Nov 6, 2008

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE NAMES NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR*

After an extensive search, Oddfellows Playhouse Board of Directors has named Matthew J. Pugliese as the organization’s new Managing Director. Pugliese succeeds Dominick Grant, who is leaving to pursue long-standing interests in environmental preservation, clean energy, and sustainable business practices.

“I am particularly excited that Matt Pugliese--a seasoned Oddfellows teaching artist, who has worked extensively with the Teen Rep and Neighborhood Troupes -- will take up the torch and work with the board, staff, parents, students and many community partners to build and grow an even stronger Oddfellows,” said Grant. “Matt’s commitment to Oddfellows’ mission and his leadership skills makes him a great fit for this position.”

A Middletown native, Pugliese has a long history of working with Oddfellows, where he has been a director, a teaching artist, and a leader of one of Oddfellows’ Neighborhood Troupes, a free weekly program serving children from low-income housing areas. He directed last season’s Teen Repertory Company mainstage production of /The Grapes of Wrath/ and previously directed /Nuevo California /and /The Dining Room/. Pugliese led the Chatham Court Tiny Troupe (ages 5-7) for two years and worked closed with the Maplewood Terrace and Chatham Court Senior Troupes on the mainstage production of /Spoon River Anthology/. Pugliese has also served as the Lead Teaching Artist for Oddfellows’ satellite programs in the schools and as an instructor for the Summer Shakespeare Academy.

For the past three years, Pugliese has served as Production Manager and Director of Educational Programming at Ivoryton Playhouse. During this time, the Ivoryton Playhouse received 6 nominations and 2 awards from the Connecticut Critics Circle and brought challenging adaptations of Shakespeare's /Romeo & Juliet/ and /Julius Caesar/ to the stage for area high schools. In addition to managing production budgets and staff, Pugliese successfully implemented a number of fundraising initiatives, including the first annual appeal drive for Ivoryton.

An alum of Xavier High School, Pugliese graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Theatre Studies from UCONN and completed an artistic internship at Hartford Stage Company. He is a founding member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Arts and Creative Industry Council. He will complete a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management through UCONN's Master's in Public Administration program in the spring.

Pugliese will work with Oddfellows’ present Managing Director Dominick Grant during November and December to insure a smooth transition and will assume full responsibility for the position on January 1, 2009.

For more information about Oddfellows Playhouse and its programs, call (860) 347-6143.