LEE, MA [November 16, 2017] — On Monday, November 6, at the 2nd Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards, the Board of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) gave WAM Theatre co-founder and artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven the prestigious Larry Murray Award, given to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues.
The award is named after the late Larry Murray, a life-long leader and advocate in the arts who founded both the BTCA and the Berkshire Theatre Awards, aka The Berkies, and is voted on only by BTCA Board members. Van Ginhoven and WAM were honored for their innovative double philanthropic mission supporting non-profits that benefit women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally.
“Larry Murray made a difference in all our lives when he was alive, and, thanks to the dedication of his friends and colleagues, continues to make a difference now. I am deeply honored and proud that WAM is the recipient of this award,” van Ginhoven remarked at the awards ceremony.
Many WAM artists were nominated for “Berkie” Awards, including actors Kim Stauffer and Oliver Wadsworth, nominated for their leading roles in WAM’s production of Lauren Gunderson’s Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight. Govane Lohbauer was nominated for her costume design for Emilie…, and Alexander Sovronsky was nominated for his original score and sound design for The Last Wife.
The award came one day after WAM had presented a donation of $9,000 to the Soldier On Women’s Program after the closing performance of the their 2017 fall MainStage production of The Last Wife by Kate Hennig. That donation represented 25% of the box office proceeds of the run of the production. Since its founding in 2010, WAM Theatre has donated more than $41,500 to thirteen nonprofit organizations.
The Soldier On Women’s Program was WAM’s thirteenth beneficiary. Past recipients include: the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Suzi Banks Baum’s New Illuminations initiative in Gyumri, Armenia, 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 250 theatre professionals.
OUR SEASON SPONSORS
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. Our 2017 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, the Appelbaum-Kahn Foundation, 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, a. von schlegell & co., and Zonta.
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.
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 $41,500 to thirteen nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 250 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