WAM Announces Expansion of Theatre Leadership

New Hires Join Award-Winning Theatre

WAM Theatre Leadership Team at the opening of “Lady Randy.” L to R: Lia Russell-Self, Talya Kingston, Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe, Dori Parkman, Kristen Perlman, and Kristen van Ginhoven.

LENOX, MA [April 30, 2019] — WAM Theatre announces the addition of two new members to the WAM Leadership Team as a long-time Team member, Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe, moves on.

Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe. Photo by Carolyn Brown.

“All of us at WAM will miss Gwen dearly. Her contributions to WAM in her four years with us have been immense and she is adored by our WAMily,” Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven explained. “We wish her well on her new life chapter and are excited to have hired long-time WAM artist Lia Russell-Self as our new Associate Producing Director and newcomer to WAM, Kristen Perlman, as our new Philanthropy Manager. We look forward to following Gwendolyn’s new adventures and to welcoming Lia and Kristen to our team.”

Together with van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and General Manager Dori Parkman, Russell-Self and Perlman will comprise the leadership team at WAM Theatre.

“I feel deeply privileged to have spent four seasons working at WAM under the brilliant mentorship of Kristen van Ginhoven,” Tunnicliffe said. “WAM has surrounded me with love and empowerment and I can’t begin to express my gratitude. In my day to day work, I have been empowered by peers and fulfilled by the mission while revelling in the thrill of the big moments at WAM when the impact of the work is palpable.”

“Having lived in Berkshire County all my life, I am excited begin a new adventure in Washington DC. However, I can’t wait to come back to celebrate the opening of PIPELINE with the WAMily in the Fall!”

Lia Russell-Self. Photo by Carolyn Brown.

As a producer, director, performer, writer, and stage manager, Lia Russell-Self is dedicated to creating a change in the arts scene, one way or another. They have worked with companies locally in the Berkshires, Chatham/Hudson area, and beyond to bridge the gaps of arts, activism, and education with companies such as the rig (Lee, MA), Flying Cloud (Great Barrington, MA), and Bazar Productions (West Stockbridge, MA).  Russell-Self holds a BA in Theatrical Studies and Creative Writing from Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

“As someone who devotes their life to making a change through the arts, WAM has continuously fueled me to think creatively about what we can do as artists to question and activate change in our world,” Russell-Self said. “Every WAM show is another opportunity to collaborate and support organizations doing the work to illuminate and spark the necessary and important conversations for diversifying our theatre community.”

Kristen Perlman. Photo by Carolyn Brown.

Kristen Perlman is a marketing and communications professional with a passion for theatre and philanthropy. After a 17+ year career in financial services marketing in NYC, she and her husband purchased a small inn and relocated to the southern Berkshires in 2017. She holds a BA in Economics/International Careers from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“I am excited to join an organization that generates and enriches dialog about issues affecting women and girls throughout the world,” said Perlman. “WAM Theatre encourages audiences to give thoughtful consideration to the challenges faced by others and continue conversations beyond the theatre. I appreciate having the opportunity to help WAM Theatre achieve its double philanthropic mission and play a role in creating thought-provoking theatre that promotes compassion and connectedness.”

Russell-Self and Perlman join the WAM Team as the company’s 10th Anniversary season is well underway with the first Mainstage production, LADY RANDY, running to rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre through May 5. Tickets are still available for the closing weekend of LADY RANDY.

The initial Fresh Takes Play Reading Series event- NATIVE GARDENS by Karen Zacarías – takes place at 3pm on Saturday, May 4. The second Fresh Takes Play Reading – PARADISE by Laura Maria Censabella – is planned for November 2, during the October 24-November 9 run of the Mainstage production of PIPELINE by Dominique Morisseau, presented in partnership with Multicultural BRIDGE.

Also this season WAM Education is launching a new Elder Ensemble program for women 65 and older, in tandem with the successful, established Teen Ensemble. Both Ensembles will debut their original devised theatre pieces at the WAM 10th Anniversary Gala on Wednesday, July 24 from 5:30-8:30 pm at the Stationery Factory in Dalton.

More information about WAM’s 10th Anniversary Season.

WAM 10th Anniversary Sponsors

WAM’s 2019 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Annie Selke, Berkshire Gas, Berkshire Hand to Shoulder Center, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, Blue Q, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Chez Nous, Custom Business Solutions, Dr, Jay Wise, DDS and Dr. Casey Jones, DMD, The Dylandale Foundation, Frankie’s Ristorante Italiano, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, J.H. Maxymillian, Inc., Lee Bank, Maggie Barry, NEPR, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Only in My Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, OUTPOST, RB Design Co., The Rogovoy Report, The Rookwood Inn, Salisbury Bank, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, and a. von schlegell & co.

WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from the Alford-Egremont Cultural Council, Cultural Council of Northern Berkshires, Hinsdale-Peru Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, New Marlborough Cultural Council, Otis Cultural Council, Richmond Cultural Council, Sandisfield Cultural Council, Sheffield Cultural Council, Washington 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.


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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