Tickets are Now on Sale!
Two Women. Multiple Truths. One Landmark Supreme Court Case.
LENOX, MA (September 8, 2020) — Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and the WAM Theatre team today announced the three beneficiaries for the area premiere of ROE by Lisa Loomer. Tickets to this dynamic, digital production are now on sale.
Patrons can pay $15, $25, $50 or a higher ticket price of their choosing to be granted access not only to the digital production of ROE but also to all the blogs, interviews, talkbacks, and online extras available. The performance runs October 17-20, and tickets to the online-only event are now on sale on the WAm Theatre website: https://www.wamtheatre.com/
In keeping with WAM’s double philanthropic mission, a portion of the proceeds from ROE will be divided among these three non-profits: the Amherst-based Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts (ARFWM), Railroad Street Youth Project in Great Barrington, and SisterSong, headquartered in Atlanta, GA.
ARFWM is a community-based, all-volunteer organization dedicated to overcoming barriers to abortion health care. They promote access by providing financial and logistical support to pregnant people through compassionate caller-centered care that respects their dignity and human rights. WAM’s donation will help provide much needed assistance facilitating access to time-sensitive, essential care during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Railroad Street Youth Project empowers young people by supporting youth-inspired projects that promote responsibility, self-worth, and intergenerational communication.
The staff then expertly pairs these youth-generated ideas with community resources. WAM’s donation will help train new educators in the only evidence-based sexual health education in the area, serving 250 students in South County schools.
Launched in 1997 by 16 women-of-color-led organizations, SisterSong is the oldest and largest multi-ethnic Reproductive Justice organization, and the only one headquartered in the South. Their mission is to amplify and strengthen the collective voices of Indigenous women and women of color to ensure Reproductive Justice through securing human rights.
WAM’s donation will support their Birth Justice program in Georgia, a state with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. Through this program, SisterSong organizes Advanced Doula Trainings, advocates for Community Midwives and Birth Workers, and creates community and learning space with their Mama Talks.
For more information on the ROE beneficiaries visit: https://www.wamtheatre.com/engage/2020-roe-beneficiaries/
The 2020 beneficiaries were chosen after a thoughtful and rigorous selection process, including a request for proposals and site visits, overseen by a committee at WAM consisting of Kristen van Ginhoven (WAM Producing Artistic Director), Margaret Fluhr (WAM Board of Directors), Wendy Healey (WAM Board of Directors), Dori Parkman [WAM General Manager], and Lia Russell-Self (WAM Associate Artist).
Directed by van Ginhoven and supported with powerful theatrical design elements, ROE’s large ensemble cast will illuminate 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. WAM’s innovative, online performance will bring the dynamic history and how it relates to our current world into the comfort of your own home.
The cast is led by acclaimed actress and Berkshire resident Tara Franklin as Norma McCorvey, the woman who became “Jane Roe” in the landmark 1973 supreme court case, and Tracy Liz Miller, who has previously worked with WAM as a Fresh Takes reading director, as lawyer Sarah Weddington. Acclaimed actress Susanna Guzmán appears as Connie Gonzales, Norma’s longtime partner, and assistant director Catherine Dickerson will play Roxy. Berkshire favorites MaConnia Chesser and Ryan Winkles lead the ensemble, including Vivian Burnham, KD McTeigue, Daniel Rios, Jr., and Wendy Welch, each of whom appears as multiple characters.
For more information on the ROE cast visit: https://www.wamtheatre.com/showsandevents/roe/roe-cast/
Thanks to a grant from Mass Humanities, WAM is also working in collaboration with Scholar-In-Residence Dr. Laura Briggs, Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst, and dialogue experts Essential Partners to open up and deepen the conversation around reproductive justice during this election year.
For more information on Dr. Briggs, Essential Partners, and the ROE Creative Team visit: https://www.wamtheatre.com/showsandevents/roe/roe-creative-team/
For more information about WAM Theatre’s 2020 programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
AT A GLANCE
by Lisa Loomer
Online October 17-20, 2020
Vivian Burnham – Emily, Melissa
MaConnia Chesser – Aileen, Barbara, Waitress, Uma, Davina, Pregnant Woman #3, Christian Woman #1, Peggy, Television News Reporter
Catherine Dickerson – Roxy
Tara Franklin – Norma McCorvey
Susanna Guzmán – Connie, Ofelia
KD McTeigue – Linda Coffee, Judy, Rhonda, Holly Hunter, Eleanor Smeal, Mariah, Mary Gilmour, Pregnant Woman #1, Pregnant Woman #2, Pro-Life Woman
Tracy Liz Miller – Sarah Weddington
Daniel Rios, Jr. – Henry McCluskey, Jay Floyd, TV Newsman, Beau, Fred Gilmour, Abortion Doctor, Television News Reporter, Christian Man, Male TV Reporter, Pro-Life Man
Wendy Welch – Molly, Mary, Gloria Allred, Christian Woman #1, Christian Woman #2, Pro-Choice Woman #1, Pro-Choice Woman #2
Ryan Winkles – Doctor, Ron Weddington, Flowers, Fred Friendly, Michael Manheim, Justice Blackman, Flip Benham
Amy Altadonna – Sound Designer
Dr. Laura Briggs – Scholar-In-Residence
Deborah Brothers – Costume Designer
Catherine Dickerson – Assistant Director
Essential Partners – Dialogue Experts
Tatiana Godfrey – Assistant Dramaturg
Elisabeth Castellon Goncalves – Assistant Sound Designer
Juliana von Haubrich – Scenic Designer
Aja Jackson – Lighting Designer
Hope Rose Kelly – Stage Manager
Talya Kingston – Dramaturg
Ashley Lewis – Assistant Stage Manager
Trenda Loftin – BIPOC Staff and Advocate
Calypso Michelet – Assistant Costume Designer
Frida Swallow – Assistant Lighting Designer
Kristen van Ginhoven – Director
“Rousing entertainment … a big play with big ideas.” –Mail Tribune
“Cleverly illuminating” –The Washington Post
“Full of nuance and complexity” –NPR
“Shares 50 years of history in gripping style” –Mail Tribune
“A powerful and compassionate look at a controversial issue” –The Siskiyou Daily News
ROE is an historically sweeping play with a large ensemble cast that 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 explores the women behind the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, illuminating the heart and passion each side has for their cause, providing a reminder of where the debate began and how hard we have to work to communicate compassionately with people with whom we may disagree.
Playwright Lisa Loomer says, “I wanted people to feel, as they watched the play, that their point of view was represented, if nothing else because that helps people be more open and willing to hear another point of view.”
ROE was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 as part of its American Revolutions Cycle. It was developed at the University of Texas and The Kennedy Center (as part of DC’s Women’s Voices Festival) as well as at OSF’s Black Swan Lab before it played for 70 performances in Ashland, OR, and then had runs in Washington, DC (Arena Stage), Berkeley, CA (Berkeley Rep), and Sarasota, FL (Asolo Rep).
For ROE Tickets visit: https://www.wamtheatre.com/ or call 413.274.8122
ABOUT OUR BENEFICIARIES:
ABORTION RIGHTS FUND OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
The donation from WAM will help provide much needed assistance during COVID-19. COVID-19 has placed tremendous financial pressure on families across Massachusetts. People need our assistance now more than ever. We are facilitating access to time-sensitive, essential abortion health care to people in Massachusetts and beyond. At this critical time, we are making a point to pledge funds quickly and generously.
ARFWM promotes access to abortion health care by providing financial and logistical support to pregnant people through compassionate caller-centered care that respects their dignity and human rights.
The Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts is a community-based, all-volunteer organization dedicated to overcoming barriers to abortion health care.
RAILROAD STREETThe donation from WAM will help us to train new educators in evidence-based sexual health education, which serves 250 students in South County schools–the only program of its kind in the area.
Railroad Street Youth Project empowers young people by supporting youth-inspired projects that promote responsibility, self-worth and intergenerational communication.
At Railroad Street, youth take the lead. They explore their full potential and become equipped to meet the challenging transition to adulthood. Our professional staff expertly pairs youth-generated ideas with community resources, empowering youth to create and oversee a wide range of innovative, life-changing projects.
Unmatched in mission and scope, Railroad Street excels in helping youth find their voice and realize the benefits of their commitment to themselves and their community.
The donation from WAM will help us fight for Reproductive Justice (RJ)* by supporting our Birth Justice work in Georgia, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. Through our Birth Justice programming, we organize Advanced Doula Trainings, we advocate for Community Midwives and Birth Workers, and we create community and learning space with our Mama Talks.
SisterSong was launched in 1997 to create and support a national RJ movement. Our founders were 16 women-of-color-led organizations across the US, representing four racial/ethnic groups. We are the oldest and largest multi-ethnic Reproductive Justice organization, and the only one headquartered in the South – ground zero for the War on Women.
Our mission is to amplify and strengthen the collective voices of Indigenous women and women of color to ensure Reproductive Justice through securing human rights.
*What Is Reproductive Justice (RJ)?
Reproductive Justice was coined in 1994 by Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice, a group of Black women who recognized that the white-led women’s rights movement was not prioritizing issues critical to women of color, and that we must represent our own communities. They defined Reproductive Justice (RJ) as the right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, determine the number and spacing of our children, and parent our children in safe and sustainable communities. RJ encompass all aspects of social justice, for all impact the self-determination of family life. The RJ framework is based on the Declaration of Human Rights. It addresses how multiple oppressions intersect to deny RJ, and centers achieving full rights for the most marginalized people in order to make our society truly free.
Special thanks to the WAM Beneficiary Committee for their hard work: Margaret Fluhr, Wendy Healey, Dori Parkman, Lia Russell-Self, and Kristen van Ginhoven.
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, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, J.H. Maxymillian, Inc., Lake House Inn. Lee Bank, Massachusetts Cultural Council, 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 the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as well as grants from the 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, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Brabson & Library Educational Foundation and Mass Humanities.
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