WAM Theatre Announces New Education Outreach Programs
WAM Theatre is delighted to announce the launch of their education outreach with two fall projects: a fall residency at Girls Inc. of Pittsfield and an educational outreach program related to their fall production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson that involves five local organizations that work with underserved communities.
"Theatre education is part of our background so I'm particularly thrilled to launch these programs as part of WAM Theatre's fourth year in operation as a professional theatre company," says Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven. "We are very thankful to the sponsors who are making this possible and the participating organizations for collaborating with us on this exciting new step for our company."
From September to December, WAM Theatre will work with Girls Inc. of Pittsfield participants to create an original piece of theatre that explores the impact of technology and social media on young women's lives. The project will be part of the Girls Inc. after-school program and will be taught by WAM Theatre actor and teaching artist Barby Cardillo.
This project is an extension of the 'like/unlike' project created and directed by WAM Theatre co-founder Leigh Strimbeck while the company was in residence at the 2012 WordxWord Festival. This next phase of the project continues the discussion on how living and relating online, both anonymously and publicly, affects us, including how it may be working for or against us as individuals, families, and communities.
"We are very excited to offer this amazing program to the girls we serve," says Kristen Shepardson, program officer atGladys Allen Brigham Community Center, where the Girls Inc. program is offered. "This program will teach them the skills they need to help them use social media in a positive and imaginative way, which is perfectly aligned with our mission to focus on empowering young people, in particular young women."
The main teaching artist for this project will be Barby Cardillo. Ms. Cardillo is a professional performer and teaching artist. She has been creating and directing drama workshops and productions since 1992 throughout Berkshire County and has been working with WAM Theatre since 2010. With Shakespeare & Company in Lenox she has directed many productions in Western Massachusetts middle and high schools and worked for the Shakespeare in the Courts program for six years. She spent ten years as the Director of the Theatre Program at Camp Hawthorne in Maine and eight years as the drama instructor at the Valley Head School, a residential treatment facility for girls aged 12-20 in Berkshire County. Ms. Cardillo has worked for many years with Community Access to the Arts (CATA) and with the Barrington Stage Company where she leads groups of at risk youth in creating theatre from their own stories as part of the award-winning Playwright Mentoring Project.
This residency is generously sponsored by Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and the Pittsfield Cultural Council.
As the recipient of a Mass Humanities grant, WAM Theatre will create integrative age appropriate (12-20) engagement opportunities around the issues and themes present in their November production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight for five local participating organizations. The organizations are BART Charter School in Adams; Flying Cloud Institute in Great Barrington; Girls Inc. of Pittsfield; Multicultural BRIDGE based in Lee and the Rites of Passage and Empowerment for Girls Program based in Pittsfield. The focus themes will be women and The Age of Enlightenment and gender notions throughout history. The engagement opportunities for the participants include a social media campaign, an education study guide, information boards in the lobby, age-appropriate program notes and pre-show information sessions.
Scholars involved in this project include: Dr. Amy Holzapfel, Associate Professor of Theatre, Williams College, Dr. Jennifer de Browdy Hernandez, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Media Studies and Gender Studies, Bard College at Simon's Rock, and playwright Lauren Gunderson.
This project will result in the participants attending the play and participating in a final post-show discussion led by the scholars and WAM artists. The production will be presented from November 7 through November 24, 2013 at St. Germain Stage in the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden St. in Pittsfield.