WAM Announces Expansion of Theater Leadership

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LENOX, Mass. — WAM Theatre announces the addition of two new members to the WAM Leadership Team as a long-time team member Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe moves on.  

"All of us at WAM will miss Gwen dearly. Her contributions to WAM in her four years with us have been immense and she is adored by our WAMily,” Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven explained. “We wish her well on her new life chapter and are excited to have hired long-time WAM artist Lia Russell-Self as our new associate producing director and newcomer to WAM, Kristen Perlman, as our new philanthropy manager. We look forward to following Gwendolyn's new adventures and to welcoming Lia and Kristen to our team."

Together with van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and General Manager Dori Parkman, Russell-Self and Perlman will comprise the leadership team at WAM Theatre.

"I feel deeply privileged to have spent four seasons working at WAM under the brilliant mentorship of Kristen van Ginhoven," Tunnicliffe said. "WAM has surrounded me with love and empowerment and I can't begin to express my gratitude. In my day to day work, I have been empowered by peers and fulfilled by the mission while revelling in the thrill of the big moments at WAM when the impact of the work is palpable."

"Having lived in Berkshire County all my life, I am excited begin a new adventure in Washington, D.C. However, I can't wait to come back to celebrate the opening of PIPELINE with the WAMily in the fall."

As a producer, director, performer, writer, and stage manager, Russell-Self is dedicated to creating a change in the arts scene, one way or another. They have worked with companies locally in the Berkshires, Chatham/Hudson area, and beyond to bridge the gaps of arts, activism, and education with companies such as the rig (Lee, MA), Flying Cloud (Great Barrington, MA), and Bazar Productions (West Stockbridge, MA).  Russell-Self holds a bachelor's degree in theatrical studies and creative writing from Bard College at Simon's Rock.

"As someone who devotes their life to making a change through the arts, WAM has continuously fueled me to think creatively about what we can do as artists to question and activate change in our world," Russell-Self said. "Every WAM show is another opportunity to collaborate and support organizations doing the work to illuminate and spark the necessary and important conversations for diversifying our theatre community."

Perlman is a marketing and communications professional with a passion for theater and philanthropy. After a 17-plus year career in financial services marketing in New York City, she and her husband purchased a small inn and relocated to the southern Berkshires in 2017. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics/international careers from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn.

"I am excited to join an organization that generates and enriches dialog about issues affecting women and girls throughout the world," Perlman said. "WAM Theatre encourages audiences to give thoughtful consideration to the challenges faced by others and continue conversations beyond the theater. I appreciate having the opportunity to help WAM Theatre achieve its double philanthropic mission and play a role in creating thought-provoking theatre that promotes compassion and connectedness."

Russell-Self and Perlman join the WAM Team as the company's 10th anniversary season is well underway with the first Mainstage production, "Lady Randy," running to rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre through May 5. Tickets are still available for the closing weekend of "Lady Randy."


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Hinsdale Man To Compete In Professional BBQ Competition

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Rinaldi with Myron Mixon, celebrity chef and four-time barbecue World Champion.
HINSDALE, Mass. — Professional barbecue teams from all over New England will compete at the Harpoon BBQ Festival in Windsor, Vt., on July 27-28, with hopes of being crowned the grand champion and earning a ticket to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue. 
And Berkshire County's own George Rinaldi will be among them.
Rinaldi, 54, of Hinsdale, has been competing on the professional Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned circuit for eight years. He and his family travel to six or seven competitions annually. They've been all over New England, as well as in New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas. At a typical event, competitors must deliver their entries in four categories (chicken, ribs, pork and brisket) to the master judges by pre-specified times — and not a second later.
Rinaldi's skills have earned many trophies, including a first-place prize for his Ribs Division win at a recent competition in New Jersey. 
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