LENOX, MA (February 11, 2020) — WAM Theatre is pleased to announce the appointment of two new board members. Erica Barreto and Toni Buckley join Board President Wendy Healey, Vice President Arwen Lowbridge, Carolyn Butler, Margaret Fluhr, Ellen Ring, Diane Scott, and WAM Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, as the Berkshire-based company starts its second decade.
“We are excited to welcome these two passionate new advocates to our board,” van Ginhoven said. “We look forward to continuing to strategically expand our board as we build deeper relationships with people across a range of perspectives who are interested in helping WAM’s work of creating brave spaces of civic dialogue through an intersectional feminist lens.
Board President Wendy Healey added, “We are tremendously proud of the two new board members we are adding this year. They each bring different expertise to the table, but also share a passion for the art WAM creates, and the organizations we support with a portion of our box office proceeds. As we start our second decade, we are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported our growth, and to old and new friends who will join the WAMily and help us continue our work.”
Erica Barreto is an alumna of the Creative Community Fellows Program (2019) through National Arts Strategies (NAS), an advisor to the Multicultural Alliance program at Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART) Charter Public School, and the Coordinator of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). As a multicultural educator, arts administrator, and experiential workshop facilitator, she is a creative rulebreaker and community changemaker interested in promoting the arts and humanities as equity-centered strategies for systems change.
“The staff and artists at WAM are committed to using theatre to exhume people’s stories—to give voice to those histories that have been systematically silenced,” Barreto said. “As the youngest member on the WAM Board of Directors, I am grateful to have a seat at the table and proud to support an organization that does not hesitate to demonstrate, with responsibility and transparency, a critical understanding of how the arts can and will be leveraged in service to all humanity.”
Toni Buckley, a Syrian raised in the Rhineland of Germany, is grateful to have found home, happiness, and community in the Berkshires. She holds a MA in Communication Design and is nearing completion of her Master’s in Management of Nonprofits and Cultural Organizations. She currently works as Director of Alumni Relations at Berkshire Community College (BCC), sharing the powerful stories of BCC alumni and how accessible education has changed and bettered their lives. Among her many volunteer interests, Buckley co-founded the Hoping Machine at the Guthrie Center, a group of activists and songwriters working to foster social justice through the power of music and storytelling; is a member of the MASS MoCA Community Advisory Network; represents the immigrant community on the Impact Council of Berkshire Leadership; and is a member of Pittsfield Moves by Jacob’s Pillow.
“WAM combines two of my deepest passions: activism and art,” Buckley explained. “While social justice and equity are essential functions of the arts, the way WAM embraces its mission and turns it into action is unique – not just here in the Berkshires but around the globe.”
WAM’s 2020 Season
In this election year, WAM’s 2020 season will center on the area premiere of Lisa Loomer’s celebrated play ROE in September/October. This large ensemble production, directed by WAM’s Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Kristen van Ginhoven, illuminates the history of one of the most polarizing social issues of the modern era: the Roe v. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion. ROE provides a reminder of the human stories behind the debates and how hard we have to work to compassionately communicate with people with whom we may disagree.
In June, WAM’s Ensembles will present THE SUFFRAGE PROJECT in celebration of the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment which allowed women full rights to vote, as well as in acknowledgement of its complicated history and the battles of citizenship still to be won. It will be performed in four different venues throughout Berkshire County in early June.
The season concludes in November with three Fresh Takes staged readings of THE THANKSGIVING PLAY by Larissa FastHorse, directed by WAM’s Associate Artistic Director, Talya Kingston, a scathingly funny satire where we witness a group of “woke” white teaching artists scrambling to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month.
For more information about WAM Theatre and the 2020 season, visit:
WAM 2020 Sponsors
WAM’s 2020 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Hand to Shoulder Center, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Blue Q, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Chez Nous, Custom Business Solutions, The Dylandale Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, J.H. Maxymillian, Inc., Lake House Inn. Lee Bank, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Only in My Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, RB Design Co., The Rookwood Inn, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, and a. von schlegell & co.
WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from Alford-Egremont Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, and the Sandisfield Cultural Council – local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
ROE is sponsored in part by Maggie and Don Buchwald
WAM’s 2020 Season of Events is sponsored in part by Carolyn Butler
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 $75,000 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 400 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