WAM Theatre Announces Appointment of Four New Board Members

LENOX, MA (January 28, 2019) — WAM Theatre is pleased to announce the appointment of four new board members. Carolyn Butler, Margaret Fluhr, Ellen Ring, and Diane Scott join newly elected Board President Wendy Healey, Vice President Arwen Lowbridge, Secretary Lynn Festa, and WAM Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, to lead the Berkshire-based company into its second decade.

“As we head into our second decade we have immense gratitude as we reflect on the service of all our past board members. All of them, especially our three past board presidents, Tammy Valicenti, Ashley Berridge, and Nicholas Webb, have been instrumental in the impact and success of WAM in our first decade,” shared Kristen van Ginhoven. “We thank all of our past board members for their service and are excited to start our second decade with these four new passionate advocates joining our board. We look forward to continuing to strategically expand our board as we build deeper relationships with people from across a range of perspectives who are interested in helping WAM create opportunity for women and girls through our unique mission of theatre as philanthropy.”

New Board President Wendy Healey added: “We are tremendously proud of the four new board members we are adding this year.  They each bring different expertise to the table, but share a passion for the art WAM creates, and the organizations we support with a portion of our box office proceeds. As we start our tenth anniversary season, we are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported our growth, and to old and new friends who will join the WAMily and help us continue our work.”

Fluhr has more than 37 years of experience as a clinical social worker working to stop child abuse and neglect. She has always been an active supporter of the arts, including theater, classical music, and dance, and she frequently attends performances in Manhattan and in the Berkshires.

“As someone who has long been committed to advancing the position of women and girls, in both my personal and my professional life, I am thrilled to be a part of such an outstanding creative arts organization,” said Fluhr. “WAM provides women and girls with experiences that help them to grow and develop confidence in themselves as artists and as people. Furthermore, it helps to support worthy non-profit organizations that provide a variety of services to women and girls in the entire Berkshire community and beyond. I cannot  think of a better combination. “

Butler brings more than 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector as a fundraiser, board member, and volunteer in the areas of arts, culture, and social services.

“WAM has the unique mission of producing theatre that shines the light on the stories of women, then taking a percentage of the proceeds from this amazing work to support women and girls in our local and world community. This is a guide to how we can all help to make change in the world,” Butler opined. “The staff and the artists that make WAM possible are an inspiration to me, and I feel lucky and honored to be part of this wonderful organization.”

Scott is an Associate Professor in Arts Management and Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. She specializes in creative and fine arts entrepreneurship, management, and organizational behavior.

“Initially, I wanted to join the WAM Board because I was so impressed with the quality of their artistic work,” Scott explained. “Now I’m excited about both the quality of their work with and in the community to benefit women and girls.”

Ring has spent the last 30 years in various areas of retail. In 2005 she started her own retail jewelry business, Ellen L Ring Ltd, specializing in buying and selling fine second-hand jewelry, which she runs online and across the country selling at antiques shows.

“I had just finished reading Half the Sky in 2012 when I met Kristen and discovered WAM. It was kismet!,” Ring exclaimed. “Immediately, I wanted to be as involved as possible with this organization which spoke to my soul and with this powerhouse of a woman at the helm; smart, capable, engaging, and warm. Spreading the word about WAM and its philanthropic mission became a yearly goal and now to be a part of this outstanding team excites me.  I am proud and honored to be an integral part of WAM’s continued success and growth.”

WAM recently announced its tenth anniversary season including two Mainstage productions – the world premiere of Lady Randy by Anne Undeland running April 18-May 5, and Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau running October 25-November 10, presented in partnership with Multicultural BRIDGE. Two Fresh Takes Play Readings will correlate directly to the Mainstage productions; and an expanded Education program will include a new Elder Ensemble for women 65 and older, along with the successful, established Teen Ensemble, both of which will debut their original devised theatre pieces at the WAM Gala in July.

For more information about WAM Theatre and the 2019 season, visit: https://www.wamtheatre.com/2019-season/

FULL BIOGRAPHIES OF WAM BOARD MEMBERS

CAROLYN BUTLER (Board Member)

Carolyn Butler has been involved in the not-for-profit world for over twenty years as a fundraiser, board member and volunteer in the areas of arts, culture and social services. Previously Ms. Butler served on the board of the New England Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and as Vice–President of the board of trustees for the Lenox Library. She previously worked in finance, public relations and event planning in Boston and moved back to the Berkshires in 2000 where she worked in fundraising and event planning. She currently chairs the Lenox Environmental Committee and volunteers her time organizing events for various Berkshire not-for-profits including being on the WAM Theatre’s Development Committee. One of her major projects over the last few years was the design and construction of her passive solar house, which is net zero. She has a BA in Sociology from Wheaton College and graduate level study in psychology from the Harvard Extension School as well as a certificate in positive psychology and life coaching. She is excited to be working with WAM Theatre and its unique mission of theatre as philanthropy. It brings together two worlds that she feels passionately about and she looks forward to helping further the impact that WAM Theatre makes on the world.

LYNN FESTA (Secretary of the Board)

Lynn Festa OTR, CHT, CDWF has been a certified hand therapist since 1995, and has been a clinician in a variety of settings for over 30 years. She combines her work as an OT/CHT with providing training to other health care providers in promoting wellness and limiting burnout. Lynn has given national and international presentations and webinars on this topic. Lynn runs workshops with an emphasis on empathy and compassion, using evidence-based studies and strategies. She attained her certificate in positive psychology from the Wholebeing Institute and is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator through The Daring Way ™. She has also completed life-coach training through the Martha Beck Institute. She is a Clinical Consultant at Berkshire Hand to Shoulder Center, and is the owner of Health Professional Coaching, LLC. She resides in Lenox with her husband. With her free time, she loves the outdoors, open water swimming, singing, and learning to play the piano. She is a board member of the Berkshire Music School. Lynn is grateful for the years of theatre experience as a teenager and college student and is thrilled to be a part of WAM’s mission to promote the many benefits theatre provides to girls of all ages. 

WENDY HEALEY (President of the Board)

Wendy Healey has been in the banking and financial technology business for over 20 years.  She has worked for Lee Bank since December of 2015. She has been active with local chambers of commerce her entire career, and has served on the board of three of them as well as serving as the President of the Avon Chamber of Commerce. Wendy has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut where she majored in English Literature, as well as a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. She grew up as an Army brat and a musician. She played both the piano and the oboe in high school, and still likes to practice her piano music. Wendy lives in an 1832 home on an old dairy farm in Colebrook, CT with her partner Scott and their 3 rescue dogs.  She loves spending time around the house, doing projects both inside and out. Wendy enjoys history and family genealogy. She is looking forward to serving on the board of WAM because it aligns well with her appreciation of the arts and interest in supporting girls and women.

ARWEN LOWBRIDGE (Vice President of the Board)

Arwen has been involved in the performing arts since age five, when she started studying dance. She had a twenty career in the non-profit arts world that began with live performance and spanned to include theatrical production, arts administration, non-profit management, fundraising, grant writing, teaching, and mentoring young artists. She earned her BFA in Acting with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a Certificate in Fundraising & Development from Rollins College’s Crummer School of Business. In 2015 she changed directions professionally to pursue her second passion: financial planning. Her practice focuses on serving women, artists and the LGBTQ community with the goal of helping people make important decisions with confidence. She is a Financial Advisor with Baystate Financial and is pursuing her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. In addition to WAM Theatre, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Brooklyn-based play company, The Debate Society. She lives in the Berkshires with her husband.  

MARGARET FLUHR (Board Member)

Margaret Fluhr, LCSW,ACSW, has over 37 years of experience as a clinical social worker. She began as a preschool teacher, but changed fields after repeatedly working with children who were troubled, but helpless to change the traumatic circumstances in their homes. She was the director of a program to stop child abuse and neglect and also spent many years in private practice helping people to deal with serious emotional issues. As the director of the program, she has had experience in writing grant proposals and developing new programs, in supervising graduate students and clinicians, and in coordinating graduate student training and development. She has also served on several other boards including the Dean’s advisory Council of the NYU School of Social Work, the Women’s Psychotherapy Network, and the Board of her Coop in New York City. She has always been an active supporter of the arts, including theater, classical music and dance and frequently attends performances in Manhattan and in the Berkshires.

ELLEN RING (Board Member)

With a BA in Art History and a Master’s in International Business, Ellen Ring has spent the last 30 years in various arenas within retail.  After 10 years at Tiffany & Co in New York City, she relocated to The Berkshires where she was employed by McTeigue & McClelland Jewelers for 5 years and then, in 2005, started her own retail jewelry business, Ellen L Ring Ltd, specializing in buying and selling fine second hand jewelry. Since that time she has been running her business on line and traveling the country selling at  antiques shows. She most recently served on the Board of the Berkshire County Art and Antiques Dealers Association for 5 years. Theatre has been a passion of Ellen’s since grammar school where she appeared in her first musical, The Pirates of Penzance and first play Tom Sawyer. She continued acting through high school and college in musicals, dramas and one act play competitions. Other passions include  supporting organizations that stand up for women and children; diversity and inclusion for those who are alienated and and animal welfare. She wants to help heal the word and to make those silent voices heard. “What better organization than WAM, with its philanthropic mission, its WAMily members, wonderful volunteers and team and board of directors, with which to align myself.”

DIANE SCOTT (Board Member)

Diane Scott is an Associate Professor in Arts Management and Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts. Before joining the MCLA faculty, Diane created nationally recognized programming that helps artists with the business end of their fine arts careers as the principal designer and program director for Artist INC programs in Kansas City, Missouri.  Prior to this Diane was a member of the management faculty at Wichita State University for more than 11 years. Diane is the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the 2006 Barton School of Business Undergraduate Teacher of the Year, the 2008 WSU Academy for Effective Teaching award, and the 2017 MCLA Faculty Association Junior Faculty Award. Diane specializes in creative and fine arts entrepreneurship, management and organizational behavior and has taught thousands of current and future business people and fine artists of all disciplines in traditional classrooms and professional development settings how to improve their strategic planning, marketing, project planning, teamwork, leadership, coaching and communication skills. Diane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a Master of Business Administration from WSU.

KRISTEN VAN GINHOVEN (Co-Founder and Artistic Director)

Kristen van Ginhoven is the Artistic Director of WAM Theatre, which she co-founded in 2010. Kristen is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and Canadian Actor’s Equity Association, and is a theatre artist for the International Schools Theatre Association. She was a member of the 2013 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and is a member of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at the Stratford Festival of Canada. Kristen’s directing credits at WAM Theatre include ANN (co-production with Dorset Theatre Festival), In Darfur (New England Premiere), Emilie (New England Premiere), The Bakelite Masterpiece (co-production with Berkshire Theatre Group), The Old Mezzo (World Premiere), The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls and Melancholy Play. Elsewhere, Kristen’s selected directing credits include Disgraced, I and You (Chester Theatre), Waxworks (Williams College), The Whale (Adirondack Theatre Festival), 10 Minute Play Festival (Barrington Stage Company), Petticoats of Steel (Capital Repertory Theatre), Footloose (Cohoes Music Hall), Children’s Hour (Siena College), Vendetta Chrome (Emerson College). She has a BA from Dalhousie University, BEd from Queen’s University and an MA from Emerson College, where she received the Presidential Fellowship.

WAM Tenth Anniversary Sponsors

Our 2019 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Custom Business Solutions, The Dylandale Foundation, Frankie’s Ristorante Italiano, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Interprint, J.H. Maxymillian, Inc., Lee Bank, Maggie Barry, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Only in My Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, RB Design Co., The Rogovoy Report, The Rookwood Inn, Salisbury Bank, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, a. von schlegell & co.

WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from the Alford-Egremont Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Cultural Council of Northern Berkshires, Hinsdale-Peru Cultural Council, Otis Cultural Council, Richmond Cultural Council, Sheffield Cultural Council, West Stockbridge Cultural Council– local agencies that are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

LADY RANDY is sponsored in part by an anonymous donor and PIPELINE is sponsored in part by Carolyn Butler.

ABOUT WAM THEATRE

Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre is celebrating its 10th anniversary of being a place 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 provided paid work to more than 200 theatre artists and donated more than $56,500 to fifteen local and global organizations taking action for women and girls in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training and more. 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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