(LENOX, Mass.) – WAM’s Girls Ensemble will premiere their new work, “JUSTICE,” at WAM Theatre’s annual Midsummer Cocktail Party Benefit, hosted by author/speaker Ty Allan Jackson, at the Berkshire Equestrian Center in Richmond, Mass., on Wednesday, July 25, at 5:30pm.
The evening’s guests will be the first to learn about this year’s beneficiary for WAM’s fall Main Stage production of “ANN,” starring Jayne Atkinson, and will get an exclusive premiere performance of the 2018 cohort of Girls Ensemble’s devised play.
This year, twelve participants from five different towns and eight different schools are creating an original piece around the timely theme of JUSTICE. As the United States government approaches the confirmation hearing for a new Supreme Court Justice, these twelve local young people devise an original performance that questions the very idea of justice in their lives and our world.
“I’m so inspired by the bravery and creativity of the Girls Ensemble artists, most of whom met each other less than a week ago,” said WAM Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston. “They have shared moving and personal accounts of injustice that they have experienced in their own lives; they have taught each other dances and songs; and they have crafted some powerful stage moments. The performance that we will premiere at the WAM gala promises to be both dynamic and moving – not to be missed and exactly the balm we need in these troubled times.”
“Our show will be a creative performance that gets your attention and brings up issues that need to be talked about,” added Girls Ensemble member Tessa Hanson.
This midsummer night’s cocktail party features live music, entertainment, and food and drink, including cider doughnuts from Hilltop Orchards. Guests will be serenaded by Alexander Sovronsky whose score for the production of “The Cake” at Barrington Stage has been winning raves this summer. His evocative score for WAM’s 2017 production of “The Last Wife “was nominated for a Berkshire Theatre Critics Award for Outstanding Sound Design.
“This benefit, with its myriad of delights, is guaranteed fun for all. I can’t wait!” enthused Kristen van Ginhoven, cofounder and artistic director of WAM Theatre.
Berkshire favorite Ty Allan Jackson is the host for the evening. Jackson is a children’s book author, publisher, literacy advocate, and two-time TEDx speaker who travels across the country inspiring children of all ages to dream big and teaching the joy and power of reading through his own publications and his two literacy programs, Read or Else and the Danny Dollar Academy.
Jean-Remy Monnay, Kevin Craig West, and Erica Tryon, who will appear in WAM’s August 12 Fresh Takes Play Reading of “Pipeline” by Dominique Morisseau, will be in attendance, along with other actors and artists who have worked with the company, including Kim Stauffer, star of “Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends her Life Tonight” by Lauren Gunderson and the director of Kate Hennig’s “The Last Wife Kelly Galvin.”
The event includes a Silent Auction and Raise the Paddle auction, with all proceeds going to WAM events and education programming. Silent Auction items this year include a spa day at Canyon Ranch, a gift certificate to shop at Blue Q, dinner at Frankie’s Ristorante, tickets to see HIR at Shakespeare & Company this fall, and more.
The Berkshire Equestrian Center, just off of Route 41 on Perry Peak Road in Richmond, integrates lodging for humans and horses in one location.
Based in Berkshire County, WAM Theatre is Where Arts and Activism Meet. The company was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen van Ginhoven. WAM’s vision is to create opportunity for women and girls through the mission of theatre as philanthropy.
Inspired by the book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls.
Since 2010, WAM Theatre has donated more than $41,500 to thirteen nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 200 theatre artists. In addition to the main stage productions and special events, WAM Theatre’s activities include a comprehensive educational outreach program and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series.