

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    OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
    Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

    1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | olli@berkshirecc.edu

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