Friday, February 24, 2012

Oddfellows Welcomes New Circus Director

Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce that Jason Leinwand (pictured) will lead the 24th Children’s Circus of Middletown.

Jason Leinwand joined the Children's Circus of Middletown in the summer of 1997. With a few breaks here and there, this upcoming year with be his 13th circus! From 1997-2001, and again from 2003-2006, Leinwand brought his skills as a studio artist to the Children’s Circus, where he served as the lead teaching artist on the Art Room. As a graduate of Wesleyan University and NYU with degrees in Studio Arts, Jason returned in 2009 as the Technical Director and Designer where he has remained until the present time.

Oddfellows is extremely excited to welcome Jason as the Director and he hopes to continue the tradition of leading the challenging, exciting and spectacular circus program that Middletown families have enjoyed for nearly 25 years.

The Children's Circus offers an exceptional program where the whole family, and the entire community, can get involved in the making of something uniquely inspiring. Leinwand is especially excited about the community focus of this arts program, “As the Technical Director I was fortunate to spend a lot of time building, paper macheing, painting, cutting watermelon and laughing with circus kids and their families during our bi-weekly tech sessions held in the evenings at the Remington Rand space.”

“In my opinion, this is the essence of what the circus is. It's a place where everyone is welcome to participate. The circus is a place where all of our individual skills are collaged together to create an unbelievable spectacle that everyone can be proud to be a part of. We become a community of artists and over time, one big circus family.”

The Children’s Circus of Middletown is a partnership between Oddfellows Playhouse, the City of Middletown and Middletown Commission of the Arts and is part of the Kids Arts program. The 5-week, half day program begins on July 2 and runs until the performance on August 3. During this time, students ages 8-14 are develop a variety of circus skills including juggling, unicycling, stilting, acrobatics, capoiera, balance and clowning. The program culminates in an outdoor circus performance in front of a crowd of nearly 1,500 people. Each year the circus explores a different theme, with recent circuses focusing on “In Your Dreams”, “Eat’s All Good” and last year’s “The Quest for the Golden Nose”.

What unique energy does Leinwand bring to this year’s Circus? “The Children's Circus is an exciting place year in and year out. I feel my main role as Director is to maintain a high energy level, a goofy demeanor, an open mind to the imaginations of others and an anything is possible attitude. I have had the great fortune of seeing many circus kids grow up and become amazing counselors, teaching artists and circus performers. As the Director, I look to be inspired by them. In essence, the collective circus experience of the staff far outweighs my own individual time with the circus and only together, as a community, can we fully unleash the full wackiness that is our cherished and beloved Children's Circus of Middletown!”

For more information on the program and how to register, visit or Registration forms are available at the City of Middletown Arts Office, Russell Library or Oddfellows Playhouse. Registration opens on March 1 to city residents. The program is $125 for Middletown residents and $250 for out of town students. Busing is available for Middletown students.

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