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WAM Theatre Announces Collaboration with Arizona's Bridge Initiative

WAM Theatre is delighted to announce that their 2017 Fresh Takes Play reading series will begin with The Flora and Fauna by Alyson Mead, winner of the Arizona-based Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre New Work Contest. The play chronicles the celebrations and challenges of a female friendship that spans almost 30 years. Additionally, this opening reading of the Fresh Takes Series will be a partnership with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, with a portion of the box office proceeds from the reading going to the Festival.

The WAM reading will take place at 3:30 pm on Sunday, March 12 at No. 6 Depot in West Stockbridge. WAM Artistic Associate and Fresh Takes Curator/Producer Molly Clancy will direct.

"I'm honored to be directing The Flora and Fauna for WAM, and excited about our national collaboration with The Bridge Initiative and our local partnership with The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers," said Molly Clancy. "Supporting women artists is at the heart of WAM's mission, and I am especially passionate about supporting new plays written by women. Joining together with other organizations, nationally and locally, that share those same values is a wonderful way to open our 2017 season."

The Bridge Initiative is an Arizona nonprofit working to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region. One of it's co-founders and co-producing artistic directors, Tracy Liz Miller, was a director for WAM's Fresh Takes reading series in 2013.

The Bridge Initiative's New Work Contest received more than 163 eligible plays and musicals, submitted from 25 states, the District of Columbia, and international locations. Over the course of six months, the works were adjudicated by a team of professional theatre practitioners from both Arizona and across the country, including representatives from WAM, who produce, act, direct, write, and teach. Every submission was scored anonymously, on criteria of originality, storytelling, dialogue, characters, and an X factor ("I want to see this play").

"It seemed absolutely necessary to me to connect with WAM Theatre as soon as Brenda Foley (Bridge Initiative's other co-producing Artistic Director) and I began to look at partnering with other companies to give our playwright more development opportunities," Miller said. "Having proudly worked with Kristen previously, I knew that WAM's mission aligned with ours and that the combination of the Fresh Takes series and our new play contest was a perfect fit. We all look forward to helping Alyson meet her artistic mission with this play."

"Prior to coming to the Berkshires The Flora and Fauna will spend a week in Arizona, where Mead and New York City-based new play development expert Stefanie Sertich will be in residence workshopping the play - working on rewrites and strengthening the piece," Foley explained. "Then, after WAM's reading in March, the new draft will also be read at the Magnolia Theatre in Ohio and the InProximity Theatre in NYC. Hearing the audience response in different regions, as well as seeing different artistic teams interpret her work, will be a huge asset to the playwright as she polishes her script in anticipation of a full production."

Additionally, The Bridge Initiative has named two plays Honorable Mention winners. Sarah Bierstock's Honor Killing follows an American reporter investigating a murder in Pakistan. In Anchuli King's White Pearl, six women from six Asian countries collide in the boardroom of a whitening skin cream brand.

WAM Theatre will announce the full schedule for their 8th season, including the rest of the Fresh Takes series, on February 28.


The Bridge Initiative is an Arizona nonprofit working to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region, with the aim of gender parity across all theatrical disciplines. Its mission also includes bridging the gap between academia and the professional world to encourage students to envision a clearer path to becoming lifelong artists. Visit


The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers inspires, nourishes and strengthens women's creative voices by offering stimulating workshops and events year-round designed to encourage women and girls to engage with one another and their communities, and develop as creative leaders. For the past six years, hundreds of women writers of all ages, from teens to seniors, have participated in the annual Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, held in March, Women's History Month, featuring workshops, readings, performances and screenings at venues throughout Berkshire County MA and the adjacent Berkshire region. Visit


Mead studied at Yale University, the Slade School of Art in London, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and with iO West, UCB and Tectonic Theatre Project. Her award-winning plays have been staged at Off-Off Broadway and regional theaters around the country and in London, including La MaMa, St. Mark's Church, 8BC, Pasadena Playhouse, Venus Theatre, Women Playwrights Conference, Limelight, the Other Space Theater, the Hudson, Atwater Village Theater and Sacred Fools, among others. She's published by Original Works Publishing, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Ensemble Studio Theatre's Playwriting Unit and the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. Visit

About the Director: MOLLY CLANCY

WAM Theatre: Artistic Associate, Fresh Takes Play Reading Series Curator & Producer, Director for Water by the Spoonful and The Last Wife, Assistant Director for In Darfur, How The World Began and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England. Regional Theatre: Molly currently works at Shakespeare & Company as the Publicity Director and previously worked at Florida Studio Theatre (Sarasota, FL) and Home Made Theatre (Saratoga Springs, NY). Additional Directing: SDC Foundation Observership Class 2015 - 2016, Charlotte's Web and The Wizard of Oz (Forest Lake Theatre) and The Rwandans' Visit (Lougheed Festival of the Arts at SUNY Potsdam). Additional Assistant Directing: Alice Reagan's Or, (Shakespeare & Company), Taibi Magar's Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare & Company) Training: SUNY Potsdam (BA in Theatre and English). Twitter: @MollyClancyy


WAM Theatre is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; and by the Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural. Our 2017 sponsors include the Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Custom Business Solution, Dylandale Foundation, Futures HealthCore, Garden Gables, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido's Fresh Marketplace, In Touch Printing, International Schools Theatre Association, Interprint, Dr. Jay Wise, DDS & Dr. Casey Jones, DMD, Keator Group, LLC, Lee Bank, Massachusetts Cultural Council, MAXYMILLIAN Technologies, Methuselah Bar and Lounge, No. Six Depot Roastery and Café, RB Design Co., TSquared Design Studio, The Rookwood Inn, Rouge Restaurant & Bistro, A. von Schlegell & Co., the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from the Alford-Egremont, Dalton Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, New Malborough Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, Cultural Council of Northern Berkshires , Otis Cultural Council, West Stockbridge Cultural Council, Richmond Cultural Council - local agencies that are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre is 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 donated more than $30,000 to eleven nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 200 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

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