WAM Theatre Announces 10th Anniversary Season

Artistic Director Kristen Van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and the WAM team are thrilled to announce expanded programming and new collaborations for their 10th anniversary season.

"As we celebrate our first decade of the WAM dream of using theatre to benefit women and girls coming true, we are growing our programming to two Mainstage productions," van Ginhoven said. "We are excited to present two Fresh Takes readings that correlate directly to our Mainstage programming and to expand our Education program to include a new Elder ensemble for women."

"As WAM continues to learn about working at the intersection of arts and activism, more and more, we are understanding the importance and necessity of inclusion- of race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, geography and more." van Ginhoven continued. "Through our plays, our readings, our community partnerships, and our ensembles, we're consciously featuring stories that look at the world through an intersectional feminist lens. We look forward to celebrating our first ten years of impact all year and especially at our 10th anniversary gala in July."

MAINSTAGE PRODUCTIONS

Lady Randy

World Premiere

by Anne Undeland

Directed by Jim Frangione

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA

https://www.wamtheatre.com/ladyrandy/

Previews April 18 & 19, 2019

Opening April 20

Closing May 5

Our first Mainstage production will be the World Premiere of local playwright Anne Undeland's historical drama Lady Randy, about Jenny Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill. The play was first developed by Undeland and director Jim Frangione at the Berkshire Playwrights' Lab, making this a true collaboration of outstanding regional talent.

In 1875, the American heiress, Jennie Jerome, seemed to have have it all. She had married an English lord, she was young, rich and beautiful, and she had just given birth to Winston Churchill. Lady Randy takes us on a dizzying ride through the treacherous, kaleidoscopic sexual and political landscape of her marriage. A woman ahead of her time, Jennie kept everyone watching, kept them guessing, and she never, ever surrendered.

"Brilliant, maddening, impossibly seductive, vaultingly ambitious, I fell headlong in love with this woman who was at once so ahead of her time and yet very much a product of her era," shared playwright Anne Undeland. "The first in a long line of 'dollar princesses,' Jennie Jerome stunned me in the audacity with which she wrote her own rules in the dangerous game of sex and power. Helping launch WAM Theatre's world premiere production of LADY RANDY - right here in the Berkshires - is among the biggest thrills of my life."

This production is sponsored in part by an anonymous donor.

FALL MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION

Pipeline

by Dominique Morisseau

Presented in partnership with Multicultural BRIDGE

October 25 - November 10

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA

https://www.wamtheatre.com/pipeline/

To close out our anniversary season, WAM is partnering with Multicultural BRIDGE to present the Berkshire premiere of one of last year's Fresh Takes Readings- the Obie Award-winning play, Pipeline, written by recent MacArthur Genius Grant award-winner, Dominique Morisseau.

In PIPELINE, Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students and desperate to give her only son opportunities they will never have. When a controversial incident in his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. Pipeline is Dominique Morisseau's beautiful and deeply moving story of a mother's fight to give her son a future without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.

"BRIDGE is thrilled to collaborate with WAM Theatre again, this time on Dominique Morisseau's brilliant play Pipeline, which is advancing a much-needed national conversation on the crisis of the Black family in the U.S." said Multicultural BRIDGE Chief Executive Officer and Founding Director, Gwendolyn Hampton Van Sant. "Through the story of one young Black student's successes and challenges, we share the experience of a Black family facing long-standing cultural and systemic barriers. The school to prison 'pipeline' affects not only the poor; the constant pressure and trauma of racism can touch any family at any moment."

"Through the arts, we look forward to creating more local opportunities for authentic discussion around the stark ethnic disparities that exist for Black families as we identify solutions through activism," Van Sant continued. "Pipeline helps us enter these conversations with courage."

In keeping with WAM's philanthropic mission, each production will have a beneficiary that will receive a portion of the box office proceeds. WAM's beneficiary committee will announce the the beneficiaries for each production in the coming months.

This production is sponsored in part by Carolyn Butler.

In celebration of WAM's 10th Anniversary Season, WAM will offer ten $10 tickets at every single Mainstage performance during the 2019 season on a first-come, first-serve basis.

FRESH TAKES PLAY READING SERIES

Native Gardens

By Karen Zacarías

Saturday, May 4

3pm

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA

This reading of NATIVE GARDENS will feature WAM Theatre Co-Founder Leigh Strimbeck.

In this brilliant new comedy, cultures and gardens clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies. Pablo, a rising attorney, and doctoral candidate Tania, his very pregnant wife, have just purchased a home next to Frank and Virginia, a well-established D.C. couple with a prize-worthy English garden. But an impending barbeque for Pablo's colleagues and a delicate disagreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out border dispute, exposing both couples' notions of race, taste, class and privilege.

Paradise

by Laura Maria Censabella

Directed by Talya Kingston

Saturday, November 2

3pm

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA

Yasmeen Al-Hamadi is a Muslim, Yemeni-American senior at a struggling inner-city Bronx high school. Dr. Guy Royston is her disaffected science teacher, a former Evangelical with a mysterious past. An unlikely research team, together they embark on a neurological study, leading to stormy conflicts over love, faith, and culture. An Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan-commissioned play and finalist for the 2016 Saroyan/Paul Playwriting Prize for Human Rights.

ANNUAL SUMMER BENEFIT GALA

Wednesday, July 24 at 5:30pm

At the Stationery Factory in Dalton

"We are so thrilled that Oscar Hallig and Mike Zippel of Only in my Dreams Events will be helping us coordinate our gala again," Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe, WAM Philanthropy and Outreach Coordinator, shared. "And we're excited that it will be held this year at the amazing Stationery Factory in Dalton. It is such a beautiful space, complete with a stage and a bar, and we won't have to worry about rain!"

WAM EDUCATION

TEEN ENSEMBLE

July 24-28

Performance tour including the Stationery Factory in Dalton at the WAM Gala, and The Mount

https://www.wamtheatre.com/teen-ensemble/

The WAM Teen Ensemble is a performance group for young people ages 13-18. The criteria for participation is enthusiasm and the creative impulse to voice your feelings and ideas through multiple forms of artistic expression. Formerly known as the Girls Ensemble, WAM has, in coordination with past participants, renamed this program the Teen Ensemble in order to be more inclusive, and in acknowledgement of the full spectrum of gender identities represented by the group.

The success of this program is largely due to the talent of our teaching staff, led this year by Talya Kingston, Amy Brentano, Kahlia Russell-Self, and Sara Katzoff.

The Teen Ensemble will premiere its new devised theatre piece at our summer gala before embarking on a small tour of the show- performing at three other regional venues, closing the show at The Mount in late July.

NEW! - ELDER ENSEMBLE

July 24-28

Performance tour to include the Stationery Factory in Dalton at the WAM Gala, and The Mount

https://www.wamtheatre.com/elder-ensemble/

"During our auditions last year, I noticed an enormous amount of interest from talented older women in sharing their stories" Kingston explained. "WAM has long been interested in collaborating with these members of our community, and we are proud to announce the creation this year of our WAM Elder Ensemble."

The program will be structured similarly to the Teen Ensemble, with the two ensembles working together around the same theme to create an inter-generational piece that will premiere at the WAM Gala and then go on a short local tour.

WAM IN-SCHOOL ENSEMBLE PROGRAMS

Starting late last year and continuing into January and February 2019, WAM's Ensemble Program is in residence at the following schools: Reid Middle School, Pittsfield High School, Richmond Consolidated School, and the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School. Each ensemble will devise a new short piece under the theme "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", exploring ideas of truth, lies, who we find believable, and who we choose not to believe. This project will culminate in a shared invite-only performance in February at Reid Middle School.

For more information about the 2019 Season and WAM Theatre's programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.

WAM THEATRE 2019 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

April 18-May 5, 2019
Lady Randy

by Anne Undeland

Directed by Jim Frangione

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

May 4, 2019
Fresh Takes Play Reading
Native Gardens

By Karen Zacarías

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre
Tickets: $25

July 24-28, 2019

Teen & Elder Ensemble Tour

Performance tour including the Stationery Factory in Dalton at the WAM Gala, and The Mount


July 24, 2019
Annual Summer Benefit Gala
Monday, July 24, from 5:30-8pm
The Stationery Factory in Dalton, MA


October 25 - November 10, 2019
Pipeline

by Dominique Morisseau

In partnership with Multicultural BRIDGE

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

November 2, 2019

Fresh Takes Play Reading
Paradise

by Laura Maria Censabella

Directed by Talya Kingston

Presented at Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre


TICKET INFO

To purchase tickets for Lady Randy or Pipeline, visit www.shakespeare.org and their April calendar at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/403/1554091200000. Online tickets are available now. In person or phone purchases begin March 5 by calling the Shakespeare & Company box office at 413-637-3353. In celebration of WAM's 10th Anniversary Season WAM will offer ten $10 tickets at every single Mainstage performance during the 2019 season on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Please visit the Shakespeare & Company's website for box office hours, which vary throughout the year.

To purchase tickets to the Fresh Takes play reading series, Education Program events, or the Summer Benefit Gala, visit WAMTheatre.com or call 413-274-8122.


ABOUT WAM THEATRE

Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre is celebrating its 10th anniversary of being a place Where Arts and Activism Meet. The company was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen Van Ginhoven. WAM's vision is to create opportunity for women and girls through the mission of theatre as philanthropy.

Inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls.

Since 2010, WAM Theatre has provided paid work to more than 200 theatre artists and donated more than $56,500 to fifteen local and global organizations taking action for women and girls in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training and more. 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

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