LENOX, MA (February 24, 2017) – WAM Theatre is delighted to announce that their 2017 Fresh Takes Play reading series will begin with The Flora and Fauna by Alyson Mead, winner of the Arizona-based Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre New Work Contest. The play chronicles the celebrations and challenges of a female friendship that spans almost 30 years. Additionally, this opening reading of the Fresh Takes Series will be a partnership with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, with a portion of the box office proceeds from the reading going to the Festival.
The WAM reading will take place at 3:30 pm on Sunday, March 12 at No. 6 Depot in West Stockbridge. WAM Artistic Associate and Fresh Takes Curator Producer Molly Clancy will direct. The Cast includes MaConnia Chesser (WAM Theatre’s Grand Concourse ) and Lori Evans (Shakespeare & Company’s Emperor of the Moon).
“I’m honored to be directing The Flora and Fauna for WAM, and excited about our national collaboration with The Bridge Initiative and our local partnership with The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers,” said Molly Clancy. “Supporting women artists is at the heart of WAM’s mission, and I am especially passionate about supporting new plays written by women. Joining together with other organizations, nationally and locally, that share those same values is a wonderful way to open our 2017 season.”
The Bridge Initiative is an Arizona nonprofit working to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region. One of it’s co-founders and co-producing artistic directors, Tracy Liz Miller, was a director for WAM’s Fresh Takes reading series in 2013. This year’s New Work Contest received more than 163 eligible plays and musicals, submitted from 25 states, the District of Columbia, and international locations.
“It seemed absolutely necessary to me to connect with WAM Theatre as soon as Brenda Foley (Bridge Initiative’s other co-producing Artistic Director) and I began to look at partnering with other companies to give our playwright more development opportunities,” Miller said. “Having proudly worked with Kristen previously, I knew that WAM’s mission aligned with ours and that the combination of the Fresh Takes series and our new play contest was a perfect fit. We all look forward to helping Alyson meet her artistic mission with this play.”
“The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers is delighted to be partnering with WAM Theatre for the first of the 2017 Fresh Takes series,” Jennifer Browdy, BFWW Founder and Director explained. “WAM and the BFWW share the common goal of cultivating and sharing the voices and visions of women writers, so it’s a natural partnership for us. I’m looking forward to being inspired by The Flora and Fauna!”
WAM Theatre will announce the full schedule for their 8th season, including the rest of the Fresh Takes series, on February 28.
AT A GLANCE
March 12, 2017
Reading of The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre New Work Contest winner
The Flora and Fauna
by Alyson Mead
directed by Molly Clancy
featuring MaConnia Chesser as Adele and Lori Evans as Ginnie
Fresh Takes Play Reading Series
Curated by WAM Theatre’s Artistic Associate Molly Clancy and hosted by No. Six Depot Roastery and Café on 6 Depot Street in West Stockbridge, MA, on select Sundays at 3:30 pm.
There are only 30 tickets available per reading. Tickets are $20, which includes a post-show conversation and the opportunity to meet the cast and director. Refreshments will be available for purchase at the Café. For tickets and more information visit: http://www.wamtheatre.com/fresh-takes-2017/
ABOUT THE CAST
MACONNIA CHESSER* (Adele) WAM Theatre: Grand Concourse (Fresh Takes: Play Reading Series), The Revolutionists (reading/co-production with Chester Theatre). Elsewhere: Shakespeare & Company (company member), Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Totem Pole Playhouse, The Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, York Shakespeare, NJ Repertory (company member), Theater Alliance, African Continuum Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Folger Theatre. Film & TV: The Wire, Nothing But the Truth, cigarettes for breakfast, Ghosts of Hamilton Street, Diseasels. Training: Shakespeare & Company, National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Alcorn State University. Awards: Helen Hayes nomination – Outstanding Ensemble (Insurrection). Upcoming: Mrs. Dickson in Intimate Apparel with Shakespeare & Company.
LORI EVANS (Ginnie) WAM Theatre: Debut Elsewhere: A member of Shakespeare & Company since 2012, Emperor of the Moon (Doctor), Private Eyes (Frank) where she also teaches and tours in the nationally acclaimed education program directing in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare (2013-2016), Riotous Youth, and in numerous residencies. Regionally: Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears (Book-It Repertory); Iris (Majestic Theater); Pericles & Julius Caesar (Engaged Theatre); Romeo & Juliet (Hubbard Hall); Wonderland (Theater Simple); Into the Woods (Mount Baker Theatre); Red Hot Patriot (reading Aglet Theatre Company). FILM/TV: Commercials/Direct Response Spots Northwest local Et cetera: In grateful appreciation of WAM’s creative vision.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: ALYSON MEAD
WAM Theatre: Debut Elsewhere: Her award-winning plays have been staged at Off-Off Broadway and regional theaters around the country and in London, including La MaMa, St. Mark’s Church, 8BC, Pasadena Playhouse, Venus Theatre, Women Playwrights Conference, Limelight, the Other Space Theater, the Hudson, Atwater Village Theater and Sacred Fools, among others. Training: Mead studied at Yale University, the Slade School of Art in London, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and with iO West, UCB and Tectonic Theatre Project. Et cetera: She’s published by Original Works Publishing, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Playwriting Unit and the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. Website: Visit www.alysonmead.com
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: MOLLY CLANCY
WAM Theatre: Artistic Associate, Fresh Takes Play Reading Series Curator & Producer, Director for Water by the Spoonful and The Last Wife, Assistant Director for In Darfur, How The World Began and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England. Regional Theatre: Molly currently works at Shakespeare & Company as the Publicity Director and previously worked at Florida Studio Theatre (Sarasota, FL) and Home Made Theatre (Saratoga Springs, NY). Additional Directing: SDC Foundation Observership Class 2015 – 2016, Charlotte’s Web and The Wizard of Oz (Forest Lake Theatre) and The Rwandans’ Visit (Lougheed Festival of the Arts at SUNY Potsdam). Additional Assistant Directing: Alice Reagan’s Or, (Shakespeare & Company), Taibi Magar’s Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare & Company) Training: SUNY Potsdam (BA in Theatre and English). Twitter: @MollyClancyy
ABOUT THE BRIDGE INITIATIVE
The Bridge Initiative is an Arizona nonprofit working to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region, with the aim of gender parity across all theatrical disciplines. Its mission also includes bridging the gap between academia and the professional world to encourage students to envision a clearer path to becoming lifelong artists. Visit www.bridgeinit.com
ABOUT THE BERKSHIRE FESTIVAL OF WOMEN WRITERS
The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers inspires, nourishes and strengthens women’s creative voices by offering stimulating workshops and events year-round designed to encourage women and girls to engage with one another and their communities, and develop as creative leaders. For the past six years, hundreds of women writers of all ages, from teens to seniors, have participated in the annual Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, held in March, Women’s History Month, featuring workshops, readings, performances and screenings at venues throughout Berkshire County MA and the adjacent Berkshire region. Visit www.berkshirewomenwriters.org
ABOUT WAM THEATRE
Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre is 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 donated more than $30,000 to eleven nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 200 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