Monday, December 13, 2010

Neighborhood Troupes & Arts Explorers

Several foundations have awarded generous grants to Oddfellows' Neighborhood Troupes/Arts Explorers program in 2010-11. The Elizabeth Carse Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Fund and George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation all awarded grants this month to the 23 year old program.

In 2010-11, Oddfellows is collaborating with the Middletown public school system to hold the Neighborhood Troupes after-school program in Bielefield and Farm Hill Elementary Schools. This allows us to streamline our transportation costs by using the late buses at the schools. Oddfellows’ Troupes leaders and their student teaching assistants meet their Troupes at the schools one afternoon a week to work on activities that build performing arts and life skills. Bielefield School has one Oddfellows Troupe each for grades K-2 and 3-5; Farm Hill has two Troupes for these same grades.. The Troupes are still Oddfellows, but now in locations that we hope will better serve our students.

In an effort to keep at-risk middle-school students engaged, Oddfellows has integrated its innovative Arts Explorers program of in-depth arts training and job readiness with the Troupes this year. Giving this Troupe for ages 12-15 a distinct name and focus gives the youngsters a sense of maturity and transitioning to ad[EB3] ulthood. The 35 Arts Explorers Troupe members are from Keigwin and Woodrow Wilson Middle Schools. Students meet at the Playhouse one evening a week, and work exclusively with a professional artist on visual art, writing, or dance. Arts Explorers is a partnership with Middletown Youth Services, which provides extra support for the teens at the school level.

The Troupes and Arts Explorers expand the world view of young people who need extra support to grow up to be successful adults. These programs continue to serve Oddfellows’ mission and remain among our highest priorities.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roof Update

After years of unexpected leaks, overflowing buckets, and stop-gap measures, Oddfellows’ roof was beyond repair, and the situation was critical. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous friend of Oddfellows, the Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, and dozens of you, we now have a new roof. An energy audit pinpointed heat loss areas, and we had 3” of rigid foam insulation installed under the new roof to raise its R value. We now have architectural shingles on the Playhouse’s sloping front roof and a white/gray rubber EPDM membrane that decreases summer heat gain and lowers cooling costs on the two flat roofs in the rear. Best of all, no one will get wet in Oddfellows’ theater. Thanks to all of you for helping us “hold up our biggest umbrella”—our roof.

At this time, you have helped us raise $29,415 out of the $33,230 it costs to repair Oddfellows' roof!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life of Galileo - Final Weekend

“The Life of Galileo”, by Bertolt Brecht, is not simply a biographic play about a famous scientist. This is a drama about the progress of science in our world and the struggle for truth. The Teen Repertory Company succeeds wildly in staging Brecht's epic play, which poses questions about knowledge and power that are still relevant today. Catch this fantastic production onstage this weekend.

Performances are Friday and Saturday December 10-11 at Oddfellows Playhouse. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. The running time is 90 minutes, and the show is performed without an intermission. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (860) 347-6143 or by e-mail at

Photos by Ofer Levy.