Mar 2, 2015

Seeking Teaching Artists for the Summer 2015 Children's Circus of Middletown

CIRCUS TEACHING ARTISTS for the Children’s Circus of Middletown

The Children’s Circus of Middletown seeks Circus Teaching Artists for our 27th annual summer circus program. Interested applicants should have experience working with kids, lesson planning and have a strong base of circus performance skills. Teaching Artists should be able to design safe, fun, and engaging curriculum that challenges, instructs, and inspires young people in a circus training and performing environment.

This five week program provides instruction in Circus Arts to over 200 children between the ages of 8 -15. The Children’s Circus of Middletown culminates in a huge outdoor performance with 200+ performers and over a thousand spectators annually. Teaching Artists must plan and implement a variety of 1-2 hour lessons, for 10-20 kids of mixed ages, throughout the program. Teaching Artists teach a basic intro class to all participants, plan and teach a 2-week training intensive for participants who select their discipline, and direct two 5-min circus acts that will be featured the final performance.

Teaching Artists also work closely with the Circus Director, the Designer/Technical Director, Costume Designer and Band Director in the creation of their acts for the final performance. The Teaching Artists are the heart of the Children’s Circus and ultimately create and shape the circus performance under the guidance of the Circus Director and with the support of the design team.

Counselors are assigned to Teaching Artists as assistants in all the disciplines. It is the responsibility of the Teaching Artist to delegate tasks and mentor these young staff towards being positive role models to the kids and future teachers themselves.

See below for specific disciplines and requirements. All candidates must complete a background check as a condition of employment. Salary commensurate with experience. Housing may be provided.
Please submit resume, cover letter and any work samples to:  Jason@oddfellows.org

Program/Training Dates: June 24 - August 3, Weekdays from 8:30am-4:30pm
Mandatory Daily Staff/Artist Meetings 3pm - 4:30pm
Performance Date: Friday, July 31, Rain Date Saturday August. 1.

STILTING INSTRUCTOR
- Responsible for guiding students towards the mastery of stilting.
- Demonstrates knowledge of stilting skills and tricks for beginner and advanced walkers.
- Must maintain a high level of safety and precaution. First Aid and CPR certified a plus.
- Responsible for, and has experience with, stilt repair and maintenance.
- Has experience performing and directing
* Interested candidates must have prior experience working with children. *

ACROBATICS INSTRUCTOR
-  Responsible for guiding students in basic, intermediate and advanced acrobatics tricks and choreographed routines.
-  Demonstrates knowledge and has background in acrobatics and/or gymnastics, partner acro, safety and spotting, and mini-tramp. Experience with jumping through a ring of fire a plus.
-  Responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance of the school gym, mats and miscellaneous equipment
-  Must maintain a high level of safety and precaution. First Aid and CPR certified a plus.
-  Has experience performing and directing.

* Interested candidates should have experience working with children.

Jul 29, 2014

Children's Circus in The Courant

New spotlight on the Children's Circus in The Courant! Check out some great pictures and an awesome video -- and don't forget to come see all the magic in person this Friday night at 5PM!


Oddfellows Children's Circus Makes 26th Annual Performance Aug. 1 In Middletown

Jul 18, 2014

CIRCUS SAVES THE DAY! August 1st, 2014



Thursday July 10th, 2014
CONTACT PERSON:  Kristen Palmer
(860) 347-6143


CIRCUS SAVES THE DAY!
26th Annual Children’s Circus of Middletown to perform August 1


Middletown, Conn.  --  The Middletown Commission on the Arts and Oddfellows Playhouse presents the 26th Children’s Circus of Middletown: CIRCUS SAVES THE DAY!  This original, one-time-only show will be performed on Friday August 1 at 5 PM at Macdonough School, 66 Spring St. Middletown CT.  In case of rain, the event will be held on Saturday August 2nd, 5pm.  Tickets are available on the day of show, $5 for adults/$3 for children.

The Children’s Circus of Middletown is an exceptional community-wide program where entire families come together with professional circus artists and designers to create this one-of-a-kind spectacle. Director Jason Leinwand, now in his 3rd year as Circus Director and 14th year with the circus and his says, “Circus Saves the Day will feature amazing displays of circus arts by our 170+ talented youth performers as they explore the themes of rescue and heroism. Will the Children's Circus be able to save us from death defying fire hoops, speeding locomotives and a countdown towards eminent danger!? “

The Children’s Circus is a 5-week, program involving children ages 8-14. Many circus graduates continue with the program as counselors, artists, musicians and directors.  Participants learn a variety of circus skills such as acrobatics, juggling, unicycling, stilt walking, clowning, and visual arts while they build confidence, friendships, creativity and teamwork.  The campers’  hard work culminates in the main event on August 1st which also features a live circus band of local musicians led by Eric Kuhn, costumes by Marion Imbruglio, and scenic and prop design by local artist Luke Reinhold. 

Stephan Allison, Coordinator of the City Arts Office, describes the long running project by saying, “The Children's Circus has been a mainstay of the City of Middletown Commission on the Arts programming for more than a quarter century. It has proven its success by its long life and the dedication to the Circus from its graduates, from the first to the present. Our present director is an early graduate of the Circus and carries on the tradition. Beyond that tradition, new elements are developed annually and incorporated into the program. The evolution of the Circus is a process and we look forward to that process being with us another quarter century or more. The joy the Circus brings to the children who join is no less than that of the joy seen in the eyes of children attending the circuses of yesteryear. The difference here is that the children become the Circus.”

Join us and become a part of the legacy!  Bring a lawn chair to Macdonough School and enjoy the spectacle.  The 26th Children’s Circus of Middletown: CIRCUS SAVES THE DAY! will perform at 5 PM on August 2 at 66 Spring Street in Middletown.  Parking is limited to street locations, so carpooling is recommended. The Macdonough School lot is reserved for handicapped and elderly patrons.  Tickets are available at the door and are $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.

The Children’s Circus is part of the Middletown Commission on the Arts Kids Arts program.  The circus is made possible by the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the Middlesex United Way, The Middletown Board of Education and Oddfellows Playhouse’s many generous supporters including this year’s circus sponsors Wesleyan University, Dzialo Pickett & Allen, La Boca Mexican Restaurant, Liberty Bank, and the Shapiro Law Firm.


For more information 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 nearly 40 years the Oddfellows Playhouse mission has been  to make a positive difference in the lives of young people 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.


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May 28, 2014

New Leadership at Oddfellows Playhouse

May 28, 2014
For Immediate Release

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is delighted to announce that it has appointed a new management team, led by Betsy Morgan as Executive Director and Melissa Schilke as Assistant Executive Director,  as part of the Playhouse’s transition as it approaches its 40th birthday in 2015.

Morgan, who was the Playhouse’s executive director from 1982 to 1997, recently retired as director of the Middlesex Coalition for Children. Schilke, a longtime member of the Playhouse’s Board of Directors, is director of Wesleyan Potters, Inc. Her responsibilities at the Playhouse will be part-time.

The management team includes the leadership of seven additional individuals who will take on important roles in financial and building management, marketing, fund raising, strategic planning and program support as volunteers: Mimi Rich, managing director of the Playhouse for many years; Susan Hall, previously director of development; Izzi Greenberg and Bobbye Knoll, former Playhouse staff; and Carol Schulz, Cindy Prue and Lucy McMillan, longtime supporters.  

Kristen Palmer, playwright and director, continues as the Playhouse’s Artistic Director.

Oddfellows Playhouse has been working with a transition consultant, Jeannette Archer-Simons, over the last six months.  “The board of directors appreciates her service to guide the organization to this next important stage and for providing transition support to the new team,” said Board Chair Glenn Taylor.

The management team has been charged with managing the day to day operations of the building and finances while developing funding resources for Oddfellows. The team will be working closely with the Artistic Director to ensure that dynamic theater programs will be available for area young people.   

Morgan stated, “I am excited to return to Oddfellows to support continued excellence in providing programs for children and youth in Middletown.  We would like to invite all the 'Oddfellows Kids' and friends of Oddfellows near and far to get involved as we move forward with plans to 'reboot' the Playhouse for the next 40 years."   

Oddfellows Playhouse is currently accepting applications for the Circus Summer Program and an exciting 2014-15 program of classes and productions will be announced in the next few weeks.

About the Playhouse:
Oddfellows Playhouse was founded in 1975 as a community-based, multicultural theater program designed to include children from all backgrounds. Oddfellows remains Connecticut’s largest and most active year-round youth theater, an independent, not-for-profit organization that annually serves over 1,200 young people.  The mission is “to build essential life skills through the performing arts.”
In 2013 Oddfellows Playhouse was named “Connecticut’s Best Children’s Theatre by Connecticut Magazine. In 2012 Oddfellows was awarded its very first National Endowment for the Arts award for the Our Town grant. In 2003, Citizens Bank named Oddfellows Playhouse its Community Champion for youth services, and CPTV featured the Playhouse and its program on a special titled art.culture.life. In 1999, the Playhouse received a Community Service Award from the Middlesex County NAACP in recognition of its years of commitment to young people, particularly those challenged by poverty.  The New England Theatre Conference recognized the Playhouse’s history of quality performing arts and youth education with an Award of Excellence in 1998.  The Playhouse has produced over 350 shows, including classics, contemporary and world premieres.

For more information contact:  Betsy Morgan at 860-347-6143 x 101 orexecutivedirector@oddfellows.org.

Mar 27, 2014

Oddfellows Playhouse thanks the Community Foundation of Middlesex County for Their Generous Gant




For Immediate Release
Middletown, Connecticut, March 26, 2014

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is grateful to announce that we have received a grant in the amount of $5,000 from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. The award is made possible by the generosity of the Connecticut Humanities Fund, a grant making partnership between the Community Foundation and Connecticut Humanities, and  will go to Oddfellows’ Junior and Teen Repertory.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Its mission is to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds and to support local nonprofit organizations through effective grant-making to address community needs. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 1,100 grants totaling more than $3.3 million to nonprofit organizations for the arts; cultural and heritage programs; educational activities; environmental improvements; and for health and human services.

Oddfellows Junior and Teen Rep put up four full productions a year. Our most recent production was She Kills Monsters, a play by Teen Rep that finished its successful run last March 23rd. Coming up is Junior Rep’s pirate musical Buccaneers, which will open on Friday, April 4th.  

Jeannette Archer-Simons, Interim Executive Director stated, “ It is good people in the community supporting the Community Foundation that allow us to bring children and youth together to build confidence, find their voice in artistic expression and create community conversation through the arts.  We thank the Community Foundation and all who support its work, for bringing the arts alive for the children and youth of Middletown and our audiences. We are also thankful for the Community Foundation’s partnership with Connecticut Humanities in making youths’ voices heard.”

About us:
Oddfellows Playhouse was founded in 1975 as a community-based, multicultural theater program designed to include children from all backgrounds. Oddfellows remains Connecticut’s largest and most active year-round youth theater, an independent, not-for-profit organization that annually serves over 1,200 young people.  The mission is “ to build essential life skills through the performing arts.”
In 2013 Oddfellows Playhouse was named “Connecticut’s Best Children’s Theatre by Connecticut Magazine.  In 2012 Oddfellows was awarded its very first National Endowment for the Arts award for the Our Town grant. In 2003, Citizens Bank named Oddfellows Playhouse its Community Champion for youth services, and CPTV featured the Playhouse and its program on a special titled art.culture.life. In 1999, the Playhouse received a Community Service Award from the Middlesex County NAACP in recognition of its years of commitment to young people, particularly those challenged by poverty.  The New England Theatre Conference recognized the Playhouse’s history of quality performing arts and youth education with an Award of Excellence in 1998.
The Playhouse has produced over 350 shows, including classics, contemporary and world premieres.
For more information contact:  Jeannette Archer-Simons at (860) 347-6143 ext. 101 or Jeannette@oddfellows.org

Mar 13, 2014

Oddfellows Teen Repertory Company Production


She Kills Monsters: A New Play for New Audiences

Oddfellows Playhouse, one of Connecticut’s premier youth theaters, is proud to present She Kills Monsters, a new play by Qui Nguyen.
Inspired by the classic game Dungeons and Dragons, the play tells the story of Agnes Evans, a popular high school cheerleader. Agnes’s younger sister Tilly is her opposite and a total embarrassment – a geeky, shy, awkward girl. When Tilly dies suddenly in a car accident, Agnes’s only tie to the sister she barely knew is a role-playing adventure game that Tilly had created herself. Agnes enters her sister’s fantasy world and learns about who her sister was – while fighting off the monsters, real and imaginary, that plagued Tilly’s short life.
 “Qui Nguyen has written a contemporary high school play – timely, theatrical, and super fun with an emotional heft that sneaks up on you,” says Kristen Palmer, the show’s director.
“The themes of loss, acceptance, questioning sexual identity, and escapism contained in this play make it a great jumping-off point for wider conversation and reflection on issues young people face every day.”
Palmer adds that the play isn’t only for the youth, though. “Teens, their parents, young adults and anyone who has ever sought refuge and meaning in a book, video game, or film will connect to this original story.”
Don’t miss the chance to see Oddfellows’ talented Teen Repertory Company bring this unique coming-of-age play to life.


Performance Dates: March 20, 21, 22 at 7:30pm and March 23 at 2pm
                ** Recommended for ages 12 and up **
Location: Oddfellows Playhouse 
               128 Washington St. 
               Middletown, CT 06457
Tickets: $18 for adults and $10 for seniors and students

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE or call 860.347.6143