Jan 13, 2011

Renowned Circus Performer Rob Mermin kicks off national tour in Middletown




PRESS RELEASE
Oddfellows Playhouse and ARTFARM collaborate on event about the history of the circus

Middletown, Conn. – Oddfellows Playhouse and ARTFARM are pleased to announce Rob Mermin, founder of the international youth company Circus Smirkus, will kick off his national speaking tour with an evening of personal anecdotes and film clips on circus history at Oddfellows Playhouse located at 128 Washington St. in Middletown.

The lecture, filled with clips from Hollywood circus feature films and personal stories, will begin at 7 p.m. and is made possible by a grant from the Middletown Commission of the Arts.

"It is great that the Middletown Commission on the Arts is making it possible for Rob to come here,” said Matthew Pugliese, Managing Director for Oddfellows Playouse. “The MCA is the sponsor of our Children's Circus of Middletown, in its 23rd year this summer, and ARTFARM's Circus for a Fragile Planet. Rob is kicking off his national tour to raise awareness for youth circus here in Middletown - which shows just how important these programs are. Rob is also leading a workshop with the students of the CT School of Circus Arts - a premiere youth circus program led by artists from ARTFARM and Matica Arts. There is an amazing amount of circus right here in Middletown."

Mermin is an award-winning performer with Copenhagen’s Gold Clown. He has also been awarded Russia’s Best Director Prize and the Governor’s Award of Excellence, Vermont’s highest honor in the arts.

Mermin trained with the renowned mimes Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux, and is also a former Dean of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.

Mermin will delight the audience with stories of running off to join the circus as a teen in the late 60’s. During the next forty years his circus adventures took him clowning with tent shows in Wales, mule wrangling in Lapland with Sweden’s Circus Scott, riding with the Magyars in the Hungarian State Cirkusz, three years with the famous Benneweis Circus Building in Copenhagen, and entertaining royalty in the circus palaces of Europe and Russia.

In 1987, he founded Circus Smirkus, which The Boston Globe called “one of New England’s most treasured cultural and educational resources.”

Tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (860) 347-6143, by e-mail at tickets@oddfellows.org or online at oddfellows.org.

About Oddfellows Playhouse:

The CT School of Circus Arts is a circus training program for students ages 12-18. Students meet on Monday evenings and build skills as jugglers, unicyclists, acrobats, clowns and stilters. The program is led by creative artists of ARTFARM and Matica Arts. This is the only year-round structured circus training program in Connecticut and is designed to serve both beginning and experienced performers. Interested students can visit www.oddfellows.org for more information.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the CT Department of Education, the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, The Stare Fund, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Pratt & Whitney-Middletown, the Irving Kohn Foundation and the Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund.

Jan 11, 2011

Santaland Success



The special performance of Santaland Diaries December 15-18 was a great success, raising $4,700 to help Oddfellows Playhouse keep the doors open, the lights on and high-quality programming available to ALL students.

Thank you to everyone who put in their time and energy to make this production possible, especially Tony Palmieri, who strutted the stage in tights as the prickly elf, Crumpet. We hope everyone enjoyed Santaland Diaries as much as we did.

Santaland Diaries is just one of the many fundraising efforts on the part of Oddfellows Playhouse to help replace continually shrinking grant funding at the state level. Oddfellows Playhouse is committed to providing high quality theatrical programming to children, regardless of their financial situation. We thank all of our funders whose stable, continued support is making this possible - including Pratt & Whitney-Middletown and The Stare Fund.