WAM Theatre “Emilie…” Remount Donates $2,500 to Flying Cloud Institute

LEE, MA [April 17, 2017] — WAM Theatre’s successful limited run remount of their acclaimed 2013 production of Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson and directed by WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, just finished its two week run presented at the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company. The entire original cast and much of the original creative team reassembled to bring the powerful life story of Emilie du Châtelet (1706-1749), a French mathematician and physicist whose work paved the way for many modern discoveries.

In keeping with their double philanthropic mission, WAM donates a portion of the box office proceeds from their Main Stage productions to agencies that benefit women and girls locally, nationally, or internationally. Proceeds from this popular show enabled the company to donate $2,500 to Great Barrington-based Flying Cloud Institute, the beneficiary of this production. These funds will provide scholarships to ten Berkshire County public school students to attend FCI’s Young Women in Science training program at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Berkshire Community College this summer, where they will work alongside professional scientists in laboratory settings.


The cast and crew of “Emilie…” join with the WAM Team and Flying Cloud staff at the check presentation following the final performance on Sunday, April 9. Photo David Dashiell.

“WAM Theatre has now donated more than $32,500 to twelve nonprofit organizations since our founding in 2010. We’ve had an impact in areas like girls education, midwife training, and raising awareness for sexual trafficking and teen pregnancy, to name a few.” enthused Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM Artistic Director. “ We are incredibly grateful to the audience who enjoyed this show and to Greylock Federal Credit Union and other supporters made our dream of remounting Emilie… a success. We look forward to seeing them all again at our fall regional premiere of The Last Wife by Kate Hennig.”

As was the case with the original WAM production, this remount of Emilie… captivated critics and audience members alike.

Five actors and a director who realize this extraordinary living story of a woman who brought physics to life and had a lot of fun while doing it.

I loved it so much the first time I didn’t think I could love it more, but the actors have had so much time with script that it lives in all five of them even more deeply.

I had tears in my eyes as we applauded as it was so refreshing to see such an incredible performance.

“I’m not only honored to have WAM re-mount Emilie…, I’m inspired,” wrote playwright Lauren Gunderson. “WAM truly manifests my belief that theatre actively and intentionally changes hearts, minds, and the future of a thoughtful and empathetic nation.”

With support from Mass Humanities and Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, WAM was also able to provide a special Educational Outreach project around the production. WAM Theatre and Flying Cloud Institute partnered to do an after school program and offer a special matinee on April 6 for twenty-five girls who attend Reid Middle School in Pittsfield and are part of Flying Cloud’s after school STEAM Team. WAM Theatre teaching artists and professional scientist worked with the STEAM Team prior to the matinee, conducting science experiments that are present in the play and participating in theater activities designed to heighten their appreciation of the performance. Then, the Reid STEAM team and students from other schools came to the April 6 matinee, where they participated in a special panel discussion with working female scientists and actress Kim Stauffer (Emilie), where the Reid STEAM team students asked prepared questions that deepened their engagement with the play.

“The young women who attended the show were thrilled and can’t wait to see another WAM performance. They couldn’t stop talking about it on the bus ride home!” said Maria Rundle, Executive Director of Flying Cloud. “WAM understands the value of extended cultural learning and the need to get students exposed to scientists and artists who can help them make meaning out of the play they’ve just seen. We are so grateful to WAM and their supporters for making it possible for us to offer ten scholarships to these girls so they can continue working with STEM professionals and FCI this summer!”

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Flying Cloud is WAM’s twelfth beneficiary. Past recipients include: Berkshire Immigrant Center, Suzi Banks Baum/New Illuminations, 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 200 theatre professionals.

WAM’s eighth season moves forward with two Fresh Takes Play Readings at No. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe in West Stockbridge – Really on Sunday, May 7 and The Droll on Sunday, June 4 – both at 3:30 pm. A special Fresh Takes Reading this summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival will be announced shortly. The company’s Stars in the Orchard Summer Gala is scheduled for Wednesday, July 12 at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond. The fun starts at 5:30 pm. WAM will be hosting the first pilot Berkshire Leadership Summit – an event for women aspiring to leadership positions in the non-profit theatre in both artistic and operational tracks – on October 28 & 29, 2017 in the Elayne P. Bernstein Center at Shakespeare & Company. And running from October 13-November 5 will be the Northeast Regional Premiere of The Last Wife by Kate Hennig at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Company. Visit www.WAMTheatre.com for tickets and more information.


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; and by the Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural. Our 2017 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, Blue Q, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Custom Business Solutions, The Dylandale Foundation, The Feigenbaum Foundation, Futures Education, the Garden Gables Inn, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, In Touch Printing, International Schools Theatre Association, Interprint, Dr. Jay Wise, DDS & Dr. Casey Jones, DMD,  Lee Bank, Massachusetts Cultural Council, MAXYMILLIAN Technologies, Methuselah Bar and Lounge, No. Six Depot Roastery and Café, RB Design Co., Redfin, The Rookwood Inn, Rouge Restaurant & Bistro, The Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, 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, Dalton Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, New Marlborough Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, Cultural Council of Northern Berkshires , Otis Cultural Council, Richmond Cultural Council, Sandisfield Cultural Council, Stockbridge Cultural Council, Washington Cultural Council, and West Stockbridge Cultural Council – local agencies that are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


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 $32,500 to twelve 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

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