Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fall Class Registration Now Open

Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce its Fall 2013 Programming.  The youth theater, which provides afterschool and weekend theatrical programming, is excited to unveil its programmatic offerings under the guidance and direction of Artistic Director Kristen Palmer.  Oddfellows’ programs use theatre as a vehicle to build essential life skills, while exploring highly educational and creative themes and plays.

“This year at Oddfellows Playhouse young actors and audiences will travel back through time and deep into the wilds of the imagination with the productions and classes led by tremendously talented teaching artists and artistic staff. We’re excited to welcome back our students and see new faces in the theater this season!”  - Kristen Palmer, Artistic Director.

The Fall Session runs for 8 weeks, with programs beginning the week of October 14 and concluding the week of December 9.  There are no classes held the week of Thanksgiving.   There are skill building classes on weekday afternoons and on Saturday mornings for students from pre-K -5th grade.  Skill building classes are ideal for students looking to get onstage for the first time, and also for the more focused students looking to sharpen their talents.  Mini-productions meet twice per week and offer a more focused rehearsal process putting together a short play. 

Highlights for the fall include the Story Starters (Grades 2-3) Mini-production of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.  Students will create characters and explore the stories of Shel Silverstein’s wild poems for young people.   Young actors will develop imagination and focus on bringing their ideas to life on-stage while they work together to create a memorable performance from Silverstein’s unforgettable poems.

The Kids Company (grades 4-5) will stage the Mini-Production: The Mystery Of… Creating characters and a story built from popular children’s detective literature, young actors will collaborate on an original mystery while they develop performance skills, story-building and explore their own ideas and creativity through theatre.  Exciting skill building classes at this level include The Actor’s Toolbox and Ensemble: Improvisation on Saturday mornings. 

One of the biggest changes in the Playhouse schedule is a full scale-production for students in grades 3-5 of “For Feet’s Sake” by Krista Knight.  A wildly imaginative adaptation of Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.  The production will be onstage June 6-7, 2014.  Students must meet the pre-requisite requirements in order to be cast, which include taking part in either a fall or winter session Mini-Production or take two skill building classes during the 2013-14 season. 

The Junior Repertory Company (grades 6-8) will stage The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet from November 14-16, 2013. Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo & Juliet meets the whimsical rhythms of Dr. Seuss in this fast paced tongue-twister of a comedy by Peter Bloedel.  Young actors will get to sink their teeth into broadly comic characters, deliciously fun word play and be part of an exciting main-stage production.  Rehearsals begin the week of September 16, 2013 for students in grades 6-8. Additional classes for students in grades 6-8 are offered in the area of Technical Theater, Acrobatics, and Musical Theater: Acting While Singing – a great way to prepare for the winter production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (April 10-12, 2014).

The Teen Repertory Company (grades 9-12) is an opportunity for adventurous, committed teenagers to experience cutting-edge theater in a supportive, challenging and non-competitive environment.  The company takes on mature, thought-provoking work with bold energy and high artistic standards.  Skill building classes in scene study and monologue preparation, circus and stagecraft, as well as private coaching, are available.

The Teen Repertory Company follows with the Tony-Award winning musical OLIVER! By Lionel Bart.  Victorian London comes alive in this musical adaptation of Dicken’s classic.  Orphaned Oliver, abandoned to the workhouse, is sold into servitude, escapes to a den of thieves, is momentarily rescued by a wealthy benefactor and must navigate a hostile world with wits and courage.  Classic songs, indelible characters and a rich world will offer an entertaining and engaging show this holiday season, with performances December 5-17, 2013.   The production is a multi-generational show involving Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company and adult actors, in partnership with CT Heritage Productions.   Auditions for students in grades 9-12 and adults are September 16 and 18 from 7-9pm.

Pre-Audition workshop will be held on September 11th from 7-9pm and will be a fun introduction to the artistic staff, and the songs, dances and story of the play. Actors planning to audition – or even just considering it – are encouraged to attend.

Auditions will be Monday September 16 or Wednesday September 18 for OLIVER!  from 7-9pm at the Playhouse.

To register for classes and for more information visit

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Auditions for Circus in Wonderland

Oddfellows Playhouse and ARTFARM announce auditions for the 2013-14 cast of Circophony, a touring youth circus company co-sponsored by the two Middletown-based theater groups. Young people ages twelve to eighteen are invited to audition to join the cast of this year’s show, Circus in Wonderland.

Auditions will be held Tuesday, September 10, 6 – 8 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown.

Circophony is a select youth circus company committed to providing first class training to aspiring circus artists while creating exciting new performances which will tour to schools, clubs, fairs, corporate events and festivals. Young people selected for the Company will receive a rigorous combination of circus training, physical conditioning and rehearsal/production experience. Members are expected to arrive punctually, attend all rehearsals and performances, work hard, be strong team players, and train independently outside of rehearsals.
Circophony is open to young people ages twelve to eighteen. Prior circus experience is not required. If you do not have circus experience, a background in dance, gymnastics, theater, cheerleading, parkour, hooping, magic or serious physical activity is helpful. The show is directed by ARTFARM’s Executive Director Dic Wheeler, who has been performing, directing and teaching circus in the United States and Europe for thirty years. Dic is the founder of the Children’s Circus of Middletown and ARTFARM’s Circus for a Fragile Planet, and is a charter member of the American Youth Circus Organization. Lead Trainer is circus performer and teacher Allison McDermott, an acrobat, aerialist, and graduate of the Professional Track Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Vermont.
Rehearsals will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 – 9 pm at Oddfellows starting Tuesday, September 17.  Attendance at rehearsals is compulsory – if you cannot commit to the rehearsal schedule you should not apply to join Circophony.

The opening of this year’s show will be January 17 & 18 at Oddfellows Playhouse. There will be rehearsals every evening January 13 – 16. Circophony’s Circus in Wonderland will be an original, main stage circus production loosely based on the characters and scenes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, incorporating juggling, acrobatics, balancing, clowning, physical comedy and other skills developed by the company members.

The show will be available for touring throughout the school year, and Circophony members will be expected to be available for touring performances between January and May. Performers and their parents will be given adequate notice about show times and dates. We may also travel to regional youth circus festivals during the year.

Tuition for Circophony, which includes over thirty rehearsals plus the performances and tour, is $250. Some financial assistance is available.

To register for the audition, or if you have questions, email or call (860)346-4390