WAM Theatre Announces Beneficiaries for Fall Mainstage Production of PIPELINE at Sold-Out 10th Anniversary Gala

LENOX, MA (July 30, 2019) – It was a picture perfect Berkshire evening on Wednesday, July 24, as WAM Theatre supporters packed The Stationery Factory in Dalton. They celebrated and supported the company’s first decade of acclaimed theatrical productions and support of organizations that work to empower women and girls, at WAM’s sold-out 10th Anniversary Gala, hosted by Berkshire favorite Ty Allan Jackson.

 

The full house was in a great mood enjoying the tasty hors d’oeuvres catered by The Marketplace and the delicious apple cider donuts from Hilltop Orchards in Richmond. Live and silent auctions added to the fun, in an event coordinated by Only In My Dreams Events.

 

The event raised funds for WAM’s Education programs and the company’s upcoming fall production of PIPELINE by Tony Award-nominated and Obie Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, and directed by Dawn M. Simmons.

 

In this powerful and thought-provoking examination of race, class, and the American education system Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher committed to her students, and desperate to give her only son opportunities they’ll never have, must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent when a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled.

Beneficiary Committee with representatives from BRIDGE (Gwendolyn Van Sant and Stephanie Wright) and Elizabeth Blackshine (tall with turquose dress from Harmony Homestead) and Shirley Edgerton (holding baby- who belongs to Liz) from Women of Color Giving Circle. Photo by David Dashiell

Gala participants were the first to learn the identity of the non-profits that will benefit from WAM’s fall production of PIPELINE, which is being presented in partnership with local social justice organization Multicultural BRIDGE. In keeping with its double philanthropic mission, WAM Theatre will be donating a portion of the box office proceeds from PIPELINE to its 18th and 19th beneficiaries: Harmony Homestead & Wellness Center and the Women of Color Giving Circle.

See More Gala Photos

 

“It’s a great honor to be a beneficiary of this profound collaboration between WAM Theatre and BRIDGE,” exclaimed Elizabeth Blackshine, Founder of Harmony Homestead & Wholeness Center. “Happy Anniversary WAM! Thank you for playing your part in uplifting women of color and families of color who deserve all our attention and support, now more than ever.”

 

“The Women of Color Giving Circle is honored to collaborate with WAM Theatre and be a part of the WAMily!” said Leah Reed,  a member of the Circle. “We are a unique organization in that we foster relationships that create a safe space for people to come to us individually or as a group, and identify what they need, and we act based on that. As WAM Theatre seeks to create opportunities for women and girls, we too seek to empower, uplift, and embolden our youth so that they may thrive in any environment.”

 

The 2019 beneficiaries were chosen after a thoughtful and rigorous selection process, including a request for proposals and site visits, overseen by a committee at WAM consisting of Kristen van Ginhoven (WAM Producing Artistic Director), Margaret Fluhr (WAM Board of Directors), Wendy Healey (WAM Board of Directors), and Lia Russell-Self (WAM Associate Producing Director & Teaching Artist). Stephanie Wright of BRIDGE joined the committee this year as part of the WAM/BRIDGE partnership on PIPELINE.

 

“WAM’s donation will allow Harmony Homestead & Wholeness Center to create and provide a horticulture therapy program for people of color. We also hope to purchase a vehicle to help increase attendance by families of color at our programs, which include meditation, re-evaluation counseling classes, cultural food growing, and nature immersion programs” explained Blackshine.

 

“This donation from WAM will help the Women of Color Giving Circle upgrade the educational tools we use our mentoring program for girls and their families.” Reed said. “It will also help us facilitate and maintain connections with students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) students as we foster collaborative relationships by bringing them to the Berkshires to work with our youth.”

 

“The WAM Beneficiary Committee is delighted that our selection of these two beneficairies means that we are supporting both the professional and spiritual development of what we hope are future educators of color in the Berkshires”, van Ginhoven shared. “That made these two organizations the perfect beneficiaries for PIPELINE.”

 

Premiere performance of “Fractured Dreams” at the Gala. Photo by David Dashiell

Another highlight of the Gala evening was the premiere of FRACTURED DREAMS, the new devised theatre piece created by the 2019 WAM Teen Ensemble and the new WAM Elder Ensemble. The performance is comprised of original writing, music, and movement on the theme of dreams and barriers to dreams, created by the Ensemble members during their two-week residence at The Foundry in West Stockbridge. The Ensembles are directed by WAM’s Teaching Artists: Amy Brentano, Sara Katzoff, Talya Kingston, and Lia Rusell-Self.

 

See More “Fractured Dreams” Photos

 

Audience members rose to their feet after the premiere and Elder Ensemble participant Nancy Tunnicliffe shared, “The thing that makes me happiest about our collaborative work is that we struck a blow against ageism, which can exist in both directions, and by doing so, we became individuals to each other.”

 

The celebratory Gala comes at the mid-way point in WAM’s 10th Anniversary Season, with a successful world premiere of LADY RANDY, a Fresh Takes Reading of NATIVE GARDENS, and now the two Ensemble programs behind them, the company is looking ahead to the Fresh Takes Reading of PARADISE and its partnership with BRIDGE and collaboration with The Nora Theatre Company in Cambridge, MA, on PIPELINE in the fall.

 

About Harmony Homestead & Wholeness Center

Harmony Homestead & Wholeness Center exists to facilitate social harmony and reparations to members of the underserved global majority by means of support groups, reconnecting with nature, sustainably growing and preserving food, preserving and practicing indigenous wisdom, and fostering cross-cultural allies.

https://unveilwholeness.com/

 

About Women of Color Giving Circle

In affiliation with the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, the Women of Color Giving Circle of the Berkshires seeks to inspire young women of color and instill self-respect and resilience. They work to build community, encourage youth development and educational success, and promote the arts. They provide funding and encourage civic action among citizens of Berkshire County.

https://www.facebook.com/wocgc1/

 

About WAM’s fall production of PIPELINE

 

Performances of PIPELINE are scheduled for October 24-November 9, 2019, at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA. Preview tickets for the performances on October 24 & 25 at 7:30pm are $25 & $30. Tickets for the rest of the run start at $30.

 

Student matinees are scheduled at 12:30pm on Friday, October 25; Wednesday, October 30; and Monday, November 4. A limited number of seats will be made available to the general public for purchase at each student matinee.

 

All tickets are available through the Shakespeare & Company box office: online at shakespeare.org, call 413-637-3353, or visit http://bit.ly/WAMPipeline. The box office, located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, is open from 11am-3pm, plus 90 minutes prior to any performance. Closed Mondays.

In celebration of their 10th Anniversary Season, WAM will offer ten $10 tickets at every single Mainstage performance during the 2019 season on a first-come, first-serve basis.

 

Mark your calendars because this is a production you will not want to miss! For more information on WAM Theatre and PIPELINE, visit: wamtheatre.com/pipeline

 

This production of PIPELINE is sponsored in part by Carolyn Butler.

 

AT A GLANCE

 

October 24-November 9, 2019
PIPELINE
by Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Dawn Meredith Simmons
at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA

www.wamtheatre.com/pipeline

Buy Tickets

In this powerful and thought-provoking examination of race, class, and the American education system Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher committed to her students, and desperate to give her only son opportunities they’ll never have, must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent when a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled.

 

Mature language. Recommended for ages 13+.

 

A portion of box office proceeds will be donated to the Harmony Homestead & Wholeness Center and the Women of Color Giving Circle.

 

PERFORMANCES 

Thursday, October 24 at 7:30pm (Preview)

Friday, October 25 7:30p (Preview)

Saturday, October 26 at 7:30pm (Opening)

Sunday, October 27 at 2pm

 

Wednesday, October 30 at 12:30pm (Student Matinee, limited seats available to the public)

Thursday, October 31 at 7:30pm

Friday, November 1 at 7:30pm

Saturday, November 2 at 7:30pm

Sunday, November 3 at 2pm

 

Monday, November 4 at 12:30pm (Student Matinee, limited seats available to the public)

Thursday, November 7 at 7:30pm

Friday, November 8 at 7:30pm

Saturday, November 9 at 2pm

Saturday, November 9 at 7:30pm

 

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU (playwright) WAM TheatrePipeline (2018 Fresh Takes Play Reading Series) Plays: The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle) which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew(Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue(Signature Theatre), and Detroit ’67(Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the book writer on the new musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). Theatre Commissions: Her work has been commissioned by Steppenwolf Theater, Women’s Project, South Coast Rep, People’s Light and Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Penumbra Theatre. Film/TV: She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series “Shameless”. Awards: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award, Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, and being named one of Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18. Et Cetera: Dominique is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, Women’s Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O’Neil Playwrights Conference.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

DAWN M. SIMMONS (Director)  WAM Theatre: Pipeline (2018 Fresh Takes Play Reading Series), Elsewhere: Lyric Stage Company of Boston (The Wiz, Warrior Class, Saturday Night Sunday Morning), Hibernian Hall, (With Glittering Eyes) Actors Shakespeare Project (Macbeth), Greater Boston Stage Company (The Three Musketeers, The Irish and How They Got That Way), SpeakEasy Stage Company (Just Cause (The Boston Project), Men On Boats), Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (The Tempest), Bad Habit Productions (The Real Inspector Hound), Boston Public Works (Hard and Fast: A Love Story), New Exhibition Room (Smile), Fresh Ink Theatre (The Embryos),  Online: www.frontporcharts.org

WAM 10th Anniversary Sponsors

WAM’s 2019 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Annie Selke, Baystate Financial, 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, New England Public Radio (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 $65,700 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

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