“We envision a world where young women aspire to become confident leaders in their communities”
The Inaugural Cohort of WAM Theatre’s Girls Ensemble program will be presenting a public performance of their original theatre piece, Miss Labeled, on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 pm at the Spectrum Playhouse, 20 Franklin Street, in Lee, MA. Miss Labeled focuses on the labels young girls feel they are given by society and their peers. It explores issues such as bullying, domestic violence and school dress codes and is suitable for ages 10 and up. The performance is free of charge and open to the public.
Beginning in September, 2015, six young women ages 14-20, selected by audition, met on Saturday afternoons to create this new piece of devised theatre under the leadership of WAM teaching artists Amy Brentano and Barby Cardillo. Devised theatre is a collaborative process where the participants use different theatre techniques to create original material around a chosen starting point. Participants in this inaugural cohort hale from Lenox, Lee, Dalton, North Adams, Pittsfield, and Richmond, Massachusetts.
At this performance the roles will be played by five area actresses: Iris Courchaine, a Lee High School sophomore; Brittany Dorwin, a recent graduate of McCann Technical School; School; Siena Gamberoni, an eighth-grader at Richmond Consolidated School; Isabelle Lapierre, an eighth grader at St. Agnes School in Dalton; and Claudia Maurino, a ninth-grader at Monument Mountain Regional High.
“Devising original work from scratch with a group of young women who’ve never worked together before is at once courageous and inspiring,” Brentano explained. “Delving into the process not knowing the final outcome creates a unique, delicious tension that results in unexpected discoveries and a tight ensemble. Taking the show on tour has presented the opportunity for the actors to continue developing the material as they receive information from our talkbacks.”
“The girls engaged in impassioned discussions as they improvised scenes and wrote monologues,” Cardillo said. “Amy and I have had the pleasure to guide and direct these girls as they created an exciting theatre piece that includes music, dance, and text. This has been one of the best educational theatre experiences I’ve ever had. I found it really inspiring.”
“I hope this show will encourage people to take a step back and reflect on how gender stereotypes have affected their lives and to think about what they can do to alter the labels we give to each other and ourselves every day,” said Ensemble member Claudia Maurino.
The inaugural cohort, which included Dorwin, Lapierre, and Maurino, gave their first public sharing of Miss Labled on December 11, 2015 at the Elayne Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Company, followed by a school tour to Lenox Memorial High School, Richmond Consolidated School, and Hoosac Valley High School this spring. An excerpt will also be performed at WAM’s Stars in the Orchards Benefit on July 14 at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, MA.
If you or a young woman of your acquaintance would like to be part of future WAM Education programs, we will be offering summer and fall Girls Ensemble Junior programs for ages 8-12 at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires in Stockbridge, MA. Dates and costs will be announced soon. Auditions for the 2017 Girls Ensemble Cohort will be held in December of 2016. Visit www.wamtheatre.com for more information.
Seed funding for this program has been provided by multi-year grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Greylock Federal Credit Union, the Dylandale Foundation, the Lenox Education Enrichment Fund, the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) and Petricca Industries as well as a grant from the Feigenbaum Foundation, Interprint and various local cultural councils.
Additionally, the Girls Ensemble is an ISTA endorsed project. Based in the United Kingdom, ISTA brings together young people, artists and teachers from different countries in different settings to experience, create and learn about theatre. ISTA produces over 50 international arts events each year. WAM Theatre aims to bring their Girls Ensemble participants to an ISTA event within the first five years of our after school program being launched in 2015.
The Girls Ensemble program, the school tour, and this performance are presented free of charge thanks to the generous support of the Feigenbaum Foundation, Brabson Library and Education Foundation, Lenox Education Enrichment Fund and other generous donors.
Miss Labeled focuses on the labels young girls feel they are given by society and their peers. It explores issues such as bullying, domestic violence and school dress codes.
The WAM Girls Ensemble is comprised of girls aged 13-20 selected by audition from throughout Berkshire County. Under the leadership of WAM teaching artists Barby Cardillo and Amy Brentano, the inaugural cohort of girls devised this original show last fall. They used different theatre techniques to create material around their chosen starting point, sharing the girls’ own perspectives and stories as part of the process. A successful performance at Shakespeare & Company’s Bernstein Theatre in December led to a spring tour of local schools and is now concluding with this second public performance.
Cast and Creative Team
WAM Theatre: Debut as a teaching artist for WAM’s Girls’ Ensemble this fall. Elsewhere: Film and theatre director at Berkshire Country Day School for four years, teaches and directs theatre at Richmond Consolidated School, Barrington Stage Company’s Playwright Mentoring Project, Berkshire Theatre Group and the Southern Berkshire Regional School District. Training: BFA/NYU Experimental Theatre Wing, Spalding Gray, Anne Bogart, Moshe Feldenkrais. Et cetera: Co-artistic director for Red Earth Ensemble, producing Director for Don Quijote Experimental Children’s Theatre at Lincoln Square Theatre, National Shakespeare Co., performed with director Moises Kaufman at Theatre for the New City, La MaMa ETC as an ensemble member of Teatron.
(Teaching Artist and WAM Education Associate) is a professional performer and teaching artist and also holds a BA in social work from MCLA. She came to WAM in 2011 having been cast in the mainstage production of The Attic, the Pearls and Three Fine Girls. Also for WAM, she has performed in the Fresh Takes Series, The 24 Hour Theatre Project, the WordXWord Festival and the 10X10 Arts Festival As a teaching artist, Barby has been creating and directing drama workshops and productions in the Berkshires since 1992. With Shakespeare and Company she has directed Shakespeare productions at many area elementary, middle and high schools. She worked for “Shakespeare in the Courts” for six years directing productions with adjudicated youth as a part of an alternative sentencing program. For 10 summers she was the Director of the Theatre Program at Camp Hawthorne in Maine. She directed kids 10-17 in a full -length production every summer. For 8 years, Ms. Cardillo was the drama instructor at the Valleyhead School, a residential treatment facility for girls aged 12-20 who have experienced severe psychological trauma. Her work with the girls was part of a comprehensive therapeutic arts program designed to heal through creative expression using visual and performing arts. Barby has worked since 1999 with Community Access to the Arts (CATA) an organization whose mission it is to celebrate and nurture the creativity of people with disabilities through shared experiences in the arts. She creates and implements workshops for adults and teens with developmental disabilities in multiple settings throughout the Berkshires. As an Artistic Mentor with the Barrington Stage Company, Barby has lead groups of teens in creating theatre from their own stories as part of the award winning Playwright Mentoring Project (PMP). Barby was also the creator and teacher for the K.E.W.L (kids entertained while learning) Beanz, high school improv troupes that she has taught at Drury High, Pittsfield High, Taconic High and Hillcrest Educational Center. She has been seen on stage in many varied roles with WAM Theatre, Aglet Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Fringe Festival, Mixed Company, Castle Hill Family Theatre and the Boston Playwrights Theatre as well as being a founding member of the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe and a player with “The Majesters” an improv group in West Springfield.