WAM Theatre Raises $3,225 with Online Play Reading
LENOX, Mass. — WAM Theatre's first online play reading raised $3,225 for the BRIDGE COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
The reading of "Campus Unrest," written by WAM Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, was presented via Zoom on Sunday, May 3. More than 180 audience members joined the reading, from around the USA, England, Canada and Germany, and many participated in the talk back with the playwright.
In line with WAM's mission of donating a portion of all box office proceeds to organizations that work to benefit the lives of women and girls in our Berkshire community and worldwide, the play reading has raised $3,225 for the BRIDGE COVID-19 Emergency Fund so far. BRIDGE, a grassroots organization in Berkshire County founded by Gwendolyn VanSant, is dedicated to advancing equity and justice by promoting cultural competence, positive psychology, and mutual understanding and acceptance. BRIDGE started the COVID-19 Emergency Fund at the beginning of this pandemic. The fund helps ensure that their constituents have what they need during this pandemic, including child and elder care, meals, fresh farm food, health supplies, masks, and technology enhancements.
Donors attending the WAM reading were asked to send their contributions directly to BRIDGE.. People who would like to support the fund can make a donation directly online here.
"Since the onset of the quarantine and limited work for families, BRIDGE has been immersed in activating and mobilizing resources in order to serve the more vulnerable Berkshire populations," said Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO and founding director. "The WAM community has joined us in this effort to support our BRIDGE network. Under Kristen’s and my leadership over the years, BRIDGE and WAM have served as each other’s mutual aid in advancing our missions of equity and justice. We are deeply grateful for this latest partnership as it directly nourishes our shared community in the most essential and basic human ways."
"With COVID 19 taking over our lives, WAM has taken the past few weeks to pause and reflect,” said Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM's producing artistic director. "This pandemic has made the inequities in our communities clearer than ever. As we await official guidelines for our next steps with live programming, our arts and activism mission stays intact with online events such as this inaugural reading to benefit BRIDGE's incredible COVID-19 efforts. We are grateful to WAM Board Member Ellen Ring for sponsoring 'Campus Unrest.' "
This online performance brought together an exciting ensemble of actors: Cuis ‘Bobby’ Hubens ("Pipeline," and recent Elliot Norton Award nominee), Rachel Siegel ("Special," "Swallow," "Can You Hear Me"), Joan Coombs ("Emilie…," "Escaped Alone"), and Maizy Scarpa ("Grand Concourse," "The Tall Girls," 24 Hour Theatre Project). WAM also welcomed two newcomers: Trenda Loftin (WAM Teaching Artist) and Daniel Rios. Every artist in this reading received an honorarium for participating.
"[It was] a total surprise to me how much I enjoyed it," WAM Board Member Toni Buckley said. “While I am experiencing virtual/Zoom fatigue, the WAM virtual play reading was refreshing and inspirational. I was able to lean back and enjoy professional theatre while relaxing in my hammock."
The script follows Mia, Kwame, and Darren as they arrived at a prestigious New England college in 2014 during a time of social upheaval. All the characters are determined to infuse their education with activism, but haunted by their own backgrounds and identities, as well as the actual specter of a beloved professor.
"By fall 2014, racial tensions in America were amplified by the increasing public coverage of police shootings of black people," said WAM's Associate Producing Director Lia Russell-Self, who stage managed the online reading. "Black Liberation Collectives sprang up on campuses throughout the United States staging sit-ins and protests. In 'Campus Unrest,' we see the slow burn combination that defined a time in the fight for racial justice."
"(This) seems like a great way to connect with a broader audience," said WAM audience member Andrea Stoller. "In the future I’ll encourage friends to participate so we can discuss afterwards via a Zoom cocktail party."
Visit WAM Theatre online for the most up-to-date information on WAM programs and events during COVID-19.
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