WAM Theatre Announces Beneficiaries for “The Bakelite Masterpiece”


The highlight of WAM’s recent gala evening was the opportunity to get a sneak peek at scenes from The Bakelite Masterpiece, co-produced with the Berkshire Theatre Group, performed by actors Corinna May and Jim Frangione, Co- Artistic Director of the Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, filling in for his friend David Adkins, who will be playing the role in the fall but was unavailable to read at the WAM benefit. Gala participants also learned the identity of the charities that will benefit from the production. In keeping with their double philanthropic mission, WAM Theatre will be donating 25% of the box office proceeds from The Bakelite Masterpiece to their ninth beneficiary, the Berkshire Immigrant Center and Suzi Banks Baum.

As WAM Artistic Director, Kristen van Ginhoven, said at the benefit, “In searching for our 2016 beneficiaries, I looked at The Bakelite Masterpiece from my personal perspective as the daughter of Dutch immigrants directing a play about a painting and a country working to rebuild after conflict. And so the Board and I selected Suzi Banks Baum for her project empowering women artists in Armenia, and the Berkshire Immigrant Center for their work helping women and their families navigate a path to a new life with permanent residence and safety in the United States.”

The company also announced the winners of the inaugural WAMily Awards. So many people and organizations are incredibly generous advocates of WAM Theatre, and this year the company has created a way to publicly recognize a few of them annually with these awards. The 2016 honorees are Vicki Bonnington, Bruce Garlow, and Greylock Federal Credit Union, all of whom were in attendance to receive their awards and the gratitude of the assembled crowd.

About the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC)

The mission of the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) is to welcome new immigrants and refugees and to provide them with the tools and services needed to integrate into the fabric of their new community. BIC serves 800 immigrants and their families each year. Each year hundreds of thousands of immigrants seek assistance across the US with humanitarian based immigration law. These are mostly women and children and what they all have in common is that they are seeking refuge and protection from violence they have experienced abroad or even here in the US at the hands of an abuser. Unfortunately BIC is not funded to assist these clients; they are often among the most vulnerable and regardless of whether an attorney is involved or not- often require the most help and are unable to compensate the Center for our services. They are dedicated to continue helping these women and their families navigate a path to permanent residence and safety in the US. WAM’s donation will make it possible for the Berkshire Immigrant Center to provide this much needed help to these women and their families. http://berkshireic.com/

About Suzi Banks Baum

Suzi Banks Baum is a writer, artist, actor, teacher, and community organizer. She is editor and publisher of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice. She lives in Great Barrington and produces Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. In March of 2016, Suzi visited Gyumri, Armenia interviewing women artists through affiliation with National Geographic photographer, John Stanmeyer and 4Plus, an Armenian organization of female documentary photographers. During her visit, Suzi learned that the cultural expectations of women form a restrictive structure within which they struggle to include art making in their lives. Giving these women voice, telling their stories, and empowering them to begin to tell theirs is essential to enhancing the quality of Armenian women’s lives. Suzi’s project is blossoming into a residency in Gyumri in October 2016 to continue interviewing women, and leading a multidisciplinary workshop to gather stories and teach the artists the ancient practice of book building. WAM’s donation will help make this trip and compensation for the female artists possible. www.suzibanksbaum.com

The Bakelite Masterpiece tickets now on sale

Tickets for The Bakelite Masterpiece are now on sale on the WAM website. The end of World War II. Holland is in chaos. The artist Han van Meegeren is arrested. His crime? Selling a long-lost painting by the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer to Hermann Goering, Nazi leader. His defense? It was a perfect forgery painted by him. His proof? In front of his prosecutor (art historian and resistance fighter) Geert Piller, he must paint another flawless Vermeer to save his life. A play that debates beauty, faith, memory and the reconstruction of a country. The cast features Corinna May and David Adkins.

Performances are scheduled for September 29-October 23 on the Larry Vaber Stage at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre, 6 East Street, Stockbridge, MA. The opening performance will be Saturday, October 1 at 7 pm. Tickets are $15-$40. See http://www.wamtheatre.com/the-bakelite-masterpiece/ for more information.

Tickets are being sold through the Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) box office and can be purchased in three easy ways: by calling the BSC box office at 413-997-4444, going in person during box office hours, or buying online through the BSC ticketing page.

Quick Facts

The Bakelite Masterpiece
by Kate Cayley

American Premiere
Co-produced by the Berkshire Theatre Group and WAM Theatre
September 29–October 23, $15–$40
Larry Vaber Stage in the Unicorn Theatre
6 East Street, Stockbridge, MA
Ticket info: http://www.WAMTheatre.com

David Adkins as Han van Meergeren
Corinna May as Geert Piller

Creative Team
Director: Kristen van Ginhoven
Set Design: Juliana von Haubrich
Costume Design: Deborah Brothers
Lighting Design: Lily Fossner
Sound Design: Brad Berridge

About the Playwright: Kate Cayley

KATE CAYLEY (Playwright) WAM Theatre: Debut. Plays: Tarragon Theatre: After Akhmatova, The Bakelite Masterpiece; Zuppa Theatre: The Archive of Missing Things; Stranger Theatre: The Yellow Wallpaper Project, The Counterfeit Marquise, and what Alice found there, The Hanging of Francoise Laurent.Books: How You Were Born (short stories), The Hangman in the Mirror (young adult novel), When This World Comes to an End (poetry), Other Houses (poetry, forthcoming). Training: University of King’s College, Halifax. Awards: Trillium Book Award, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, Chalmers Fellowship.Online: http://www.katecayley.ca

About the Director: Kristen van Ginhoven

WAM Theatre: In Darfur (New England Premiere), Emilie (New England Premiere), The Old Mezzo (World Premiere), The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls and Melancholy Play. Regional Theatre: 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). Selected assistant directing: The Physicists, 42nd Street (Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada), Two Men of Florence (Huntington Theatre), Sleuth, Absurd Person Singular (Barrington Stage Company) Training: Dalhousie University (BA), Queen’s University (BEd), Emerson College (MA). Et Cetera: Kristen is the Artistic Director of WAM Theatre, an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and a theatre artist for the International Schools Theatre Association. She was a member of the 2013 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. Website: www.wamtheatre.com

About the Cast

David Adkins (Han van Meergeren)

WAM Theatre: David is very pleased to be making his WAM debut in Bakelite Masterpiece. Elsewhere: He is an Artist Associate at BTG and has performed in over 20 seasons. David made his Broadway debut at the National Actor’s Theatre, has worked off Broadway numerous times, and has worked extensively in resident theaters across the country. TV: David has guessed starred recently on Blacklist, Elementary, The Good Wife, recurred as George on The Americans, was in the pilot BlaqJaq (dir.Forest Whitaker), the mini-series Ben Franklin, and others like Happyish, Law and Order, SVU, Trinity, Chicago Hope. Training: Juilliard.

Corinna May (Geert Piller)

WAM Theatre: 2011 & 2016 24 Hour Theatre Projects. Elsewhere: Shakespeare & Company 28+ productions including The Unexpected Man, The Memory of Water, King Lear, A Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night, Enchanted April, Roman Fever, An International Episode, Jack and Jill, Betrayal, Fortune and Misfortune, House of Mirth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet. BTF/BTG: Benefactors, Same Time Next Year, Homestead Crossing, Two-headed. Wharton Salon: The Long Run, Autre Temps. National Tour: The Graduate with Jerry Hall/Linda Gray/Lorraine Bracco/Kelly McGillis/Morgan Fairchild. Regional (selected): Portland Stage Co., Merrimack Rep., Syracuse Stage, Rep. Theater of St. Louis, Capitol Rep., Studio Arena Theatre. Film: Split Ends (starring); Rain Without Thunder; Speck’s Last. Television: House of Cards; Unforgettable; Bourbon Street(pilot); Law & Order; PBS: Evening at the Pops. Et cetera: Playwright: Dancing with the Czar. Designated Linklater Voice teacher. Feldenkrais practitioner. Proud to be a union member: SAG-AFTRA, AEA.


WAM Theatre is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our 2016 sponsors include the Adams Community Bank, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, Canyon Ranch, Custom Business Solution, Dylandale Foundation, Feigenbaum Foundation, Garden Gables, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, International Schools Theatre Association, Interprint, Dr. Jay Wise, DDS & Dr. Casey Jones, DMD, Jon Gotterer DMD, Keator Group, LLC, Lenox Education Enrichment Fund, Massachusetts Cultural Council, MAXYMILLIAN Technologies, Nina Molin MD, No. Six Depot Roastery and Café, Petricca Industries, Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, RB Design Co., The Rookwood Inn, Rouge Restaurant & Bistro, Toole Insurance, A. von Schlegell & Co., The Sherman Investment Group-RBC Wealth Management, and Zabian’s Fine Jewelers.

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

About WAM Theatre

Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen van Ginhoven to create professional theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls.

WAM Theatre also has a philanthropic mission, inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls.

Over the past five years, WAM Theatre has donated more than $15,000 to seven nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 100 theatre artists. 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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