WAM Theater Commemorates Banned Books Week With Free Conversation Series

WAM Theater has announced a series of lively conversations with scholars, artists and community members that will tell the true stories of Black and Indigenous women who pioneered civil rights. These FREE events will be held across Berkshire County and in conjunction with the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield and Stockbridge Library. The series is presented as part of CADILLAC CREW’s upcoming WAM Theater production and is funded by the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation.

This special series of conversations takes place during Banned Books Week (September 18-24). The week is a timely effort to highlight the vital role of historically and currently banned books in school curricula, public education and access. The Erased Histories conversation series will feature scholars, artists, and community leaders telling true stories that are often missing from the history books. We invite you to join us to hear live, original accounts of stories that changed the face of history.

Our honored speakers will include: Indigenous Historian Heather Bruegl (Oneida/Stockbridge-Munsee), Onamuni Storyteller Jean Moss, Community Leader Gwendolyn VanSant (CEO and Founder of Multicultural BRIDGE), Professor Frances Jones-Sneed, Dr. Storyteller Reneé Hayes, inspirational speaker Amber Chand and artist/educator Nicole M. Young-Martin.

WAM Theater is delighted to partner with Berkshire County Libraries to present The Conversations in free, easily accessible public spaces. WAM’s partners on this series include Berkshire Athenaeum (Pittsfield, MA), Clark Art Institute Auditorium (Williamstown, MA) and the Stockbridge Library Association (Stockbridge, MA). We come together for Banned Book Week to celebrate the power of storytelling as a way to elevate voices that have historically been silenced.

“Libraries are constantly reviewing our responsibilities for preservation and access, so we are acutely aware of the dangers of intentional and unintentional erasure,” said Alex Reczkowski, Berkshire Athenaeum Library Director. “Last year, through poetry of erasure workshops with interdisciplinary poet and author S. Erin Batiste, we directly explored the concept of erasure, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to dig deeper into this. exploring with WAM.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with WAM Theater on this series of conversations highlighting erased histories,” said Wendy Pearson, Director of Stockbridge Library, in explaining the significance of Banned Books Week. “In 2021, the American Library Association received the most book challenges ever. These challenges primarily focused on books that address issues of racial justice, LGBTQ themes, and voices from the BIPOC community. Please join us for these timely challenges and important conversations.”

Will Schmenner, the new Director of Public Programs at the Clark Art Institute, echoed that sentiment, saying, “The Clark is thrilled to be collaborating with WAM during Banned Book Week in September. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to support local theater is also an important program that focuses our attention on censorship and justice.”

For more information on WAM Theater’s community engagement work and CADILLAC CREW production, please visit wamtheatre.com

About Stuart M. McFarland

Check Also

‘Busload of Books Tour’ joins Freeport’s Book Fairies to sort through book donations

Children’s book creators Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr took a detour from their cross-country trip …