Every year WAM Theatre donates a portion of the box office proceeds from their fall Main Stage production to agencies that benefit women and girls locally, nationally, or internationally. The success of their co-production with the Berkshire Theatre Group of The Bakelite Masterpiece by Kate Cayley enabled the company to present their largest donation yet to their 2016 beneficiaries – the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) and Suzi Banks Baum’s New Illuminations Project.
Since its founding in 2010, WAM Theatre has now donated more than $30,000 to twelve nonprofit organizations. This year’s total of $9,000 total was divided with $5,500 going to BIC and $3,500 going to Suzi Banks Baum’s initiative in Gyumri, Armenia. In keeping with WAM Theatre’s double philanthropic mission, a gift presentation was made following the closing performance on October 23.
“October 23 was an incredible day!” enthused Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre and the director of the Bakelite Masterpiece, “Thanks to a wonderfully successful co-production with the Berkshire Theatre Group – which sold out multiple performances and had over 2,000 people attend – we were able to make this record $9,000 donation. Both beneficiaries were thrilled and delighted by the gift – which was much larger than anticipated. The successful combination of jobs created, stories told, donations made and opportunities created for women and girls on this co-production reinforces that WAM’s vision of using art as philanthropy is having an amazing impact.”
Banks Baum will use her donation to pay women artists in Armenia a stipend for their work as visual artists. The arts are not an accepted field of work for women in Armenia, where they are culturally limited in how they can support themselves and their families.
The Berkshire Immigrant Center will use their funds to help women from abused households navigate a path to citizenship in the United States.
These are WAM’s eleventh and twelfth beneficiaries. Past recipients include: 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. This is in addition to providing paid contract work to over 175 theatre professionals.
The American premiere of The Bakelite Masterpiece, written by Kate Cayley and directed by Kristen van Ginhoven, ran from September 29 through October 23, 2016, at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, MA.
Since 2010 years, WAM Theatre has donated more than $30,000 to twelve nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 175 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