LENOX, MA (April 25, 2023) – In accordance with their unique mission of arts as activism, WAM Theatre is thrilled to announce that a portion of the box office for their spring production, a special co-production with Berkshire Theatre Group of What The Constitution Means To Me, will be donated to Elizabeth Freeman Center. The production runs May 18th through June 3 at The Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. Tickets are on sale now, and a portion of all sales goes to the lifesaving and vital work of Elizabeth Freeman Center.
“We are honored to be the recipient of a portion of WAM’s proceeds for What the Constitution Means to Me,” Executive Director Janis Broderick said. “Elizabeth Freeman Center envisions a community free from domestic and sexual violence in which all people live in safety and justice with dignity, and we are fortunate to be able to do this work with the support of great community partners like WAM and Berkshire Theatre Group.”
The Elizabeth Freeman Center provides lifesaving, life renewing hope, help and healing to survivors of domestic, dating and sexual violence and their families of Berkshire County. They have a 24/7 toll-free hotline number (1-866-401-2425), offices in North Adams, Pittsfield and Great Barrington, staff available in four county courts, two police stations and Berkshire County Kids’ Place. Promoting social justice and working to end all forms of oppression are essential to their work. Each year, the Elizabeth Freeman Center reaches 5,000 people throughout Berkshire County.
“One of the important arcs of the play is around the main character’s journey to understand the impact of domestic violence on her matrilineal line,” states Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Founding Artistic Director who is directing What The Constitution Means to Me. “Heidi sees her journey to come to understanding as part of what she calls in the play her ‘ancestor’s errand’. Given that, it immediately was clear that the Elizabeth Freeman Center should be the recipient for this co-production.”
Each year since its inception in 2010, WAM has donated a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales from their main stage production to an organization(s) whose mission connects to the theme of the play.. Even at the height of the pandemic when productions moved online, WAM remained committed to fulfilling this key element of their mission. They are thrilled that for What The Constitution Means To Me, Berkshire Theatre Group will join them in making a gift to Elizabeth Freeman Center in honor of their wonderful work especially with women and girls of Berkshire county.
“Berkshire Theatre Group understands that fundamental to its designation as a not-for-profit organization in the state of Massachusetts is a focus to serve, to educate and better its community,” said Kate Maguire, BTG Artistic Director and CEO.
For many years, BTG has sponsored children as part of its arts in education program that serves over 10,0000 area school children with scholarships for outreach programs. Like WAM, BTG often gives a portion of sales to sister organizations. BTG provides for area food and clothing drives and has given portions of sales over the past two years to Black Theatre United. For its upcoming production of Moana Jr, the theatre will donate to Oceana. From 2020 through 2022, BTG was honored to receive the Encore Award annually from The Actors Fund, not only for the portions of sales that the theatre committed to the Fund, but for “demonstrating compassion and dedication to everyone in the entertainment community who brings the performing arts to our stages.
“BTG is honored to join WAM and to once again give a portion of its ticket sales to the extraordinary work of the Elizabeth Freeman Center,” Maguire shared..
Over the years WAM has connected with over 25 organizations and donated over $85,000. They’ve focused primarily on supporting Berkshires-based organizations, but when the fit with the play is right they have also partnered with national and even international organizations — such as the Mother of Peace Orphanage in South Africa and Edna Adan Hospital in Somaliland. Each year this commitment to giving back grows stronger and evolves.
“The Elizabeth Freeman Center is on the front lines for families and individuals, especially those identifying as women and girls, here in Berkshire County.” said Molly Merrihew, WAM Managing Director. “They are the major safety net in our community for survivors seeking safety and opportunity, and their work has only become more vital since the pandemic. We feel honored to highlight their work and to help sustain this important community resource.”
The Elizabeth Freeman Center was selected as the recipient by WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group for the many services they offer that uplift the Berkshire Community. The center offers an array of free, adaptable and confidential services, including a 24/7 hotline with immediate emergency services for people in danger or who just want information for themselves or someone they know. The center also offers counseling and support, help with protection orders and safety needs, shelter, safe supervised visitation, and advocacy including on money and housing issues. Additionally, offering a financial independence initiative “Money School”. The organization specializes in services for immigrant, LGBTQ, and child survivors, and survivors with disabilities, and their youth educators go into schools and talk about healthy relationships and provide sex education.
Your ticket purchase contributes to uplifting the Elizabeth Freeman Center while sustaining two Berkshire Arts organizations telling an impactful story of family maternal-lines and human rights and that centers those identifying as women and girls. WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group are proud to offer equitable seating for this production and encourage patrons to select the ticket price that best fits their needs. Tickets range from $26-$96. WAM invites audience members to choose from one of the suggested price levels, while keeping in mind that the higher ticket price you are able to select, the more we will be able to donate to the Elizabeth Freeman Center. WAM Theatre and BTG also offer group tickets (for groups of ten or more) and $5 for EBT card holders.
Tickets to the performances of What the Constitution Means to Me are now on sale. To purchase tickets, visit wamtheatre.com or BerkshireTheatreGroup.org or contact The Colonial Theatre Ticket Office by calling 413-997-4444.
For in person purchasing, the ticket office is open Tuesday through Sunday, 12pm-5pm, or on any performance day from 12pm until curtain. BTG’s Pittsfield Campus is located at 111 South Street (The Colonial Theatre) in Pittsfield, MA.
For more information about the 2023 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit wamtheatre.com
AT A GLANCE
What the Constitution Means to Me
A Co-Production with WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group written by Heidi Schreck directed by Kristen van Ginhoven
At Berkshire Theatre Group’s Larry Vaber Stage at The Unicorn Theatre, 6 East Street, Stockbridge, MA.
Previews: Thurs., May 18 at 7pm; Friday, May 19 at 7pm; Saturday, May 20 at 7pm
Opening/Press Night: Sunday, May 21 at 2pm
Sensory Friendly: Wednesday, May 31 at 6pm
Closing: Saturday, June 3 at 7pm
Tickets: $26 – $96: Friend: $26 Standard: $56 Supporter: $96
Sensory Friendly Tickets: $15
For more information visit wamtheatre.com.
ABOUT THE PLAY
Fifteen-year-old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. Addressing themes such as women’s rights, immigration, domestic abuse, and the history of the United States, this timely and galvanizing play became a sensation off-Broadway before transferring to Broadway where it received two Tony Award nominations, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama among countless other accolades.
ABOUT ELIZABETH FREEMAN CENTER
Since 1974 Elizabeth Freeman Center (EFC) has provided leadership and services to address domestic and sexual violence in Berkshire County. Every day, 24 hours a day, EFC confronts the life and death issues faced by people experiencing or affected by domestic abuse and sexual assault. EFC is are the front line and major safety net in our community for victims seeking safety and a new life. Elizabeth Freeman Center offers hope, help, and healing to all experiencing or affected by domestic and sexual violence through free, accessible, and confidential services in Berkshire County. We work to end the cycle of violence through community mobilization, advocacy, and education. Promoting social justice and working to end all forms of oppression are essential to our work.
ABOUT BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP
The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires. In 2010, under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, the two organizations merged to form Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG). Berkshire Theatre Group’s mission is to support wide ranging artistic exploration and acclaimed performances in theatre, dance, music and entertainment. Every year, BTG produces and presents performances to over 68,000 attendees and, through our Educational Program, serves over 11,000 Berkshire County school children annually. In July 2020, Berkshire Theatre was the first company in the United States to earn approval from Actors’ Equity Association to produce a musical (Godspell) in the wake of the COVID-19
WAM’s sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Blue Q., Berkshire Roots, Blue Spark Financial, BRAVA, Downright Pro, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Garden Gables Inn, Guidos Fresh Marketplace, Mill Town Foundation, Inc., MILL TOWN FOUNDATION, INC. Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins Attorneys at Law, Interprint, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, Prix Fixe, RB Design Co., T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, a. von schlegell & co, and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.
WAM Theatre is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). WAM Theatre’s 2022 Season was also supported in part by grants from Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Bradson Education & Library Foundation, The Feigenbaum Foundation, Lee Bank Foundation, Scarlet Sock Foundation, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant; as well as grants from the Dalton Cultural Council, Lee Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, Northern Berkshire Cultural Council, Otis Cultural Council, Sandisfield Cultural Council, and Washington 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 $85,000 to 25 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