2015 Berkshire Season
By: WAM - Mar 04, 2015
WAM Theatre’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven announces highlights of the 2015 season. The Berkshire-based professional theatre company will celebrate its sixth year with an inspiring and thought-provoking series of play readings, special events, productions and educational programs that continue its mission to use theatre to benefit women and girls.
“I’m delighted to announce the dynamic programming we’ve planned for WAM Theatre’s sixth season,” said van Ginhoven. “While our main production occurs in the fall and will again be unveiled at our summer benefit event, we are thrilled to be offering an exciting line-up of events from February through September that fulfills our mission to share the stories of women and girls. This includes the second season of Fresh Takes, our series of play readings that features local theatre professionals, and the launch of our comprehensive three-stranded Education Program.”
2015 started off with a successful “mini-tour” of an enhanced staged reading version of our critically acclaimed 2013 production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson from February 10-13. Almost the entire original cast returned for well attended performances at Williams College (as part of the Off-Center Series), the University at Albany (as part of the Prime Performance Series), and the Berkshire Museum (as part of Pittsfield’s 10X10 Upstreet Arts festival).
In March, WAM Theatre will be a beneficiary of Jayne Atkinson’s special event, Can You Hear Me Baby? Stories of Sex, Love and OMG Birth!, which is concluding this year’s Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Adapted from true stories that come from the hearts of mothers and fathers, this event brings together birth stories and original music to dramatize the joy, challenges, personal courage, and profundity of birth. Can You Hear Me Baby? takes the stage at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, MA on March 27 at 7pm and March 28 at 2 and 7 pm. Proceeds will benefit the National Perinatal Association, Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, and WAM Theatre.
From April through September, WAM Theatre will present their second Fresh Takes series of play readings held in the gallery at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café in West Stockbridge on selected Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. Fresh Takes, curated by WAM Theatre’s Artistic Associate Molly Clancy, will give a stage to ground-breaking works – which have been successfully presented elsewhere but are new to our Berkshire audiences - that tell women's stories. Featuring local established and emerging actors and directors, the series will explore the work of provocative contemporary voices. The series includes a post-reading discussion and will encourage feedback on which plays audience members would like to see WAM Theatre produce.
The series includes Silence by Moira Buffini, directed by Tod Randolph (April 19); The Tall Girls by Meg Miroshnik, directed by Kelly Galvin (May 17); Noms de Guerre by Jacqueline E. Lawton, directed by Jayne Atkinson (June 14), also part of the Lift E’vry Voice Festival; Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, directed by Molly Clancy (Aug. 16); and The Effect by Lucy Prebble, directed by Kristen van Ginhoven (Sept. 13). See below in our season highlights for information about each play.
In July, WAM Theatre will hold its Annual Celebration and Summer Benefit where the fall main stage production will be announced. This year the benefit event will take place at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond on Wednesday, July 15. The evening will include a sneak preview of the fall production and performances by local luminaries. In keeping with WAM Theatre’s unique double philanthropic mission, a portion of the proceeds from the fall production will be donated to an organization that benefits women and girls and that beneficiary will also be announced at the July 15 benefit. The Annual Celebration and Summer Benefit will be produced by Berkshire-based playwright and In Darfur producer Jessica Provenz. Further details forthcoming.
Launch of comprehensive WAM Theatre Education Program
Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven shares one of the most exciting developments for 2015, “WAM Theatre aims to serve all of Berkshire County, including the growing number of underserved women and girls. We envision a world in which young women aspire to become confident leaders in their communities. This year, towards those aims, we are launching our official comprehensive Education Program, which consists of three strands of outreach: Community, After School and Production.”
1) Community: Creative Collaborations
WAM Theatre currently works in collaboration with other artistic groups and service organizations to provide specific theatre programs to groups of women and girls. Our current partners include Girls Inc. in Pittsfield, ACT NOW and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, where WAM Theatre is a partner on the South County Story Project.
In our community programs, a WAM Theatre teaching artist works with participants to produce original material that explores issues of importance in their lives and serves the larger purpose of the community partner.
The participants in our community outreach programs learn important skills such as cooperation and collaboration, confidence in speaking, and group creativity. The emphasis for this program is on the skills acquired during the process. Anecdotally, words used by our current Girls Inc. participants to describe what they would take away from the program include "kindness", "confidence", "respectfulness", "helping", and "brave".
2) After School: WAM Theatre Girls Ensemble
The WAM Theatre Girls Ensemble is a new educational offering. The Girls Ensemble will be a selective program, drawing from schools and groups across the Berkshire region. The selection process will be by audition. Auditions will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2015 and open to young women aged 14-19 across Berkshire County.
The first Girls Ensemble pilot cohort will rehearse from September to December and share their first original production in a professional theatre space on December 11, 2015. The participants will form an ensemble and use a devised theatre process to create their own original piece of theatre. They will create a complete show, with production values, that shares the perspectives and stories of the participants. This program will be led by WAM Theatre teaching artist Barby Cardillo and thanks to our sponsors, will be free for all participants.
Towards this end, a WAM Theatre teaching artist will visit eight committed pilot schools in April 2015 to provide a mini-workshop to potential participants. The eight pilot schools are: Bart Charter School, Hoosac Valley High School, Lenox High School, Monument Mountain High School, Mount Everett High School, Pittsfield High School, Taconic High School, and Waconah Regional High School.
Additionally, this is an ISTA endorsed project. The International Schools Theatre Association (www.ISTA.co.uk), based in the United Kingdom, brings together young people, artists and teachers from different countries in different settings to experience, create and learn about theatre. WAM Theatre will use the established ISTA pedagogy and curriculum for devising such pieces as the springboard for our program. ISTA produces over 50 international arts events each year. WAM Theatre aims to bring participants to an ISTA event within the first five years of our Girls Ensemble program being launched.
3) Production: Engagement programming around our main stage productions
WAM Theatre generally produces one main stage production per year. To heighten the cultural enrichment and impact of the overall experience of coming to a WAM Theatre production, we want to provide access to our audiences in two ways: a subsidized ticket program and an educational engagement program. To date, we have provided subsidized performances to over 100 underserved audience members and included educational engagement opportunities for our last two fall productions Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight and In Darfur.
Seed funding for this three-stranded education program has been provided by multi-year grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Greylock Federal Credit Union, the Dylandale Foundation, the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) and Petricca Industries as well as grants from the Feigenbaum Foundation, Interprint and local cultural councils: Lee, Lenox, Hinsdale-Peru, Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Richmond, Washington and Windsor.
Additional Sponsors for the 2015 season include Custom Business Solutions, Garden Gables Inn, Regina Burgio, Nina Molin, MD, Jon Gotterer, DMD.
WAM Theatre will announce additional programming in the coming months. For tickets and more information, see www.WAMTheatre.com.
WAM THEATRE’S 2015 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
March 27 and 28
Jayne Atkinson’s Can You Hear Me Baby? Stories of Sex, Love and OMG Birth!
Written by Lisa Rafel, with music by Lisa Rafel and Gary Malkin. Directed by Jayne Atkinson. At the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre, 6 East St., Stockbridge, MA, on March 27 at 7pm and March 28 at 2 and 7 pm
Tickets $40 - $60. Proceeds will benefit the National Perinatal Association, Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, and WAM Theatre. For more information, visit www.canyouhearmebaby.com Ticket link: http://canyouhearmebaby.brownpapertickets.com/
April through September
Fresh Takes Staged Reading Series
Curated by WAM Theatre’s Artistic Associate Molly Clancy and hosted by No. Six Depot Roastery and Café on 6 Depot Street in West Stockbridge, MA, on select Sundays at 3 pm.
There are only 25 tickets available per reading. Tickets are $20, which includes a post-show discussion and the opportunity to meet the cast and director. Refreshments will be available for purchase at the Café.
April 19, 2015
by Moira Buffini
directed by Tod Randolph
A bride and groom forge a pact to keep a secret in this dark comedy where Shakespeare's cross dressers meet Monty Python's blithering knights. At the end of the first millennium, Princess Ymma of Normandy was forced by England's King Ethelred to marry a young Viking, Lord Silence of Cumbria. The events conspire to send them dashing through the mud of England fleeing an enraged despot's murderous rampage. Winner of a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and sparkling with deliberate clashes of period and style, WAM Theatre embarks on a journey of power, identity, gender and desire.
May 17, 2015
The Tall Girls
by Meg Miroshnik
directed by Kelly Galvin
Welcome to Poor Prairie, the dusty, desolate town where fifteen-and-a-half-year-old Jean has been exiled as caretaker for her wild-child cousin, Almeda. It’s a grim, dangerous place to eke out an existence as a teenage girl—until an out-of-towner arrives with a brand-new basketball in tow. As the town’s girls come together to form a team set on making it out of Poor Prairie, a murky committee of townspeople threatens to stamp out girls' sports altogether. Written by award-winning playwright Meg Miroshnik this play dramatizes issues important to the WAM Theatre community; the fight for class, education and gender equality.
June 14, 2015
Noms de Guerre
by Jacqueline E. Lawton
directed by Jayne Atkinson
Part of the Lift E’vry Voice Festival
Mira is a rising star in the Republican Party, but her campaign against reproductive rights puts her at odds with her best friend, Jude, an award-winning journalist. When Jude discovers that Mira’s war hero husband Douglas is linked to a massacre of Afghan civilians, Mira is thrown into a whirlwind of political intrigue and must decide whether to hold on to her career or save her husband. WAM Theatre presents this haunting, lyrical and passionate story nominated for a 2014 Kilroy, and written by Jacqueline E. Lawton who was named one of the top 30 national leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute.
August 16, 2015
Water by the Spoonful
by Quiara Alegría Hudes
directed by Molly Clancy
Somewhere in Philadelphia, Elliot has returned from Iraq and is struggling to find his place in the world. Somewhere in a chat room, recovering addicts keep each other alive, hour by hour, day by day. The boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace, birth families splinter and online families collide. A winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, WAM Theatre invites the Berkshire audience to partake in this artful and heartfelt meditation on life on the brink of redemption.
September 13, 2015
by Lucy Prebble
directed by Kristen van Ginhoven
In this clinical romance two young volunteers, Tristan and Connie, agree to take part in an experimental drug trial. Succumbing to the gravitational pull of attraction and love they manage to throw the trial off-course, much to the frustration of the clinicians involved. This funny, moving and perhaps surprisingly human play explores questions of sanity, neurology and the limits of medicine. WAM Theatre presents this vibrant theatrical exploration of fate, loyalty and the inevitability of physical attraction. Written by Lucy Prebble, a finalist for the 2013-2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the play garnered the Critics' Circle Award for Best Play.
WAM Theatre will announce additional programming in the coming months. For tickets and more information, see www.WAMTheatre.com.
About WAM Theatre
Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen van Ginhoven to create professional theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls.
WAM Theatre also has a philanthropic mission, inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls.
Over the past five years, WAM Theatre has donated more than $15,000 to seven nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 100 theatre artists. In addition to the main stage productions and special events, WAM Theatre’s activities include a comprehensive educational outreach program and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. For more information, visit www.WAMTheatre.com