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Reviving Cinema: Meet Great Barrington’s Innovator, Richard Stanley

Zarina Levitsky

Sitting down in anticipation in a dimly lit room, butterflies will flutter in your stomach as you wipe your palms on the nicest pair of jeans you own. The buttery smell of popcorn wafts through the air as you awkwardly giggle with your crush.

Our favorite first date spot: The cinema. Specifically, Triplex Cinema.

A haven for Hollywood hits, independent films, and all-time family favorites, the theater acts as a welcoming area for the locals to gather together and participate in public events. Richard Stanley, the owner of Triplex Cinema, shared a heartwarming story with me highlighting the tight-knit community of Great Barrington, MA.

In the late Spring of 2020, Stanley and some of his friends took the parking lot of one of his buildings and transformed it into an outdoor dining area. This shift economically benefited restaurants, which could now operate within the social distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Another amazing initiative came from a fellow retail owner who had the idea to start hosting live music on the terrace of the movie theater, which created a getaway from the collective stress and uncertainty that the community felt during the pandemic. This was the initial spark that lit the flame which has today grown into the Berkshire Busk Festival.

Aside from Stanely’s involvement in Berkshire Busk!, he has made valuable contributions to the town of Great Barrington. In the eighties, he purchased a run-down building in the town and began to revitalize it. Then, he turned the area of a neglected building into a parking lot right in the heart of Great Barrington. Finally, he turned an old skating rink into a modern movie theater, the Triplex Cinema. A rebirth of the town followed this change: Since 2014, Stanley has demonstrated his support for young artists by participating as a board member on the Berkshire International Film Festival. His future hope for Great Barrington is for the area to be considered a must-visit small town in the annual New York Times summer travel guide.

After hearing about Stanley’s investments and subsequent expert knowledge of Great Barrington, I could not resist asking for his personal recommendations for spots around town:

“Depending on your palette, there is a wide number of diverse restaurant choices. Some of my favorites are Siam Square, a wonderful Thai restaurant, Tangier Cafe, that has Middle Eastern food, and there's a place just south of town called the Bistro Box which is a delicious comfort food roadside stand. I could just go on and on.”

Don’t be surprised if you find me at Tangier Cafe enjoying some Moroccan mint tea and baklava!


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