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Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater Offers Spring 2022 Performing Arts Classes

Submitted by Dan Schmidt.

Registration is now open for Spring Classes for ages 3 – 20 at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in Middletown. Classes start March 26, 2022. All classes will be held in-person at the Playhouse’s facility at 128 Washington Street. The three classrooms and theater in the building have all been upgraded with high volume air purification systems and the Playhouse is following all State and Federal guidelines to ensure safe in-person programs.

For the youngest Oddfellows, Saturday Circrobatics classes are available for ages 3 – 5 and 6 – 8. Circrobatics classes start March 26 and continue through May 21. Circrobatics is a unique combination of circus, acrobatics, games and creative movement.

Most other classes begin the week of March 28 and run for 8 weeks, culminating in an in-class Share for families the week of May 23. All Stage One and Two classes run from 4:45 pm- 5:45 p.m. during the week. Stage One classes for ages 6 – 8 include Introduction to Puppetry (Mondays), Circus I (Tuesdays), Cookie’s Crafts (Wednesdays), and Complete Actor I (Thursdays).

Stage Two classes for ages 9 – 11 include Complete Actor II Mondays), Magic and Theater (Tuesdays), Circus II (Wednesdays), and Hip Hop Dance (Thursdays). Hip Hop Dance is open to ages 9 – 14.

Stage Three classes, for ages 12 – 14, include Complete Actor III (Mondays, 4:45 – 6:00 p.m.), Moving Mindfulness (Wednesdays, 4:45 – 6:15 pm) and Hip Hop Dance (Thursdays, 4:45 – 5:45 p.m. for ages 9 – 14. Additionally, there is a Theater Improvisation class for ages 11 – 14 on Saturdays, noon – 1:30 p.m., starting March 26.

Circophony Teen Circus, open to ages 12 – 20, offers “Spring Circus Training” on Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., March 29 – May 24. This is a chance for teens to work on acrobatics, flexibility, juggling, balancing, unicycling and other circus skills in a supportive, non-competitive environment. Prior circus experience is not required.

Adults can join the circus this spring as well, as Circophony director Allison McDermott will be offering “Circus for Adults” in collaboration with ARTFARM this spring. This offers 8 weeks of ensemble circus training – juggling, basic tumbling, partner acrobatics, balance, Chinese stick and other circus skills. No circus experience required, and the class will meet each student where they are in an inclusive environment.

A special event for kids ages 10 -14 this spring is the opportunity to perform with the renowned Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children’s Theater in a dual language production of “The Myth of Persephone: The Greek Myth of How the Seasons Came To Be.” The show, performed in spoken English and American Sign Language, will be performed at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the Playhouse. A special workshop for ages 10 – 14 will be offered from noon to 3:00 p.m. on that day — participants will work with the cast to polish their acting skills, learn some American Sign Language, and perform as the Greek Chorus with the Company. Space is limited to work with one of Connecticut’s most admired Children’s Theater Companies on this unique project which will feature internationally-known deaf actors.

Middletown Public School students may complement their weekday class experience with Oddbridge, an extended-day program which provides transport from Middletown schools to the Playhouse, a snack, and supervised arts activities, games and homework help before classes start. Oddbridge extends through the school year, providing special programs and field trips on early dismissal days or days when regular Oddfellows’ classes are not in session.

For more details on times, tuition and class descriptions, please go to www.oddfellows.org. If you have specific questions, email info@oddfellows.org or call (860) 347-6143. Tuition varies from $140 – $180 for the eight week sessions, but Financial Aid is available for all programs. It is Playhouse policy that the arts should be available to every young person regardless of ability to pay – no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Oddfellows Playhouse, founded in 1975, is Connecticut’s oldest and largest performing arts program for young people. Oddfellows programs are made possible with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts; Connecticut Office of the Arts/Department of Economic and Community Development; City of Middletown; The Fund for Greater Hartford; American Savings Foundation; State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention); Middletown Youth Services Bureau; Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation; Middlesex United Way; CHEFA Cultural Relief Grant; New England Foundation for the Arts/New England Arts Resilience Fund; George & Grace Long Foundation; CT Humanities Cultural Fund; and many generous individual donors.

Photo by Dic Wheeler of Winter classes at Oddfellows.

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