LENOX, MA (September 15, 2021) — WAM Theatre is excited to present the US premiere of KAMLOOPA: AN INDIGENOUS MATRIARCH STORY by Kim Senklip Harvey, winner of Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award for English Language Drama, directed by Estefanía Fadul (WAM’s Native Gardens, The Oregon Trail). COVID safe live performances of this new comedy, will be presented at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox, MA, from October 7-24. A digital streaming version of the production will also be available in the United States only from November 1-7. Tickets are on sale now.
“When I read KAMLOOPA, I got goosebumps and knew immediately that it was a play our WAMily would love,” exclaimed WAM Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven. ”With its magical realism, its heart, its activism and its ceremony, KAMLOOPA is the perfect play to close out our 2021 season.”
Come along for the ride to KAMLOOPA, the largest powwow on the West Coast. This high energy comedy follows two urban Indigenous sisters and their encounter with a lawless trickster, as they explore what it means to honor who they are and where they come from. Follow their journey in this captivating, contemporary new play, as the courageous sisters turn to the ancestors for help to reclaim their power.
The play opens on Indigenous People’s Weekend, and in line with WAM’s philanthropic mission and accountability work, a portion of proceeds from KAMLOOPA will be donated to women and girls initiatives of the Cultural Affairs office of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Tribe, upon whose lands WAM lives and works.
Harvey is Syilx and Tsilhqot’in with Ancestral ties to the Dakelh, Secwepemc, and Ktunaxa communities. In May 2021, she became the first Indigenous playwright to win Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award for English Language Drama. The judges said: “The brilliance, the irreverence, the fire of KAMLOOPA sweeps us into the world of three Indigenous women on a mind-bending quest. The audience is seduced by the love, humour and depth of these matriarchs as they embrace and celebrate who they are in the world and with each other.”
Playwright Kim Senklip Harvey explains: “I created KAMLOOPA to ignite the power that lives within Indigenous femmes and peoples. This transformation story is an offer for all of us to be bold and passionate about having the courage to fully become ourselves.”
Director Estefanía Fadul agrees, stating that: “WAM’s mission of combining arts and activism and creating theatre that centers women could not align more with my own work. I am grateful to call WAM one of my artistic homes and am excited to return to direct Kim’s beautifully visceral play. From the moment I read it, the journey of the three women at the heart of the story, as they struggle to define their identities within a diaspora, resonated deeply with me. It’s a story of sisters, of coming into one’s own power, and finding one’s place within a larger community. It is told with so much joy, heart, and imagination, and I cannot wait to share it with audiences.”
Three Indigenous actors are making their WAM Theatre debuts in KAMLOOPA. Sarah B. Dennison (Soledad at the American Indian Community House in partnership with Carnegie Hall; The Assasination of J Kaaisar at Theatre for the New City), a New York-based actor, writer, and director, originally from the Spokane Reservation, will be playing the role of Kilawna. Jasmine Rochelle Godspeed (Leonora’s World and the touring production of Leonora and Aljehandro in collaboration with Double Edge Theatre) a Massachusetts based Native American actor and playwright from the Nipmuc Nation will be playing Indian Friend #1 (Edith), and Ria Nez (Mother Courage and Her Children and The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot both at the Frederick Loewe Theater), an Indigenous (Nahautl) actress, director and artist based in New York, will play Mikaya.
Returning artists include company dramaturg Tatiana Godfrey; Stage Manager Amanda Nita Luke, who served in the same capacity this season for WAM’s online reading of The Light; and costume designer Calypso Michelet, who was the Assistant Costume Designer for WAM’s 2020 streaming production of ROE. Making their WAM debuts on this production are lighting designer Emma Deane, sound designer Caroline Eng, and costume designer Lux Haac, whose work was last seen in the Berkshires in Barrington Stage Company’s 2018 production of Well Intentioned White People.
For tickets to the live performance or digital stream of KAMLOOPA please call (413) 637-3353 or visit WAM online here. For more information about the 2021 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
KAMLOOPA: AN INDIGENOUS MATRIARCH STORY
by Kim Senklip Harvey
Directed by Estefanía Fadul
Sarah B. Dennison as Kilawna
Jasmine Rochelle Goodspeed as Indian Friend #1 (Edith)
Ria Nez as Mikaya
Emma Deane, Lighting Design
Caroline Eng, Sound Design
Tatiana Godfrey, Dramaturg
Lux Haac, Costume Design
Amanda Nita Luke, Stage Manager
Calypso Michelet, Scenic Design
Presented live at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox, MA
October 7-24, 2021
Tickets on sale now!
Available for digital streaming (US only) November 1-7, 2021
For tickets call (413) 637-3353 or visit WAM online at https://www.wamtheatre.com/showsandevents/kamloopa/.
Thurs. Oct 7- 7pm (preview)
Fri. Oct 8 – 7pm (preview)
Sat. Oct 9 – 3pm (preview)
Sat. Oct 9 – 7pm (OPENING)
Thurs, Oct 14 – 10am
Fri, Oct 15 – 3pm
Sat, Oct 16 – 7pm
Sun, Oct 17 – 3pm
Thurs, Oct 21 – 7pm
Fri, Oct 22 – 7pm
Sat, Oct 23 – 7pm
Sun, Oct 24 3pm (CLOSING)
In line with WAM’s philanthropic mission and accountability work, a portion of proceeds from KAMLOOPA will be donated to women and girls initiatives of the Cultural Affairs office of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Tribe, upon whose lands WAM lives and works.
The performance runs 90-minutes.
AUDIENCE ADVISORY: KAMLOOPA explores themes of Native erasure, Indigenous stereotypes, and intergenerational trauma through hilarious and contemporary dialogue. Due to the use of profanity, drinking, and thematic elements listed above, WAM recommends this play for audiences high school aged and older.
For more information about KAMLOOPA and the artists, please visit https://www.wamtheatre.com/showsandevents/kamloopa/
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Kim Senklip Harvey (she/her) is Syilx, and Tsilhqot’in with Ancestral ties to the Dakelh, Secwepemc and Ktunaxa communities. She is a Indigenous Theorist, Cultural Evolutionist and storyteller whose work focuses on the ignition of Indigenous power and innovating methodological processes with artistic sovereignty to create joy centered narratives that nourish the spirits of peoples oppressed by the imperial state. Kim creates artistic ceremonies to protect and evolve Indigenous cultures and believes that stories are the most powerful tool we have to provide every organism the opportunity to live peacefully. Kim is currently working on a tv adaptation of Kamloopa, 2021 winner of Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award for Drama. She is completing her first book entitled Interiors: Love Stories from a Salish Plateau Dirtbag and is in the creation of her next artistic ceremony Break Horizons: A Rocking Indigenous Justice Ceremony. She is in her final year of her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Victoria and all of her work is with respect to her Ancestors and for the future generations, whom we owe so much. Connect: www.kimsenklipharvey.com
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Estefanía Fadul (she/her) is a Colombian-born, New Hampshire-raised, NYC-based theatre director primarily of new work. WAM Theatre: director of Kamloopa, previously directed Fresh Takes readings of Native Gardens and The Oregon Trail Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Azul (Southern Rep), Scissoring (INTAR), The Same Day (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), Pranayama (Juilliard), Agent 355 (Chautauqua) Selected Assistant Directing credits: ToasT (Public Theater), The Clean House (Williamstown), Iphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company) Selected developmental work: Maybe You Should Just (Public Theater), Let Night Fall on the Côte d’Azur (Long Wharf), Derecho (Latinx Playwrights Circle), Lyons Pride (Playwrights Realm). Film/TV: shadow to the director on CBS’ Doubt Membership/Affiliations: Center for Performance and Civic Practice, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Drama League Directors Council, New Georges Jam, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Alumna of: Drama League Directors Project Fall and TV Fellowships, O’Neill National Directors Fellowship, Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, Foeller Fellowship at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, Civilians’ R&D Group, NALAC Leadership Institute. Training: Vassar College (BA) Awards/proudest achievements: Awards: New York Stage and Film Pfaelzer Award. One of my proudest achievements is creating Carla’s Quince, an immersive virtual theatre experience to mobilize the Latinx vote in the last election. Connect: www.estefaniafadul.com
ABOUT THE CAST
Sarah B. Denison (she/her) is a NYC based actor, writer, and director, originally from the Spokane Reservation. Current role with WAM: Kilawna in Kamloopa. WAM Theatre: Debut. Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Dora in Soledad (American Indian Community House in partnership with Carnagie Hall, NYC); Octavia in The Assasination of J Kaaisar (Theatre for the New City, NYC) Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream (LoveCreek Productions, NYC); Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, directed by Patty Duke (InterPlayers Theatre, WA; for which she earned a critics choice award “Best Actress”) Film & TV Credits: Natalie in the feature Snowflake (Necessary Outlet Productions, NYC); Becky in Grave Mysteries (Discovery ID); Other Credits & Training: Sarah received her BA in Theatre from Eastern Washington University. She is the Co-Founder of From the Couch Theatre (NYC) (fromthecouchtheatre.com); she has studied Linklater for voice with the NYC Linklater Center; performed and directed with the New Short Play Festival (NSPF); performed sketch at The Producers Club NYC; performed and directed with LoveCreek Productions NYC; done readings with Amerinda Theatre (NYC) and Safe Harbor Indigenous Collective (in partnership LaMama Theatre, NYC); studied sketch writing with UCB (NYC); studied Uta Hagen at HB Studios (NYC); and is trained in Shakespeare and Chekhov. In addition to theatre, she’s a 200hr certified yoga instructor and a founding member of the Bread and Yoga Cooperative (NYC). She is a fierce animals rights advocate (Go Vegan!) and really, really, really loves goats and dogs and pigs. Connect: Instagram @sarahbdenison.actor; YouTube Channel(s): Silly Me, I’m Sarah B. and SarahBDenison; sarahbdenison.com
Jasmine Rochelle Goodspeed (she/they) is a Massachusetts based Native American actor and playwright from the Nipmuc Nation. Having produced and written a musical titled 1675 about the Tragedy of King Philip’s War and Deer Island at Umass Amherst, Jasmine aspires to create theatre that uplifts Native stories. Her passion lies in classical and musical theatre. Current Role with WAM: Edith/IFN1 in Kamloopa WAM Theatre: debut. Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Jasmine was a featured artist as both an actor and director in the 2020 NYC Safe Harbors Native Directors showcase, as well as projects with the group throughout the pandemic. Pre-Pandemic, Jasmine was in collaboration with Double Edge Theatre for both Leonora’s World (2019) and the touring production of Leonora and Aljehandro (2020). Some past roles also include: Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress, Louisa in The Fantastiks, and Eliza in My Fair Lady. Selected training: University of Massachusetts, Amherst (BA in Theatre, & English), Five College Certificate in Native American Studies. Training at AMDA NYC.
Ria Nez (she/her) is an Indigenous (Nahautl) actress, director and artist based in New York City. Current role with WAM: Mikaya in Kamloopa WAM Theatre: Debut Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Mother Courage and Her Children (Frederick Loewe Theater), The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot (Frederick Loewe Theater), Sea Level Rise (Broadway Bound Festival, Theatre Row), Buenas Noches Mama (Tacoma Little Theatre), Mind The Gap (New York Theatre Workshop) Additional artistic credits: Directing: Proof (Goldberg Studio), Traveling Through Trauma (Goldberg Studio), Film Directing: Night Night (The Sequestered Short Film Festival) Creative inspiration: Art, films and the people in my life help shape how I see the world and inspire me to create a more welcoming one. Community Engagement/Activist work: Through social media I try to spread awareness of the injustices that happen throughout the entire world. Selected training: Hunter College (BA in Theater), Peter Brook/NY Workshop Awards/proudest achievements: The Robert LoBianco Undergraduate Theatre Scholarship and The Patty and Jay Baker Acting Award Final word: Pialli (Hello) and Tlazocamati (Thank you) for sharing in our art. Connect: Instagram @Rianezacts
WAM 2021 Sponsors
WAM Theatre is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act for the National Endowment for the Arts.
WAM’s current sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Roots, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Blue Q, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Chez Nous, Downright Pro, The Dylandale Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, Lake House Inn, Lee Bank, Lee Bank Foundation, Only in my Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, Prix Fixe, RB Design Co., The Rookwood Inn, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, and a. von schlegell & co.
WAM Theatre’s 2021 Season is also supported in part by grants from The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Mass Humanities, and the Scarlet Sock Foundation; as well as grants from the Dalton Cultural Council, Lee Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, and the Otis Cultural Council.
ABOUT WAM THEATRE
WAM Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Berkshire County, MA, that operates at the intersection of arts and activism. WAM creates theatre for gender equity and has a vision of theatre as philanthropy.
In fulfillment of its philanthropic mission, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from their Mainstage productions to carefully selected beneficiaries. Since WAM’s founding in 2010, they have donated more than $80,000 to 22 local and global organizations taking action for gender equity in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training, and more.
In addition to Mainstage productions and special events, WAM’s activities include innovative community engagement programs and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. To date, WAM has provided paid work to more than 500 theatre artists, the majority of whom are female-identifying.
As a civic organization that embraces intersectional feminism (feminism that acknowledges how multiple forms of discrimination overlap), WAM understands that to address one piece of systemic discrimination means we have to address them all. This is on-going personal and professional work at WAM for the staff and board, detailed in their recently released accountability plan.
WAM Theatre has been widely recognized for having a positive impact on cultural and community development in the region. WAM is the recipient of the Creative Economy Standout Berkshire Trendsetter Award and previously, was named Outstanding Philanthropy Corporation of the Year by the Western MA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Producing Artistic Director, was honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented at the discretion of the BTCA Board to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County.
For more information, visit www.WAMTheatre.com