The Teen Ensemble is a performance group for young people aged 13-18. The criteria for participation is enthusiasm and the creative impulse to voice your feelings and ideas through multiple forms of artistic expression. The ensemble creates an original performance using devised theatre methods. Devised theatre is a collaborative process where an ensemble uses a variety of techniques—writing, improvisation, games, movement, brainstorming, and more—to create original performance material. The Teen Ensemble performs with full production values for a public audience.
If you are interested in being part of WAM’s Teen Ensemble in 2021, please contact our Associate Artistic Director, Talya Kingston: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will never forget the people and the amazing conversations. Sharing my thoughts and music with other awesome humans, and learning that I actually CAN sing out loud. – Kris Rock, 2018 Teen Ensemble member
In July 2019, WAM’s Teen Ensemble joined forces with WAM’s new Elder Ensemble to create an original devised performance titled Fractured Dreams. This performance covered themes from individual ambitions to nightmares to the American Dream. It played to sold out houses at: the Foundry in West Stockbridge, the Stationery Factory in Dalton, Dewey Memorial Hall in Sheffield and The Mount in Lenox.
In January and February 2019, WAM’s Ensemble Program was in residence at the following schools: Reid Middle School, Pittsfield High School, Richmond Consolidated School, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School. Each ensemble devises 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. A total of 46 students participated in these ensembles. This project culminated in a shared performance at Reid on February 1st.
In 2018, twelve ensemble members spent an intensive two weeks in July creating Seeking Justice, a performance that asked timely questions about injustice and the places we look to find Justice. The ensemble members were paid a stipend and performed to sold out audiences at Lenox Town Hall and the 2018 WAM Gala, where they received a standing ovation. Read more about the creation of Seeking Justice in this Berkshire Eagle article by Jenn Smith.
The 2017 Girls Ensemble program presented a public performance of their original theatre piece, titled What’s That Sound?, at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox and Spectrum Playhouse in Lee. The show centered on a group waiting to board a bus to go to a protest. They explored identity, race, gender, fear, age, history, and protest. The 2017 ensemble went on to perform the piece for their peers at Richmond Consolidated School, Hoosac Valley School and Miss Hall’s School, before traveling together to Atlanta to participate in an ISTA festival.
The inaugural cohort in 2015 created a performance called Miss Labelled that explored the way girls are labelled and dismissed. They performed at Shakespeare and Company before embarking on a school tour to Lenox Memorial High School, Richmond Consolidated School and Hoosac Valley High School, and ending with a public performance at the Spectrum Theatre in Lee.
Funding for the Teen Ensemble program has been provided by grants from Berkshire Bank, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Brabson Library and Educational Fund, the Charles H. Hall Foundation, Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, the Dylandale Foundation, the Feigenbaum Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, various corporate supporters and local cultural councils.
Additionally, this is an ISTA (International Schools Theatre Association) endorsed project. Based in the United Kingdom, ISTA brings together young people, artists and teachers from different countries in different settings to experience, create and learn about theatre. ISTA produces over 50 international arts events each year. WAM Theatre is one of two projects ISTA endorses as part of their ISTA Connect program. The other program is in Kolkata, India. In 2017 WAM Ensemble members participated in an ISTA festival in Atlanta. www.ISTA.co.uk