Middletown, CT- After five years as Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater’s Executive Director, Matt Pugliese has announced that he is leaving for a new arts leadership position with University of Connecticut. Pugliese joined the Playhouse in 2008 as Managing Director and became Executive Director in 2011. Prior to that time he served as a director for several Teen Repertory Company productions and was a teaching artist for many different Playhouse programs.
In a statement to the community Pugliese said, “I have been honored to represent Oddfellows for the last five years. It is an incredible arts organization, and has had a profound impact on so many young people over the last 39 years. I have enjoyed hearing from so many students, parents and alumni the great impact that the arts had on their development and life. It continues to reinforce my belief in the importance of the Playhouse’s mission of building essential life skills through the theatrical arts.”
The board of directors selected Jeannette Archer-Simons as Interim Executive Director. Archer-Simons is a seasoned transition expert working through the Third Sector New England interim executive program. She has served several organizations in Connecticut as a consultant and called Middletown home for 8 years when she served as CEO/Executive Director of the Girl Scouts CT Trails Council from 1999-2007. She is joined by Artistic Director Kristen Palmer to guide the organization in continuing to provide exceptional artistic programs for children and youth.
The Playhouse recently welcomed Kristen Palmer as its new Artistic Director. Palmer holds an MA from NYU in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with concentrations in education and theatre and an MFA from Hunter College in Playwriting where she studied under Tina Howe. Her plays have been produced and developed throughout the country. Palmer received a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis, a Connecticut State Individual Artist Grant from the Commission of Culture and Tourism and was Playwright-in-Residence at the William Inge Center for the Arts.
Pugliese went on to say, “Oddfellows, like all non-profits, faces a number of challenges now and in the future. I believe that despite these challenges, the Playhouse is in good hands. The talented artists that bring the magic alive at Oddfellows continue to be the lifeblood of the organization. Kristen Palmer, the Artistic Director, will be an incredible leader, artist and educator and will offer much for our young people. She has the full support of the Board of Directors, who are as committed as ever to ensuring Oddfellows’ future.”
Next up at Oddfellows is the musical Oliver! on-stage December 5-14. Fall classes for students ages 3-18 began the week of October 14 and the Winter/Spring schedule of classes will be posted by mid November.
About Oddfellows Playhouse:
Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Classes are offered both on site and in schools throughout the community. For more than 35 years Oddfellows Playhouse has been more than just a performing arts program. It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of 1,200 young people each year 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.
For more information about classes and productions visit www.oddfellows.org.