- What does WAM stand for?
- What is WAM Theatre?
- Why Women and Girls?
- Why Theatre?
- Why Philanthropy?
- Is my donation tax-deductible?
- How do I receive my tax receipt?
- How will WAM Theatre raise funds?
- How will my donation money be used?
- Does WAM Theatre intend to pay the people who work on their productions?
- Where will WAM Theatre be located?
- How often will WAM Theatre produce theatrical events?
- It’s hard enough just to raise money to produce theatre, how does WAM theatre expect to do that and give money away with each event?
- How will you decide which organization will benefit from your work?
- The state of women and girls worldwide is a heavy topic -Will WAM Theatre events be depressing?
- Will WAM Theatre commission new theatre work by women?
- What other ideas does WAM Theatre have?
- Who is the WAM Theatre community?
WAM stands for Women’s Action Movement. When we launched WAM Theatre on January 1, 2010, the acronym reflected the fact that we were women taking action and joining the movement to create more opportunity for women worldwide. It also reflected the fact that both Kristen and Leigh are big lovers of movement orirented theatre. After one year, the acronym has grown to include “Women and Men” as well, as coined by our advisory board member, Kevin Craig West. The meaning of the acronym is outweighed by our philanthropic mission with WAM Theatre as a whole. Therefore, we publicize ourselves as WAM Theatre, rather than Women’s Action Movement Theatre.
WAM Theatre, a theatre company based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Capital Region of New York State, was launched in 2010 to use theatre to take action for women and girls worldwide. WAM Theatre’s philanthropic mission is two-fold. 1) producing theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls 2) contributing a portion of proceeds from those events to organizations that work to benefit the lives of women and girls here or abroad.
Poverty, domestic and gender-based violence, sexual slavery and human trafficking, maternal mortality, lack of education: all of these things and more oppress women in a time when we need the skills and the best of everyone worldwide. WAM Theatre is our way of taking action.
Kristen and Leigh both harbour a long standing desire to take action for the rights of women and girls worldwide. In late 2009, they read HALF THE SKY: TURNING OPPRESSION INTO OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN WORLDWIDE by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Inspired by the book and their desire to do their part to turn oppression into opportunity, Kristen and Leigh began 2010 by founding WAM Theatre.
Clink on the link below for statistics that compel us to take action:
Click on the link below to read inspiring stories of women who have turned oppression into opportunity:
Some years ago a group of enthusiastic runners put together the notion that they could run and raise money for important causes at the same time. Now we take it for granted that a runner may be running for the Cure. WAM Theatre wants to do the same with theatre.
Yes. WAM Theatre, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, therefore, all your donations to WAM Theatre are tax-deductible.
If you donate online, you will receipt an email confirmation letter that serves use that as your tax receipt. If you donate via check, you need to email/send us your name and mailing address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will mail you an official tax receipt by the end of the year.
We intend to raise funds through grants, sponsorship and individual donations. For the first few years, however, WAM Theatre will remain ineligible for many of the larger grants. Therefore, in order to achieve our objective of quality professional theatre, we will focus on individual donations and business sponsorships.
Your donation will fund the costs of producing the theatre event. Portions of the tickets sales will go to an organization, local or global, that benefits women and girls. Supporting women and girls worldwide by supporting the arts. Double philanthropy.
Examples of costs to produce the events include rental of the theatre space, event insurance policies, paying for the rights for published plays, marketing costs, paying theatre artists (actors, stage managers, designers, directors, etc.), design budgets, and administrative costs.
Click here to see our 2012 Annual Report.
Yes, WAM Theatre intends to provide payment to the professional theatre artists who will work with us. Creating work for our fellow professional theatre artists is part of our goal as a professional theatre. For the first few years, however, that amount of payment will depend on fundraising efforts. But we are working towards paying all our artists the standard wage for their work and are proud that all artists working on our main events have been paid either a stipend or, if a member of the professional actors’s union, Equity, have worked with WAM Theatre under a Special Appearance contract.
As we straddle state lines, being based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Capital Region of upstate New York, we will rent spaces for productions on an as-needed basis, producing in both areas as possible. Our main business office is located at: 440 Spring Street, Lee, MA, 01238
Our goal is to produce once or twice a year while maintaining our lives as busy theatre professionals.
We are aware the model we are proposing is highly unusual, double philanthropy as it were. But, we feel compelled to find a way to uplift both the work of women and girls in the arts, and the lives of women and girls in the world. Our feeling is that when people gather to see theatre, there is, for that moment in time, a community that has been formed. We hope that this community will enjoy a great evening of theatre all the more knowing that some of the cost of the ticket will go to benefit women and girls both locally and worldwide.
Our ideal goal with each event would be to donate the amount of the funds raised to produce the event to the organization we have chosen to benefit. Our realistic goal is that the amount of money we can give after an event will vary depending on tickets sales, how many performances we do, the costs of producing the event, etc. Therefore, when we decide to whom we will donate proceeds, we will work with them to see about the various ways they can help to market our events and increase the percentage of tickets sold. The more tickets we sell, the more we can donate.
We will announce the amount donated after the close of each event. So far, since launching in 2010, we have donated a total of nearly $5000 to our beneficiaries.
Part of our work will be to research organizations thoroughly before we designate them as our next beneficiary. Our 2010 Beneficiaries: Women for Women International, beneficiary of ‘A WAM Welcome’ and The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, beneficiary of ‘Melancholy Play’. Our intention is to donate funds to organizations both in our local communities as well as worldwide. Our 2011 Beneficiaries: Berkshire United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative for ‘The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls’ and Edna’s Hospital, specifically her Community Midwife Program, for ‘O Solo Mama Mia Festival’.
As part of the Half the Sky movement, one link that has already proven very useful to us is the following:
Indeed the need is great, we have much work to do to protect women and girls and help them earn parity. But we are both theatre practitioners first, committed to excellence. Theatre can often be ironic and funny as well as tragic and sad. In ‘A WAM Welcome’ one of the selections in the evening was MIRROR MIRROR, created and directed by Leigh Strimbeck. This was a prime example of our aesthetic. This original work looks at young women, body image, and the pressure the media puts on young women to be perfect. But it is also very funny at many points. For more information on MIRROR MIRROR, go to www.leighstrimbeck.com and click on the MIRROR MIRROR page or click on the YouTube link below.
Ideally, yes. We hope to read and solicit work by women in the theatre whose work we admire. Talks have already begun with various playwrights and theatre artists in our local areas and internationally with whom we hope to collaborate in the future.
Kristen and Leigh are also both specialists in Devised Theatre, creating original ensemble theatre from a chosen stimulus, which will form an essential element of WAM Theatre. In 2011, WAM Theatre was commissioned by WordxWord Festival in Pittsfield, MA to devise a piece entitled ‘Women & Words: An Instant Theatre Piece’ and in 2012 WAM Theatre will work with WordxWord again to devise a piece around Women & Technology.
Book Swaps, Conferences for and Collaborations with Women Theatre Artists and Philanthropists, Guest Bloggers, these are only a few of our ideas for building a WAM Theatre community.
One example: Before you come to a WAM Theatre event, you grab a book or two that you’ve finished reading and are ready to part with and that, in some way, relates to the evening of WAM Theatre you are about to see. At the end of the night, or maybe at intermission, you go to the lobby and swap books with other audience members. Eventually you’ll go home with a new book or two to read. This idea came out of the fact that Kristen and Leigh were inspired by a book, HALF THE SKY: TURNING OPPRESSION INTO OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN WORLDWIDE by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and that we are both total book worms!
The WAM Theatre community is one that believes in the education and empowerment of women and girls worldwide, one that thrives on being involved and staying informed, and one that is inspired by using the art of theatre to take action for women and girls worldwide.
We hope you will be part of that WAM Theatre community and we look forward to meeting and collaborating with you.