LENOX, MA [May 7, 2019] — Every year, WAM Theatre donates a portion of the box office proceeds from their Main Stage productions to agencies that benefit women and girls locally, nationally, or internationally. The success of the world premiere of LADY RANDY enabled the company to present $8,000 to their 16th beneficiary, Tapestry Health Systems. Along with the $1,200 targeted gift to The MoonCatcher Project, this brings WAM’s donation total since its founding in 2010 up to $65,700.
Tapestry will use WAM’s donation to provide training to staff to improve their services to marginalized communities. “What WAM is doing is remarkable. We are so honored to be a part of this experience,” said Katrina Mattson, Health Services Manager at Tapestry’s Pittsfield location. “As we grow as an agency, we need to do better for marginalized communities. One of the ways we can do this is do train our dedicated staff in social determinants of health and increase our capacity by learning how to better serve our LGBTQ community, our poor, our undocumented, and others marginalized in today’s society.”
A targeted donation of $1,000 was earmarked for The MoonCatcher Project, but the total was able to be raised to $1,200 for this worthy cause. WAM’s donation will provide more than 200 menstrual kits to MoonCatcher’s work in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Pakistan and India. This brings the WAM beneficiary total to 17.
“We want to be collaborating with other organizations,” Ellie von Wellsheim, Founder and Executive Director of MoonCatcher explained. “It’s not just MoonCatcher making 200 kits; it’s all of us making 200 kits. And that means so much more to us, to you, and to the girls getting these kits.”
The 2019 beneficiaries were chosen after a rigorous selection process, including a request for proposals and site visits, overseen by a committee at WAM comprised of Kristen van Ginhoven (WAM Artistic Director), Dori Parkman (WAM General Manager), Margaret Fluhr (WAM Board Member), Wendy Healey (WAM Board President), and Lia Russell-Self (WAM Associate Producing Director).
Tapestry Health Systems and The MoonCatcher Project are WAM’s 16th & 17th beneficiaries. Past recipients include: The Denise Kaley Fund, the LIPPI Program of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, the Soldier On Women’s Program, the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Suzi Banks Baum’s New Illuminations initiative in Gyumri, Armenia, Hands in Outreach, Sisters for Peace, Mother of Peace Orphanage in Illovo, South Africa, the Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program for Girls (ROPE), Shout Out Loud Productions, Berkshire United Way’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, Edna’s Hospital in Somaliland, The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, and Women for Women International.
“All of us at WAM are thrilled with the success with LADY RANDY. To launch our 10th anniversary season with the world premiere of a new play by a local female playwright was very fitting and exciting. We are glad our WAMily responded so enthusiastically to the show”, shared Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Producing Artistic Director.
In addition, WAM hosted vibrant post-show discussions following each of the three Sunday matinee performances of LADY RANDY. After the April 21 performance, there was a talkback with playwright/actress Anne Undeland and director Jim Frangione. Following the matinee on April 28, WAM Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston moderated a panel discussion around the theme of re-imagining history featuring Undeland, Anne Schuyler, (Director of Visitor Services, The Mount), Lise Sanders (Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies, Hampshire College) and Naomi Miller (Professor of English and the Study of Women and Gender, Smith College).
On Saturday, May 4th, WAM’s Fresh Takes play reading series had a successful reading of Karen Zacarías’ NATIVE GARDENS, which was presented in memory of Wendy Rabinowitz.
Finally, after the closing performance on May 5, there was a chance to meet representatives of Tapestry and MoonCatcher and hear more about how WAM’s donation will impact their work. This conversation was followed by the check presentation ceremony.
“It is phenomenal to start our 10th season with these inspiring donations.” said Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre. “We are thrilled our audiences enjoyed LADY RANDY so much! We are already excited for our second Mainstage production of PIPELINE by Dominique Morisseau, which we will present in partnership with Multicultural BRIDGE October 24th-November 9th.”
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 5:30-8:30pm at the Stationery Factory in Dalton.
The second Fresh Takes Play Reading – PARADISE by Laura Maria Censabella – is planned for November 2, during the run of PIPELINE.
Founded in 1973 by women committed to the belief that high quality, confidential, and affordable reproductive health care was a necessity, Tapestry is rooted in the principles of compassionate, confidential, non-judgmental care for all. Since its inception, the agency has been the sole provider of low cost, federally-funded (Title X) reproductive health care and family planning services in Berkshire County. Each year reproductive health education, counseling, and clinical care is provided to approximately 1,100 people in Berkshire County. In 2018, a majority of these people were female (82%), aged 25 or less (73%), and were economically disadvantaged (70%). As the only provider of confidential, family planning services in Berkshire County, the agency prioritizes clinical services for young people, uninsured and underinsured individuals, regardless of income, race, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Today, Tapestry provides services which include sexual and reproductive health care, syringe access and disposal, overdose prevention and education, overdose reversal medication access and training, PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis for individuals at high risk for HIV and providing new mothers and their children with nutritional education and support, including 24-hour-a-day breastfeeding help throughout all of Western Massachusetts. https://www.tapestryhealth.org/
The MoonCatcher Project provides kits containing free reusable, washable menstrual pads, as well as classes on menstruation management and reproductive health, to school girls in the poorest communities worldwide. These kits provide a way for girls to stay in school while menstruating, giving them a greater chance of completing their education. http://www.mooncatcher.org/
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 was 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 $65,7000 to 17 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