WAM Theatre Enlists Community to Support Leadership Summit Scholarships

wam-bls-250x250web-1LENOX, MA [May 8, 2017] – The Berkshire Leadership Summit is still months away, but WAM Theatre and other organizers are already rallying the community around the summit’s theme of leadership and opportunity for women with a crowdfunding campaign.

In order to make it easier for women from across North America to attend the fall event, the Steering Committee has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds that will provide scholarships and travel stipends to help early- to mid-career theatre professionals of all backgrounds, gender identifications, and locations attend this inaugural summit.

Berkshire Leadership Summit GoFundMe link: https://www.gofundme.com/berkshire-leadership-summit

Berkshire Leadership Summit GoFundMe video: https://youtu.be/LjXyt-GhchM

The campaign’s goal is to raise $3,500 by May 27 in order to provide as many scholarships as possible before registration opens to the public on June 14. To date, two thirds of the total -or $2,336- has been raised by individuals from across the country. “This early and generous support shows the hunger and need for this type of event around women’s leadership,” said WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, a member of the Steering Committee. “We can’t wait to gather 75 women from all over the country to the Berkshires to continue the important conversation and action around women’s leadership in the non-profit theatre.”

Many GoFundMe campaign donors have included messages of what inspired them to contribute. “Thank you for driving such critical programs, conversations and meaningful initiatives for girls, women and the arts,” wrote donor Kristen Ferraro. Erin Milne had a more personal story to share with her donation. “Participating in theatre really enhanced my leadership skills and changed my life for the better,” she wrote. “Thank you for the work you are doing.”

With only about $1,100 left to raise in 20 days, Steering Committee members hope to create more momentum for the campaign and meet the goal early, which would provide extra time to meet a stretch fundraising goal.

The Berkshire Leadership Summit, hosted by WAM Theatre, is a professional development event for women aspiring to leadership positions in the non-profit theatre in both artistic and operational tracks. Scheduled to be held on October 28 and 29, 2017 at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, the event was inspired by the Women’s Leadership Conference held in August 2016 at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

Early support for the Berkshire Leadership Summit has been provided by Hannelore Voness, Joan and James Hunter, and Jack and Suzy Wadsworth. Arwen Lowbridge of Baystate Financial is a Corporate Sponsor. Anyone interested in supporting this summit is encouraged to contact Kristen van Ginhoven at kristen@wamtheatre.com.

The Berkshire Leadership Summit Steering Committee includes Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre; Akiba Abaka, Audience Development Manager at ArtsEmerson; Rachel Fink, Managing Director of Theatre Bay Area; and Shafer Mazow, who currently works at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and was a lead developer and organizer of the Women’s Leadership Project and convening.


Berkshire Leadership Summit

October 28-29, 2017

Elayne P. Bernstein Performing Arts Center, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Mass.

Scholarship applications released: June 1, 2017

$100 early bird registration: June 14-July 14, 2017

$175 general admission registration: July 15, 2017 until tickets last


GoFundMe Campaign



Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, 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 $32,500 to twelve 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. For more information, visit www.wamtheatre.com.


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