WAM Theatre Announces Expanded Education Offerings

By: Feb. 23, 2016
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WAM Theatre is excited to announce its plans for continuing and expanding their education programming for their seventh season, including new collaborations with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College (OLLI) and IS183 Art School.

WAM's education programs aim 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. In 2015, towards those aims, WAM launched an official comprehensive Education Program, which consists of three strands of outreach: Community, After School, and Production. These new 2016 collaborations enable WAM to continue to expand the programming provided in these three areas.


Girls Inc in Pittsfield and the new WAM Theatre April Vacation Camp at IS183 Art School

Since 2013, WAM Theatre Education Coordinator and Teaching Artist Barby Cardillo has been leading a weekly after-school theatre arts workshop for girls aged 8-12 at Girls Inc. in Pittsfield. The program always culminates in a sharing of an original devised piece that is based on the skills gained throughout the semester. This spring the girls are exploring the concepts of "character" and "story-telling," in addition to which, as requested by the participants and as a continuation of the work being taught, there will be a written script based on the girls' improvisations. Cardillo will return to continue this program in the fall 2016 semester.

The Girls Inc. program is only open to girls enrolled in the Girls Inc after school programming, but now a new collaboration with IS183 Art School in Stockbridge will be open to all girls aged 8-12.

During the April Vacation week Cardillo will be at the IS183 Citizens Hall Theatre to lead a WAM Theatre April Vacation camp from 9:30 am-3:30 pm on April 18-22. The fee is $250.00, or $235.00 for IS183 Art School members. Before and after care are available for an additional fee. A minimum of six participants are required to run the course. To register for the camp, go to: http://www.wamtheatre.com/wam-vacation-camp/

The process of using improvisation, theatre games and writing prompts will be used to devise a performance based on the exploration of themes that are important to young women living in the world today. The camp will culminate in a sharing of this original performance on the final day of the camp.

Details of a semester-long WAM Theatre after-school program at IS183 Art School planned for the fall of 2016 will be announced at a later date.


WAM Theatre Girls Ensemble Spring Tour of 'Miss Labeled'

In the fall of 2015 WAM piloted their inaugural Girls Ensemble for girls aged 14-19 under the direction of Cardillo and teaching artist Amy Brentano. A generous grant from the Feigenbaum Foundation and the Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, plus notable corporate sponsor support, enabled six young women from throughout Berkshire County to participate in the Ensemble free of charge.

The inaugural Ensemble devised a 30-minute piece made up of scenes, monologues, ensemble movement, song, and dance titled Miss Labeled - a play on words around the girls' feelings of being mislabeled by society. On Friday, December 11, 2015, 71 people came out to see the show, staged at Shakespeare and Company's Bernstein Theatre, and the girls got a spontaneous standing ovation at the end. The talkback after the event went on for a long time with lots of insightful questions and comments, including the desire for the show to tour in the New Year.

Thanks to the Brabson grant and a second Feigenbaum grant, WAM will be touring the show to Berkshire County middle and high schools this spring as part of the company's mission to share the stories of women and girls. The original cast returns to perform the show during the tour.

To bring Miss Labeled to your school, please contact WAM Education Coordinator, Barby Cardillo, at barby@wamtheatre.com. Thanks to our sponsors, there is no cost to bring this show to your school or organization.


Fresh Takes/Your Take- new companion class to Fresh Takes play readings at OLLI

The third season of WAM's popular Fresh Takes Play Reading Series kicks off on April 17 with a reading of The Last Wife, by Kate Hennig, directed by Molly Clancy. We are returning once again to the gallery space at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café in West Stockbridge at 3pm on Sunday afternoons starting on April 17 and including: May 15, Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler, directed by Kelly Galvin; June 19, The Oregon Trail by Bekah Brunstetter, directed by Estefanía Fadul; August 21, Samsara by Lauren Yee, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian; and September 11, Grand Concourse by Heidi Shreck, directed by Sheila Siragusa. These are all professional readings of thought-provoking plays that have had successful productions elsewhere but are new to Berkshire audiences, written by women and telling the stories of women and girls. Molly Clancy curates the season, which is sponsored by No. Six Depot and Kristin and James Hatt. There are conversations with the cast and director after every reading.

This year, in response to our audiences request for deeper discussion around the women's issues raised in each play, WAM Theatre is partnering with OLLI to co-present a companion class called 'Fresh Takes/Your Take'. Starting with the May reading of Photograph 51, a companion class will be offered on the Monday evening following the Sunday readings. This class will be led by WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven and will provide a more in-depth look at the central issues infused in each play. During the companion class, van Ginhoven will share the underpinning of the piece and its author, setting the scene for discussion of your questions, reactions, and experiences as they were evoked by the Sunday reading.

The readings are at 3pm on Sundays at the No. 7 Depot Roastery and Cafe in West Stockbridge and the companion class will run on Monday evening from 7:00-8:30 pm at the OLLI campus at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield. The readings and classes will take place on the following dates - May 15/16, June 19/20, August 21/22 and September 11/12. $20 for reading only; $139 for all 4 readings/companion classes, $40 for one reading/companion class. Register through WAM Theatre website.

Main Stage Audience Enrichment Opportunities

This year's fall Main Stage play will be a co-production with the Berkshire Theatre Group on the Larry Vaber Stage in The Unicorn Theatre. WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven will direct the American Premiere of The Bakelite Masterpiece by Kate Cayley, with David Adkins and Corinna May. The show begins previews on September 29, opens on October 1, and closes on October 23.

Set in Holland at the end of World War II, the play debates beauty, faith, memory and the reconstruction of a country. Artist van Meegeren is arrested for selling a long-lost painting by the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer to Nazi leader Hermann Goering. His defense? It was a perfect forgery painted by him. His proof? In front of his prosecutor (art historian and resistance fighter) Geert Piller, he must paint another flawless Vermeer to save his life.

There will again be a comprehensive post show conversation series offered, including a visit from playwright, Kate Cayley, who will be joining us on opening weekend for various opportunities for conversation.

More audience enrichment opportunities will be announced closer to production time.


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