$4,500 Split Between Three Non-Profit Beneficiaries
LENOX, MA (October 28, 2020) — Every year, WAM Theatre donates a portion of the box office proceeds from their Mainstage productions to organizations that work for gender equity locally, nationally, or internationally. The success of the first-ever digital production of ROE, directed by WAM’s Producing Artistic Director, Kristen van Ginhoven, enabled the company to present $1,500 each of thier 2020 beneficiaries, the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts (ARFWM), the Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP), and SisterSong. This brings WAM’s donation total since its founding in 2010 to more than $80,000.
“More than 1,800 people viewed ROE online, which is close to the number of audience members we get for a three week live run – an incredible success,” van Ginhoven enthused. “And people were watching from all over the world, so we were able to expand our programming reach and introduce a whole new audience to our work.”
“On behalf of the entire SisterSong team, I want to thank WAM Theatre for including us as a beneficiary for the ROE production! The donation will help us continue our fight for reproductive justice for women and girls all around the country! We are so honored to be a part of the WAM Theatre community,” said Aimee R. Thorne-Thomsen, former Sister Song Co-Chair, and member of their Board of Directors.
ROE was available for streaming online from October 17-20, 2020, and was sponsored in part by Maggie and Don Buchwald, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Brabson & Library Educational Foundation and Mass Humanities. More than 22 creative artists worked on this production, from the actors, designers and stage managers to OUTPOST productions, who edited the digital production, and T Square Design Studio, who designed the ROE Experience website.
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 van Ginhoven, Margaret Fluhr (WAM Board of Directors), Wendy Healey (WAM Board of Directors), Dori Parkman [WAM General Manager], and Lia Russell-Self (WAM Associate Artist).
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 program 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/
WAM’s next digital production, available online only November 19-22, 2020, will be THE THANKSGIVING PLAY. In this fast-paced satire by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation), good intentions collide with absurd assumptions, as a troupe of white, Liberal teaching artists scramble to devise a grade school theatre performance that somehow manages to celebrate Turkey Day, while also honoring Native American Heritage Month.
Rehearsals, under the direction of WAM’s Associate Artistic Director, Talya Kingston, have started and tickets are already selling briskly. As part of WAM’s ongoing anti-racism and reparations work and the company’s commitment to using art as activism, a donation to the Mohican tribe, on whose ancestral lands the company has their office, will be made.
Tickets for THE THANKSGIVING PLAY are on sale at: https://www.wamtheatre.com/buy-tickets-to-ttp/
For more information on THE THANKSGIVING PLAY visit: https://www.wamtheatre.com/showsandevents/the-thanksgiving-play/
For more information on all of 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
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 STREET YOUTH PROJECT (RSYP) The 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.
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, Lee 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 was 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 $80,000 to 22 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