Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oddfellows Announces Summer Programming




Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce its summer classes and programs for students ages 4-18.  Our programs cover a lot of ground, from circus to improve and playwrighting and allow students from 4 to 18 to develop their creativity and build life skills such as public speaking, teamwork, cooperation and self-discipline.

Little Fellows: The World and Work of Mo Willems (ages 4-7)
August 6-17, Monday –Friday, 9:00am-3:30pm
Tuition: $350

Join Oddfellows as we explore the very busy world of Mo Willems, author and illustrator of “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale”, “Pigeon Wants a Puppy” and the Elephant and Piggy books.  Working with professional teaching artists, your child will be at the center of the action, writing, acting, paining and creating a new story inspired by the work of the beloved author and illustrator.  Before and after-care options are available to extend the day to fit with parents’ work schedules.

The 24th Children's Circus of Middletown (ages 8-14)
July 2-Aug 3, Monday – Friday,
9:00am-11:30am or 12:30-3:00pm
Tuition: $125 for Middletown Residents, $250 for Non-Residents


Participants will have the opportunity to learn acrobatics, juggling, clowning, stilting, unicycling, capoeira and visual art over 5 weeks, and create a spectacular outdoor circus performance for a crowd of over 1,000.  The program is a partnership between the City of Middletown and Oddfellows Playhouse and takes place at Macdonough School in Middletown.

Improv Boot Camp (Ages: 14-19)
Instructor: Peter Loffredo
Dates: 7/16 - 7/20
Time: 6-9pm
Performance: Friday 7/20 - 7:30pm
Tuition: $300


Improvisation is the fun and spontaneous art of acting without a script. Students work in the format of theatre games or short-form scenes that address important theatre skills such as listening, making clear and active choices, timing, and teamwork. Games encourage students to ‘be in the moment’ and to make spontaneous character and conflict choices, and learn what sustains those choices for the length of the scene.  Improv training will encourage students to “actively listen” to and to work with their partner to successfully create an Improv with a discernable beginning, middle and an end, and help introduce the idea of observation to help develop character choices and to expand actors personal range and repertoire.  The week-long boot camp will end with a Friday evening performance for the public.

Playwrighting Workshop
Ages: 14-19
Instructor: Kristen Palmer
Dates: July 9 - July 13
Time: 6:00 - 9:00pm
Tuition: $300


Whether you are embarking on your writing your first play or sharpening your skills, this week-long intensive will provide you with the tools to not only tell a great story, but create a producible play.  In this class, experienced playwright Kristen Palmer will help you develop skills such as building structure, crafting a plot, dialogue, setting, and theme, and format.  All week you will be focusing on your writing and be receiving constructive feedback from the instructor.  A combination of lecture, writing exercises, and class discussion will help you grow and learn.

KRISTEN PALMER is a member of the 2010–12 Women’s Project Theatre Lab and a 2010–11 Dramatists Guild Fellow. She received an Individual Artist Grant from the State of Connecticut and the 2008–09 Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center. Her plays include The Melting Point, Local Story, The Heart in Your Chest, Departures, and Gloucester Point. They have been produced around the country including New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington DC and New Haven. She is an associate artist of New Georges, a Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab Alumni, associate playwright of P73 Productions, and a former company member of Printer’s Devil Theatre in Seattle. She is a graduate of Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire, England and studies with Tina Howe at Hunter College.


For more information on programs, to register for classes or to purchase tickets to performances, call Oddfellows at (860) 347-6143 or log onto www.oddfellows.org. 

About Oddfellows Playhouse:
Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown.   For more than 35 years Oddfellows Playhouse has been more than just a performing arts program.  It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of 1,500 young people each year by using the arts as tools to build self-confidence, communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world in which we live.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the CT Department of Education, the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, Middlesex United Way, The Stare Fund, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Pratt & Whitney, the Irving Kohn Foundation and the Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund.  Media support is provided by Comcast and WESU 88.1FM.



Friday, May 18, 2012

Arts Explorers Program Culminates in Exhibition

Oddfellows Playhouse's Arts Explorers program completed its third fantastic year on Wednesday evening with a public exhibition of their work, including dance performance, writing and visual art.  The program is a collaboration between the Playhouse and the Middletown Youth Service Bureau.

In the Arts Explorers, Woodrow Wilson Middle School students, working under the mentorship of artists Kate Rushin (Writing), Joel Teixidor (Dance) and Renee Soares (Visual Arts), focused exclusively on visual arts, dance, or writing, developing a performance piece, works of art for a gallery exhibit, or a literary project that can be read or published.  Middletown High School Dragons-in-Action serve as teaching assistants, guiding the younger students and participating in each art form as a peer example.

The Arts Explorers began the year by having first hand exposure to professional arts exhibitions in each area of dance, visual art and writing visiting the Wesleyan CFA, Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery and the Hartford Public Library Art Work and Archive.   Between October and May they have been exposed to, learned and honed skills and styles in their particular art forms.

“The Arts Explorers program wouldn’t exist without the help of many other people and organizations and their commitment to keeping it going.  The program was originally funded in 2008 by an Underserved Youth Pilot grant from the State of CT’s Commission on Culture and Tourism.  As the state money went away, organizations like the Middlesex United Way, Middletown Youth Service Bureau, Liberty Bank Foundation, American Savings Foundation, Fund for Greater Hartford, George A and Grace L. Long Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Fund and Elizabeth Carse Foundation stepped in or stepped up their support to keep this successful program alive.  We have these community organizations and their leadership to thank for this positive program” said Oddfellows’ Executive Director Matt Pugliese.

The final project is an open exhibition of their works, showcased in a professional style and given the support and atmosphere of a curated art exhibit.  Visual arts include painting in acrylics and oils, multimedia mask-making, drawing, and mixed media constructions; literary pieces ranged from poetry to short stories, dance ranged from Africa Gum Boot to Bollywood. 

An important aspect of the program is job training.  Students are expected to treat the program with the same responsibility as a job, earning money for attendance and being docked pay for each missed class.  Over the course of the program students can earn up to $200 dollars.  “The money is not the primary outcome, but instead a motivator to develop important life skills around responsibility and work ethic” said Program Coordinator Joanna Perricone.  The sales from the final exhibition benefit the individual artists.  The students’ book sales, dance box office earnings, and visual art receipts are part of the educational process of working as a professional artist.  The final exhibition was well-attended by family, friends, teachers and community leaders. 

About Oddfellows Playhouse:
Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown.   For more than 35 years Oddfellows Playhouse has been more than just a performing arts program.  It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of 1,500 young people each year by using the arts as tools to build self-confidence, communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world in which we live.

Oddfellows’ programs are made possible by major support from CT State Department of Education, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, Middlesex United Way, The Stare Fund, Pratt & Whitney, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Tower Labs and Daphne Sebolt Culpeper Foundation.   Media support provided by Comcast and WESU 88.1FM.