(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – WAM Theatre’s third season will include the second 24hr Berkshires/Capital Region Theatre Project showcasing five new works by women playwrights with everything written, rehearsed and performed in 24 hours; a new piece of devised theatre entitled Women & Technology created and performed during the WordXWord Festival in August; and the world premiere of The Old Mezzo by Berkshire-based writer and playwright Susan Dworkin.
Additionally, WAM’s artistic director and cofounder Kristen van Ginhoven has been selected for a spot in the Stratford Festival of Canada’s Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction. While at Stratford, van Ginhoven will assist Gary Griffin directing 42nd Street.
After a successful 2011 season year that included the O Solo Mama Mia Festival, which benefited the training of a community midwife at Edna’s Hospital in Somaliland; the first 24hr Capital Region/Berkshires Theatre Project, which involved over 50 theatre artists; and The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls, which raised $1,750 for the Berkshire United Ways’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, WAM Theatre – founded in 2009 by professional theatre artists Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck – is gearing up for its third season.
The second 24hr Berkshires/Capital Region Theatre Project, co-produced with MOPCO, will take place on April 13-14 at Shakespeare & Company with a public performance taking place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 14. It will again involve over 50 professional theater artists from the Berkshires and the Capital Region of New York and will showcase five new works by women playwrights with everything written, rehearsed and performed in 24 hours.
In August, WAM will create a new piece of devised theatre entitled Women & Technology during the WordXWord Festival in Pittsfield. WAM will spend five days as artists in residence, opening up the devising process to the public and presenting a public performance of the material created during the festival. The piece will center around the impact of technology on young women’s lives and will include interviews with community members as springboard material. The project will be directed by WAM cofounder Leigh Strimbeck and marks WAM’s official launch of devising original works of ensemble theater that center around issues of importance in the lives of women.
Jim Benson, founder of WordXWord and WAM Theatre board member says, “Part of WordXWord’s mission is presenting new works, and new performers. WAM’s new project Women and Technology is a perfect example of that. This piece will be current in real time, and will have a lot to say about where we are, and will question a lot of our assumptions about what role technology and staying current with technology is doing to us.”
In the fall of 2012 WAM will present the world premiere of The Old Mezzo by Susan Dworkin. The play concerns the political awakening of a great opera singer who must risk her fame and success to preserve the freedom that is so essential to the arts. The beneficiary for this production will be a Berkshire based women’s organization. Dworkin is best known for her books The Viking in the Wheat Field and The Nazi Officer’s Wife as well as her play All Day Suckers.
Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s artistic director says, “We look forward to collaborating with more local professional artists in the 24hr Project, to creating our first official devised theater project at the WordxWord Festival and to ending our third season with the world premiere of a play by a local playwright that will benefit a local women’s organization. We are so grateful for all the incredible support WAM has received since launching two years ago and are excited for the WAM adventure to continue in 2012.”
Inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM Theatre was founded in 2009 by professional theater artists Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck. WAM’s philanthropic mission is twofold; first, producing theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theater artists and/or the stories of women and girls; second, to donate a portion of proceeds from those events to organizations that benefit women and girls. WAM Theatre is based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Capital Region of New York State.