Registration for spring performing arts classes for ages 6 – 14 at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown is underway. Classes start March 25 and there is something for everyone this spring – from Hip Hop Dance to Filmmaking! Students ages 12 – 20 also have opportunities to participate in circus training through Circophony Teen Circus or to be in an original, ensemble-created play with music as part of the Teen Repertory Company.
Classes for ages 6 – 14 start the week of March 25 and will run for eight weeks. Tuition for most classes is $120 for the eight week session, and financial aid is available. Classes are split into three age groups: Stage One is ages 6 – 8, Stage Two is 9 – 11, and Stage Three (or Junior Rep) is for ages 12 – 14. There will be no classes for ages 6 – 14 the week of April 15 because many local schools are on vacation.
A new highlight this spring will be a multi-stage Hip Hop Dance class with Felicia Goodwine for ages 6 – 14. The class will meet on Thursdays, 4:30 – 5:30 pm starting March 28. Space is limited!
Stage One is rich with opportunities for the 6 – 8 year old crowd. All Stage One classes meet 4:30 – 5:30. On Mondays, kids may choose between Musical Mentoring, which offers one-on-one music lessons with Wesleyan University music students, and Clowning and Slapstick with local performer and teacher Rob Grimm. Junior Circus, taught by circus performer Maegan Fuller, meets on Tuesdays and gives our youngest students an introduction to circus arts, including balancing, acrobatics, tumbling and all kinds of cool circus toys. The Masked Puppeteer meets on Wednesdays and is a hybrid visual arts and acting class, taught by visual artist and master teacher Renee Soares. On Thursdays, in addition to the Hip Hop Dance class, Stage One students can join Complete Actor I: Wild Things, an acting class taught by Maegan Fuller based around the book Where The Wild Things Are.
Stage Two for ages 9 – 11 is headlined by a Mini-production, directed by Nicki LaPorte, called Cinderella Around The World! This meets Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:45 pm, and will culminate with a performance for family and friends on May 22. The Mini-production will explore the many global variations on the Cinderella story. Tuition for Cinderella Around the World is $200.
Also for Stage Two: Circus Arts with Circophony director and circus performer Allison McDermott meets Tuesdays, 4:30 – 5:30, and provides kids with circus training of all kinds, from juggling to unicycling and lots of fun stuff in-between. Musical Mentoring meets Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:30, and gives kids the chance to get one-on-one music mentoring from Wesleyan music students. On Thursdays, internationally-known Congolese theater artist and teacher Toto Kisaku will be offering Stories from Central Africa. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the stories and performance traditions of the Congo and surrounding countries from a native who created a major hit of the 2018 International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
Stage Three (or Junior Rep, ages 12 – 14) students may also join the Hip Hop Dance class on Thursdays, but that is not the only option. The Improv Troupe, directed by Carmine Lavieri, meets Tuesdays, 4:30 – 5:45 and will explore improvisation as a performance form and will end with a performance for family and friends on May 21. Complete Actor III, taught by Playhouse program manager Cecilia Kurachi-Ubé, is a rigorous acting class for serious young performers who are ready for monolog and scene work. It meets Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:45. Rounding out the Stage Three offering is a Filmmaking class on Thursdays, 4:30 – 6 with Birgetta Johnson. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of film making, including a trip to the film studio at Middlesex Community College, and will culminate in the screening of an original short film created by the class on May 23.
Middletown public school students ages 6 – 14 may join Oddbridge, an extended day program in which students are transported from their schools to Oddfellows, where they receive a snack and engage in arts programming and academic support until classes start at 4:30 pm.
Teens ages 14 – 20 can audition on March 25 & 28 for a new, ensemble-created play with music, directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Dic Wheeler with musical direction by State Troubadour Nekita Waller. The two worked this winter with a group of ten teens to create this piece over a series of workshops entitled This Is Important, in which issues of importance to the participants were explored through writing, acting, movement and song writing. The piece is being constructed from the raw material as we speak, and participants will be part of an exciting world premiere. Auditions are March 25 & 28, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, and all who attend one of the evenings and commit to the rehearsal and performance schedule will be cast. The play will be performed on the main stage at Oddfellows May 16 – 18 & 24 – 25.
Circophony Teen Circus offers introductory and specialized circus training to ages 12 – 20 on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Contact us for this spring’s program details.
For more information, or to register for any of these programs, please go to www.oddfellows.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (860) 347-6143. Financial aid is available for all programs – it is Playhouse policy that no one is ever turned away due to inability to pay.
Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater, founded in 1975, is Connecticut’s oldest and largest theater program for young people. The Playhouse is committed to inclusivity – all are welcome here. Oddfellows Playhouse classes are made possible by support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD; Middletown Commission on the Arts; The Fund for Greater Hartford; Stare Family Fund; Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Middletown Youth Services Bureau; Youth Violence Prevention/CT Judicial Branch; Liberty Bank foundation; Community Development Block Grant; Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund; Price Chopper; Stop and Shop; Middlesex United Way; and many individual donors.