The O Solo Mama Mia Festival opens Thursday in a pop-up theater in Pittsfield

O Solo Mama Mia, WAM Theatre’s festival of solo works written and performed by women, runs Thursday to Sunday, May 12 to 15, in a pop-up theater in the Storefront Artist Project space at 31 South Street in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The festival includes four theater pieces performed as double bills, as well as a group exhibition of artwork in all media, on view through May 28 in the Storefront Artist Project space.

WAM Theatre, founded in 2009 by Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck, not only produces lively contemporary woman-centric theater, but a portion of proceeds from WAM productions is given to philanthropic projects that benefit women; funds raised by O Solo Mama Mia will contribute to the training of at least one community midwife at Edna’s Hospital in Somaliland.

“We are delighted to share the work of these talented women theatre artists from our region and beyond. Their work covers such a range of topics: from group therapy to coming out, overcoming bullying, and surviving Hurricane Katrina,” state Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck, co-artistic directors of WAM Theatre.

The accompanying art exhibition, juried by Norman Rockwell Museum’s chief curator Stephanie Plunkett with Ginhoven and Strimbeck, contains artwork by a dozen artists, from painting and photography to video and installations, that addresses female empowerment, motherhood, identity, and culture.

Theater pieces to be performed in Pittsfield:

My Salvation has A First Name: A Wienermobile Journey, written and performed by comedian Robin Gelfenbein, is based on the true story of an insecure goody-goody who overcomes years of bullying and finds redemption and her true voice behind the windshield of the Wienermobile.

Writer and performer Leigh Hendrix links unique characters, personal story, and a Reba McEntire song in the mostly funny How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less, a dynamic workshop led by teacher and motivational speaker Butchy McDyke.

The one-woman group-therapy comedy about depression, Performing Therapy, written by Camilla Schade and Kira Lallas, and performed by Camilla Schade, is a sideways safari through loss, displacement, dementia, depression, and the surprise healing nature of upstate New York.

Hell and High Water or When the Sky Falls, a sharply satiric account of playwright Jamuna Yvette Sirker’s experience surviving the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Stories from Hell and High Water is a one-woman, solo version of Sirker’s full-length play, featuring actor Richarda Abrams as Teacher Alice along with six residents from her flooded New Orleans neighborhood:  a nurse, a jazz singer, a photographer, an out of work actor and the spirit of a bag lady.

WAM Theatre presents O Solo Mama Mia, May 12 to 15, at Storefront Artist Project, 31 South Street, Pittsfield, Mass. Shows are appropriate for ages 13 and up. To order tickets by phone, call 1-800-838-3006. To order tickets online, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/169090. For more information visit www.WAMTheatre.com.

Performance schedule:

Thursday, May 12, 7:30: My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey + How to be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less

Friday, May 13, 7:30: Performing Therapy + Stories of Hell and High Water

Saturday, May 14, 2: How to be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less + Performing Therapy

Saturday, May 14, 7:30: Stories of Hell and High Water + My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey

Sunday, May 15, 2: My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey + Performing Therapy

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