WAM’s 2012 Season
Larry Murray, Berkshire On Stage, Feb 2012
You can’t have a discussion of art these days without bringing technology into the subject, and for that matter, politics. Even old opera singers can have revelations about how politics affects the world around them, while young artists consider the possibilities and limitations that technology offers in creating art and helping lead meaningful lives. If this all sounds a bit like a TED Conference, it’s because WAM Theatre has always thought outside the traditional box. The theatre company itself exists not only for performances, but as a new way to bring support to essential charitable or nonprofit causes.
2012 sees the company continuing to innovate and expand its welcome to everyone in the Berkshires using theatre as a fulcrum upon which they balance their concerns as both women and artists.
Artists in Residence at the WordxWord Festival
WAM will spend five days in Pittsfield as artists in residence, opening up the devising process to the public and completing their residency by presenting a public performance of the material created during the festival. The piece will center around the impact of technology on young women’s lives and will include interviews with community members as springboard material. The project will be directed by WAM co-founder Leigh Strimbeck and marks WAM’s official launch of devising original works of ensemble theatre that center around issues of importance in the lives of women. This project is sponsored in part by a grant from the Pittsfield Cultural Council.
Jim Benson, founder of WordxWord and WAM Theatre board member says, “Part of WordxWord’s mission is presenting new works, and new performers. WAM’s new project ‘Women and Technology’ is a perfect example of that. This piece will be current in real-time, and will have a lot to say about where we are, and will question a lot of our assumptions about what role technology and staying current with technology is doing to us.”
World Premiere of “The Old Mezzo” by Susan Dworkin
In the fall of 2012 WAM will present the World Premiere of The Old Mezzo by Berkshire based writer Susan Dworkin. The play concerns the political awakening of a great opera singer, who must risk her fame and success to preserve the freedom that is so essential to the arts. The beneficiary for this production will be a Berkshire based women’s organization. Ms. Dworkin is best known for her books The Viking in the Wheat Field and The Nazi Officer’s Wife as well as her play All Day Suckers.
The Old Mezzo is a one act play about Alyssa, who used to be a great opera singer. Now she teaches — not exactly singing – but rather the politics of singing. Her lesson is her story, and her students play characters she has known, so that they will learn the responsibilties of the artist in a dangerous world.
Wildly imaginative, fanciful and hard-hitting, The Old Mezzo is perfect for this young company since 5 of the 6 players are young themselves. Whether it is staged with recorded music or live, or a combination of both is of special interest to me.
The 24 Hour Theatre Project at Shakespeare & Company
The previously announced 24 Hour Theatre Project on April 13-14.It will bring together playwrights, directors, designers, stage managers and actors from both the Berkshires and the Capital Region. Together they will be armed and creative, with the common task of mounting 5 new short works by women playwrights in 24 Hours. (Full Story Here)
Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Artistic Director says, “We look forward to collaborating with more local professional artists in the 24hr Project, to creating our first official devised theatre project at the WordxWord Festival and to ending our third season with the World Premiere of a play by a local playwright that will benefit a local women’s organization. We are so grateful for all the incredible support WAM has received since launching two years ago and are excited for the WAM Adventure to continue in 2012!”
Kristen van Ginhoven part of Stratford Festival’s 42nd Street
Additionally WAM announces that Artistic Director, Kristen van Ginhoven, has been selected for a spot in the Stratford Festival of Canada’s Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction. While at Stratford Kristen will assistant direct 42nd Street, directed by Gary Griffin.
“The WAM Theatre Board congratulates Kristen on this prestigious opportunity”, says Nick Webb, President of the Board. “We look forward to all she will bring to WAM from her time at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.”
For more information: www.WAMTheatre.com
More about WAM Theatre
Inspired by the book ‘Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’ by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM Theatre was founded in 2009 by professional theatre artists Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck. WAM’s philanthropic mission is two-fold; first, producing theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or the stories of women and girls; second, to donate a portion of proceeds from those events to organizations that benefit women and girls. WAM Theatre is based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Capital Region of New York State. www.WAMTheatre.com
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