Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce that is has received a generous grant of $33,250 from the Middlesex United Way to support the 25th Children’s Circus of Middletown. The Middlesex United Way commitment to the Children’s Circus, in partnership with the City of Middletown Commission on the Arts, has been key to the community arts program’s ability to survive and thrive.
The Children’s Circus is a 5-week, half-day program for 150 children ages 8-14 that has become not only a huge local event but also a national model for nonprofit municipal partnerships. Over the five weeks, participants learn a huge variety of circus skills such as acrobatics, juggling, unicycling, stilt walking, clowning, and visual arts. After deciding on two areas of specialization, the participants train daily and perform for the camp at the end of each week. For the last two weeks of the program, the participants are cast into featured roles in a circus act, and rehearse these acts before performing in front of over 1,000 people. The performance features the live circus band of local musicians, original costumes and large scale scenic elements and puppets.
The Children’s Circus also brings students together with their parents. Twice per week “tech nights” offer circus staff, campers and parents the opportunity to get together and build, tape, paint and sew the costumes, props and technical elements of the Circus. “Parents get to spend quality time with their children, meet their new friends and share talents – I’ve seen parents amazed at the creativity of their children, and kids surprised at their parents’ artistic skills. It is hours that they are spending enjoying each other without the distraction of television and technology”, said Oddfellows Executive Director Matt Pugliese.
The Children’s Circus of Middletown is an exceptional community wide program where entire families come together to create this one-of-a-kind spectacle. Circus Director Jason Leinwand, now in his 2nd year as Director, comments often on spirit of community “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.”