WAM Theatre to Present Winter Miller's DARFUR this Fall

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WAM Theatre to Present Winter Miller's DARFUR this Fall

As WAM (Women's Action Movement) Theatre prepares to celebrate its fifth season at the August 24 Change Makers benefit, artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven has announced that this year's fall production will be the New England premiere of In Darfur.

In Darfur is the provocative account of three intertwined lives at a camp for internally displaced persons. The story follows an aid worker's mission to save and protect lives, a journalist's pursuit to deliver a front page story, and a Darfuri woman's quest for safety. It is a searing story of urgency and international significance.

In Darfur's author, Winter Miller, will participate in the panel discussion that is the cornerstone of WAM Theatre's fifth season benefit celebration, Change Makers, taking place on August 24 at 7 pm at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. In addition to the panel discussion with Miller and other extraordinary artists who seek to create positive social change through their work, the event will also include a sneak peek at In Darfur and the announcement of the beneficiary of this year's philanthropic donation.

After five years of producing plays and donating more than $10,500 to organizations that help women and girls, van Ginhoven says the time is right to select a play for the fall production that deals more directly with the issues WAM Theatre was founded to address. "I have loved In Darfur for four years, since I met Winter and she sent it to me, but I was scared to step up and produce such a challenging work of theatre. I have always said that I don't have the resilience to be one of those people on the front lines, that what I can do is create an entertaining, intellectually stimulating and imaginative evening in the theatre to benefit those who do confront the serious issues head-on. This year, many different events have come together to make this the story we must tell with our fall production. I have every confidence that our audience will receive this relevant story with enthusiasm."

Van Ginhoven was inspired to create WAM Theatre after reading the book "Half the Sky" by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Miller's drama In Darfur was inspired by what she saw as Kristof's researcher at the start of the genocide in Darfur in 2004. After winning the 2006 "Two-Headed Challenge" commission from the Guthrie Theater and the Playwrights' Center, Miller traveled with Kristof to villages and refugee camps along the Chad/Sudan border. In Darfur premiered at The Public Theater in Manhattan for a sold-out run; a subsequent staged reading in the Public's 1800-seat Delacorte Theater in Central Park - a first for a play by a woman - drew a standing-room-only crowd.

WAM Theatre's production of In Darfur, scheduled for October 30-November 16, will be the play's New England premiere. It will be presented at the Berry Family Studio (Studio 3) in the Elayne P. Bernstein Center at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. Tickets will go on sale September 1 on the Shakespeare & Company website at www.tickets.shakespeare.org.

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