Registration is now open for fall classes and productions for young people ages one to twenty at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in Middletown. Most programs start September 16. Space is limited, so register soon to ensure your place.
Programs are offered in theater, circus, music and dance for toddlers through age twenty. Oddfellows, founded in 1975, is Connecticut’s oldest and largest theater for young people. Here is a rough breakdown of this fall’s highlights for each age group, starting with teenagers:
The Teen Repertory Company, which offers classic and contemporary performance opportunities for ages 14 – 20, will be mounting a main stage modern adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Auditions are September 16 & 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (attend one of the two evenings); production dates are November 14 – 16 & 22 -23.
Circophony Teen Circus, also open to ages 14 – 20, offers an 11 week fall circus training program culminating in a Circus Showcase on December 6. Circophony meets Tuesday & Wednesday evenings, 6 – 8 pm. Students may enroll for one or both evenings. Both nights will provide general circus and acrobatic training. Tuesdays additionally offer students the chance to focus on either Contortion & Flexibility or Juggling. No experience required.
A new Teen Hip Hop Dance class for ages 12 – 18, taught by Felicia Goodwine. Thursdays, 5:45 – 7 pm (preceded by Hip Hop Dance for ages 8 – 11 from 4:30 – 5:30 pm).
Technical Theater and Design class is also new this year, offering young people ages 12 – 20 a chance to learn the basics of stagecraft and theatrical design in an inclusive, hands-on environment.
Classes specifically for ages 12 – 14 include Introduction to Filmmaking on Tuesdays, 4:30 – 6 pm, and Acting and Scene Study on Thursdays, 4:30 – 6 pm. Both of these are 8-week classes which will culminate in a Share Day presentation. Either of these classes is great preparation for the Junior Repertory Company winter mainstage production (for ages 12 – 14) of Lord of the Flies. Auditions will be December 12, and the show will run March 12 – 14.
For ages 6 – 11, classes are offered Monday through Thursday starting at 4:30 pm. These classes can be extended for Middletown public school students through Oddbridge, a program which provides bus transportation from Middletown schools, a snack, and arts, academic support and team-building activities until formal classes begin at 4:30. Classes this fall include:
For Stage One (ages 6 – 8) classes include Expressionism: Writing, Painting, Acting! on Mondays; Sing! Dance! Play! on Tuesdays; Introduction to Circus on Wednesdays; and Introduction to Theater on Thursdays. Additionally, Stage One students may receive one-on-one music lessons from Wesleyan Music students through the Musical Mentoring program on Wednesdays. All Stage One classes run 4:30 – 5:30 pm.
Stage Two (ages 9 – 11) classes include a Mini-Production, Grimmer Tales, which is a Halloween-inspired tribute to the Brothers Grimm. The program meets Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:45, and will culminate in a performance on November 9 at 2 pm. This age group is also offered Musical Mentoring on Mondays, Circus Arts on Tuesdays, Comic Acting on Wednesdays, and Hip Hop Dance on Thursdays (the Hip Hop Dance class is open to ages 8 – 11).
New this Fall are Saturday Circrobatics classes for ages 1 to 8. This 8 week series starts October 5 and each level offers a fun and age-appropriate combination of circus, acrobatics, movement and games. All classes are taught by Megan Berritta, director of the Teeny Tiny Circus Troupe at the Children’s Circus of Middletown. The Circrobatics Fall line-up features:
Itty Bitty Circrobats (with Caregiver) for ages 18 months to 3 years. 9 – 9:45 am
Intro to Circrobatics for ages 3 – 5. 10 – 10:45 am
Beginner Circrobatics for ages 6 – 8. 11 – 11:45 am
All classes meet at Oddfellows Playhouse, which is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. Tuition varies from program to program, from $25 to $250, and financial aid is available to any family that needs it. To register, go to www.oddfellows.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (860) 347-6143.
Tuition partially covers Playhouse programs. Oddfellows Playhouse programs and financial aid are supported by the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention), the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the City of Middletown Health Department, the Stare Fund, The Fund for Greater Hartford, the Neighborhood Assistance Act, Middlesex United Way, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, Middletown Youth Services Bureau, Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund, Stop and Shop, Nihla and Bob Lapidus Foundation, Evan Knoll Memorial Fund, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, and many generous individual donors.