Planning your visit:
We look forward to welcoming you to Jacob’s Pillow. Please use this FAQ as a guide for planning your upcoming visit.
How do I get to the Pillow?
Jacob’s Pillow is located in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts in the town of Becket and is within easy driving distance of Boston, New York, Albany, Burlington, and Hartford. To get directions to the Pillow and view local transportation services, visit our Directions and Travel page.
What are your COVID guidelines?
Before you arrive, please review our Health and Safety Protocols at jacobspillow.org/health. Before you visit Jacob’s Pillow, please refer back to this page and to Jacob’s Pillow email communications for the most up-to-date guidance and policies. If you have purchased tickets for someone else, we ask that you refer them to this Health & Safety page in advance of their visit.
We recognize that safety guidelines and protocols may change on the local, state, and federal levels. We ask for your patience as we adapt our policies in response. Some of our safety guidelines and protocols will not change immediately, and some may not change.
Where can I find a complete list of events?
Events can be found on our website.
How are tickets different this year compared to previous years?
Indoor seating: We are thrilled to reopen the Ted Shawn Theatre after several years of renovation. Please note seat numbers and locations may have changed from previous years. Click here to learn more about the Ted Shawn Theatre.
Outdoor seating: Tickets for the outdoor Henry J. Leir performances are sold as general admission tickets on wooden benches with seatbacks and optional cushions. Please note that one-night-only performances on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage are “Choose What You Pay” with a recommended ticket price of $35 and a minimum ticket price of $5. Click here to learn more about the Henry J. Leir Outdoor stage.
Pre-show talks: All pre-show talks are approximately 15 minutes long and are held in Sommerspace, located at Blake’s Barn. Pre-show talks for Henry J. Leir performances are only available for week-long presentations and will occur 30 minutes before the scheduled performance. Pre-show talks for Ted Shawn Theatre performances will occur 45 minutes before showtime. More information will be available in your pre-visit email.
How will I receive my tickets?
If you selected ‘Hold at Will Call’ during your purchase, you can pick up your tickets at the Box Office an hour prior to the show’s start time. Jacob’s Pillow does not send physical tickets through the mail.
All mobile tickets will be emailed to the account belonging to the ticket buyer who made the reservation. Please note that mobile tickets are not print-at-home tickets, but rather a means of environmentally supporting our theatres by functioning only on a digital device.
I’m attending a performance at the Henry J. Leir Stage. What happens in inclement weather?
The Pillow is consulting with an experienced meteorologist to make a daily rain call in advance of each performance. In the event of inclement weather, outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage performances will be canceled and all ticket buyers will be contacted and eligible to receive a refund, exchange, or the option to donate the cost of their tickets.
In the event of a cancellation, we will have an internal showing of the work inside the Perles Family Studio for archival purposes where there is a greatly reduced capacity and which cannot accommodate the whole of the Henry J. Leir Stage audience.
A limited number of tickets for the internal showing may become available to those on campus. Details on those access to those seats in the Perles Family Studio will be given in advance.
Tickets to this showing are not guaranteed.
What is the Welcome Center?
The Warren Davis Welcome Center stands next to the Ted Shawn Theatre at the center of the Jacob’s Pillow campus, and is open daily throughout the summer as a meeting point and community resource for individuals and groups visiting Jacob’s Pillow’s historic site. The welcome center was renamed in 2021 in honor of Warren Davis, the African-American craftsman and businessman born in 1884 who selected and hand-hewed the five spruce and pine timber trusses spanning the length of the Ted Shawn Theatre.
What is the Henry J. Leir Stage?
The Henry J. Leir stage is the official name of the Pillow’s beloved outdoor stage, where the Inside/Out Performance Series has traditionally been held. For more information on our stages, visit here.
Are photo and video allowed at performances?
Jacob’s Pillow enforces a strict policy of no audience photography or videography in the performance venues or during performances. This policy applies to the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage and to all outdoor performances, in addition to indoor performances.
Can visitors bring dogs to Jacob’s Pillow?
Jacob’s Pillow allows leashed dogs and pets in outdoor spaces on our campus. Only service animals are permitted inside buildings at Jacob’s Pillow—including the Ted Shawn Theatre and the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage—and in our restaurant and dining areas. Under titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
About the Ted Shawn Theatre Renovation:
What parts of the Ted Shawn Theatre did you renovate?
The renovation was focused on the stage house (where the dancers perform) and the infrastructure for the stage and backstage, including new support beams for the theater. Additional ADA locations and access spots were created for the seating area. An air cooling system was integrated and the height of the stage was adjusted to improve sightlines for the audience. The actual seating in the orchestra and the mezzanine were not changed in this renovation.
Does the Ted Shawn Theatre have an air filtering system?
Yes, we do, we have a ventilation system. The system turns air 12-13 times per hour and uses Merv13 filters.
What is an air cooling system? Is it the same as Air Conditioning?
The Ted Shawn Theatre is a historic building that is now equipped with a new air cooling system that uses ice and ventilation to circulate cool air through the building and is the green standard in eco-friendly technology. It’s different from air conditioning which is not so eco-friendly, and cannot be implemented in the building because it is not sealed to the outside elements.
Where are the paintings that used to hang in the Shawn?
Those portraits are now located in Blake’s Barn. We have come to see these portraits as artifacts of the history of Jacob’s Pillow; which flanked the Ted Shawn Theatre stage for many years. As an institution that is committed to preservation and education, we have made the decision to present them in a dedicated space where our history is contextualized. Above all, we seek to create inclusive environments at The Pillow, where staff, members of our audience attending performances, or any artist whom we hope to have perform in the Ted Shawn Theatre will not feel excluded or alienated by the presence of the portraits on either side of the proscenium.
Our hope moving forward is that we have found a place for them to be displayed where our community can engage with the paintings up close and are invited to have honest and challenging discussions around where we have been and where we are going as a legacy institution supported by the Archives staff. As we continue to learn on this journey of understanding our past to make a better future, we welcome a continued open dialogue around our choices and responsibilities.
What is the meaning behind the painting of Ted Shawn dressed as a Native American hanging in Blake’s Barn?
The portrait of Ted Shawn depicts him in a pose from the “Hopi Indian Eagle Dance” section of his 1923 work Feather of the Dawn and was painted by Albert Herter in 1925. It was first displayed in the Pillow’s Ted Shawn Theatre in the late 1940s. Shawn’s dance was informed by first-person research, though we have no information about whether or not the Hopi people Shawn researched gave consent for him to incorporate their dance into his performance.
Although Ted Shawn was an opponent of the criminalization, suppression, and erasure of Native ritual practice, which was being actively pursued by the US government at the time, this in itself does not remove the harm that may be felt by those receiving this image in the present and the truth of those uncomfortable or offended by seeing images of white privileged artists appropriating the dress and dances of cultures not their own.
Following the presentation and display of this portrait, as well as the one of Ruth St. Denis in the exhibition “Dance We Must” at the Williams College Museum of Art in 2018 and in Blake’s Barn in 2019, a decision was made after many documented listening sessions with members of our Pillow community including artists, alumni, patrons, and staff to relocate them into the new Special Collections Room in 2021 where they could be presented alongside those perspectives in a place designed for cultural engagement and dialogue about who we are and where we are going.
What is happening in the painting of Ruth St. Denis?
The portrait of Ruth St. Denis shows her in her popular solo Kuan Yin, which was first performed in 1919. Ruth St. Denis claimed that she had one central message: the expression of God through the dance.
In Kuan Yin, St. Denis is embodying Guanyin (also written as Guan Yin or Kuan Yin), the Buddhist Bodhisattva of compassion, mercy, and kindness. Kuan Yin was one of the first Denishawn dances to be inspired by sculpture, and there was very little movement—largely concentrating on subtle repositioning of her hands, while it both began and ended in complete stillness.
Although St. Denis and Shawn both use visual art and dances of other cultures as inspiration for their own, we acknowledge that there is a deep and painful history of cultural appropriation that can affect many when they take in these paintings.
Have a question we haven’t answered yet?
We’re here to help. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before visiting Jacob’s Pillow, please review our COVID guidelines on our Health and Safety page.
We hope you will consider making a donation. Your contribution supports Jacob’s Pillow’s mission in dance creation, presentation, education, and preservation, and in harnessing the community-building power of dance. Just click the button below, or text PILLOW to 51555.