Connecting our pasts and present to our collective future
LENOX, MA (February 16, 2021) — Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and the WAM team today announced a 2021 season that focuses on exploring our roots, our ancestors and our legacy in order to move forward towards a rebirth, a re-emerging, into a future with room for everyone. The season includes Letters To Kamala by Rachel Lynett, The Light by Loy A. Webb, and Kamloopa by Kim Senklip Harvey. Tickets to the first two plays of WAM’s 2021 Season are on sale now!
“We are thrilled to be working with such incredible theatre artists in our 12th season and can’t wait for our WAMily to enjoy their work,“ shared Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM Producing Artistic Director. “In line with our recently released accountability plan, the plays WAM will present this season deliberately shift our gaze away from white-centric stories and modes of storytelling and invite us all into conversation about a new future.”
The season begins with two online Fresh Takes Play Readings, starting with Letters to Kamala by Rachel Lynett, directed by Nicole Brewer, which will be available to stream Sunday, March 14, to Sunday, March 21. In the tense lead up to the 2020 presidential election, playwright Rachel Lynett conjures three female American political leaders of the past to share their wisdom, perspective, and wry humor with VP candidate Kamala Harris.
Missing from our history books, meet three powerful women on whose shoulders Kamala now stands: Charlotta Bass, the first Black woman candidate for vice president, Charlene Mitchell, the first Black woman to run for president, and Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to be elected to the House of Representatives, first Asian-American woman to run in Congress and the first Asian-American to run for president.
Playwright Rachel Lynett explained that following Kamala Harris’s nomination for Vice President: “I wanted to write a play that explored pride mixed in with caution, a play that questioned our cultural obsession with firsts but also made room for understanding the weight that being “first” carries. Who were the other firsts? What sacrifices did they have to make to get there and what can we ultimately never compromise on?”
The next Online Fresh Takes Play Reading of The Light by Loy A. Webb, directed by Colette Robert, will be available for streaming April 25-May 2. A surprise proposal gift puts the future of Genesis and Rashad’s relationship at risk when they are forced to confront a devastating secret from the past. The Light is a 70-minute, real-time rollercoaster ride of laughter, romance, and despair that uncovers how the power of radical love can be a healing beacon of light.
The Light was playwright Loy A Webb’s first play. After it’s successful off-Broadway run she reported that: “I had people telling me how much the show inspired them. I have college students asking me to send them monologues. I write to point toward hope. I want my work to be a neon sign in the darkness: This way out. This way to hope.”
“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to direct a reading of Loy A. Webb’s incredible play,” added Director Colette Robert. “The Light is a powerful, provocative, and beautifully nuanced story about love and truth.”
Tickets for Letter to Kamala and The Light are on sale now. Audiences can book a ticket to the virtual readings and view anytime during the week. WAM aims to make both readings as accessible as possible, while maintaining our commitment to providing artists opportunities that are equitable. Therefore, we invite patrons to pick their own ticket price, ranging from $15-$50. For more information or to reserve your tickets today, visit WAM online at wamtheatre.com or call 413.274.8122.
WAM is also excited to announce that the fall Mainstage production will be the United States Premiere of Kamloopa by Kim Senklip Harvey (Kim is Syilx, and Tsilhqot’in with Ancestral ties to the Dakelh, Secwepemc and Ktunaxa communities), directed by Estefanía Fadul (WAM’s Native Gardens, The Oregon Trail).
Come along for the ride to Kamloopa, the largest powwow on the West Coast. This high energy story follows two urban Indigenous sisters and their encounter with a spirited shapeshifter. Together, they battle to come to terms with what it means to honor who they are and where they come from. But how do you discover yourself when Columbus already did? Bear witness to the courage of these women in the ultimate transformation story, as they turn to the ancestors for help to reclaim their power.
Playwright Kim Senklip Harvey, who will act as a consultant on this US premiere production states that: “I created Kamloopa to ignite the power that lives within Indigenous femmes and peoples. This transformation story is an offer for all of us to be bold and passionate about having the courage to fully become ourselves.”
Director Estefanía Fadul agrees stating that: “I am grateful to call WAM one of my artistic homes and am excited to return to direct Kim’s beautifully visceral play. From the moment I read it, the journey of the three women at the heart of the story as they struggle to define their identities within a diaspora resonated deeply with me. It’s a story of sisters, of coming into one’s own power and finding one’s place within a larger community. It is told with so much joy, heart, and imagination, and I cannot wait to share it with audiences.”
Kamloopa artists, dates, and location will be announced later this summer.
For tickets and more information about the 2021 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
WAM THEATRE 2021 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
LETTERS TO KAMALA
An Online Fresh Takes Play Reading
by Rachel Lynett
Directed by Nicole Brewer
Available for streaming Sunday, March 14-Sunday, 21, 2021
Tickets $15, $25, and $50
An Online Fresh Takes Play Reading
by Loy A. Webb
Directed by Colette Robert
Available for streaming Sunday, April 25-Sunday, May 1, 2021
Tickets $15, $25, and $50
Fall Mainstage Production
United States Premiere
by Kim Senklip Harvey
Directed by Estefanía Fadul
For more information about the 2021 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
Nicole Brewer (she/her) is an antiracist cultural worker who uses theater to strengthen connections across differences to foster healing, joy and liberation. WAM Theatre: debut. Selected Theatre Credits: Milk Like Sugar (St. Louis Black Rep), Ties that Bind (Catholic University) Creative inspiration: The complex-constant-chaotic-convex-concave-Consciousness that makes a life Community Engagement/Activist work: Facilitator of Anti-Racist Theatre trainings, Membership/Affiliations: artEquity Facilitator Alum, Freelance Artist Resource Producing Collective Awards/proudest achievements: I’m most proud of being a caregiver to some extraordinary children. Final word: What comes next is up to us…I’m encouraged that this time we may get it right. Connect: nicolembrewer.com IG: @antiracisttheatre FB: Conscientious Theatre Training
Rachel Lynett (she/they) is a queer Afro-Latinx playwright. In 2020, Lynett received commissions from Florida Studio Theatre (As You Are), American Stage Company (Letters to Kamala) and LatinX Playwrights’ Circle (Echo Me). Their plays have been featured at Magic Theatre, Mirrorbox Theatre, Laboratory Theatre of Florida, Barrington Stage Company, Theatre Lab, Theatre Prometheus, Florida Studio Theatre, Laughing Pig Theatre Company, Capital Repertory Theatre, Teatro Espejo, the Kennedy Center Page to Stage festival, Theatresquared, Equity Library Theatre, Chicago, Talk Back Theatre, American Stage Theatre Company, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. In 2017, their play Well-Intentioned White People was honorable mention for The Kilroy’s and in 2020, Last Night and HE DID IT made the 2020 Kilroy’s List. Rachel Lynett is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at Alfred University, the Artistic Director of Rachel Lynett Theatre Company, and the Executive Director for Page by Page.
Colette Robert (she/her) is a director and playwright from Los Angeles and New York with a passion for stories about time, history, identity, joy, and hope. WAM Theatre: Debut Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: STEW (Page 73), Native Son (PlayMakers Rep), Behind the Sheet (Ensemble Studio Theatre), On the Exhale, Mary’s Wedding, The Mountaintop (Chester Theatre Company). Upcoming: Co-Artistic Director of the 38th Marathon of One-Act Plays at Ensemble Studio Theatre. Creative inspiration: Strong Visuals, Heart, Sincerity. Membership/Affiliations: SDC, Ensemble Studio Theatre Artist Member, New Georges Affiliated Artist, Lincoln Center Directors Lab Alum, Adjunct Lecturer at NYU. Community Engagement/Activist work: Frequent volunteer with The 52nd Street Project and Reading Partners. Selected training: MA, RADA/King’s College London. BA, Yale University. Awards/proudest achievements: As a playwright, her play The Harriet Holland Social Club presents the 84th Annual Star-Burst Cotillion in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel received a grant from New York City’s Women’s Film, TV, and Theatre Fund for a production in 2021 (co-produced by New Georges and The Movement Theatre Company). Connect: coletterobert.com
Estefanía Fadul (she/her) is a Colombian-born, New Hampshire-raised, NYC-based theatre director primarily of new work. WAM Theatre: director of Kamloopa, previously directed Fresh Takes readings of Native Gardens and The Oregon Trail Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Azul (Southern Rep), Scissoring (INTAR), The Same Day (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), Pranayama (Juilliard), Agent 355 (Chautauqua) Selected Assistant Directing credits: ToasT (Public Theater), The Clean House (Williamstown), Iphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company) Selected developmental work: Maybe You Should Just (Public Theater), Let Night Fall on the Côte d’Azur (Long Wharf), Derecho (Latinx Playwrights Circle), Lyons Pride (Playwrights Realm). Film/TV: shadow to the director on CBS’ Doubt Membership/Affiliations: Center for Performance and Civic Practice, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Drama League Directors Council, New Georges Jam, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Alumna of: Drama League Directors Project Fall and TV Fellowships, O’Neill National Directors Fellowship, Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, Foeller Fellowship at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, Civilians’ R&D Group, NALAC Leadership Institute. Training: Vassar College (BA) Awards/proudest achievements: Awards: New York Stage and Film Pfaelzer Award. One of my proudest achievements is creating Carla’s Quince, an immersive virtual theatre experience to mobilize the Latinx vote in the last election. Connect: www.estefaniafadul.com
Kim Senklip Harvey (she/her) is Syilx, and Tsilhqot’in with Ancestral ties to the Dakelh, Secwepemc and Ktunaxa communities She is a Indigenous Theorist, Cultural Evolutionist and storyteller whose work focuses on the ignition of Indigenous power and innovating methodological processes with artistic sovereignty to create joy centered narratives that nourish the spirits of peoples oppressed by the imperial state. Kim creates artistic ceremonies to protect and evolve Indigenous cultures and believes that stories are the most powerful tool we have to provide every organism the opportunity to live peacefully. Kim is currently working on a tv adaptation of her award-winning play Kamloopa, she is completing her first book entitled Interiors: Love Stories from a Salish Plateau Dirtbag and is in the creation of her next artistic ceremony Break Horizons: A Rocking Indigenous Justice Ceremony. She is in her final year of her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Victoria and all of her work is with respect to her Ancestors and for the future generations, whom we owe so much. Connect: www.kimsenklipharvey.com
Loy A. Webb is a Chicago born playwright, tv writer and attorney. Her plays include The Light (MCC Theater 2018/2019, Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play; The New Colony, 2017/2018, Joseph Jefferson Award), and His Shadow (16th Street Theater 2019/2020, Joseph Jefferson Award). She was an inaugural Tutterow Fellow at Chicago Dramatists. Loy holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a J.D. from The John Marshall Law School. TV writing credits include AMC’s NOS4A2 and BET’s Ms. Pat.
WAM Current Sponsors
WAM’s current sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Blue Q, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Chez Nous, The Dylandale Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, Lake House Inn, Lee Bank, Only in my Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, Prix Fixe, RB Design Co., The Rookwood Inn, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, and a. von schlegell & co.
WAM Theatre’s 2021 Season is also supported in part by grants from The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Mass Humanities.
ABOUT WAM THEATRE
WAM Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Berkshire County, MA, that operates at the intersection of arts and activism. WAM creates theatre for gender equity and has a vision of theatre as philanthropy.
In fulfillment of its philanthropic mission, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from their Mainstage productions to carefully selected beneficiaries. Since WAM’s founding in 2010, they have donated more than $80,000 to 19 local and global organizations taking action for gender equity in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training, and more.
In addition to Mainstage productions and special events, WAM’s activities include innovative community engagement programs and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. To date, WAM has provided paid work to more than 500 theatre artists, the majority of whom are female-identifying.
As a civic organization that embraces intersectional feminism (feminism that acknowledges how multiple forms of discrimination overlap), WAM understands that to address one piece of systemic discrimination means we have to address them all. This is on-going personal and professional work at WAM for the staff and board.
WAM Theatre has been widely recognized for having a positive impact on cultural and community development in the region. WAM is the recipient of the Creative Economy Standout Berkshire Trendsetter Award and previously, was named Outstanding Philanthropy Corporation of the Year by the Western MA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Producing Artistic Director, was honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented at the discretion of the BTCA Board to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County.
For more information, visit www.WAMTheatre.com