Welcome to ARTFARM!

ARTFARM is a non-profit, professional theater organization, based in Middletown, CT.  It was created and is being led by long-time local artistic leaders Dic Wheeler and Marcella Trowbridge.

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Colombo International Festival Workshop Performance April 9

posted Apr 8, 2015, 11:38 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Apr 8, 2015, 11:41 AM ]

We are just coming to the end of 5 of the most exciting days of our stay in Sri Lanka -- our intensive workshop at the Colombo International Theatre Festival entitled Create, Agitate, Communicate: Generating Original Performance Material as an Ensemble. The twenty students in the workshop -- a fabulous and energized collection of professional actors, directors, teachers. drama students, and a few just interested folks -- have been generating powerful original work all week on themes close to their hearts. The group will be sharing its work for the public on Thursday, April 9 at 2 pm at the German Cultural Center in Colombo. It's free, so stop by if you are in town,
Here are a few photos from the first two days of the workshop:

Summer Designers sought

posted Apr 6, 2015, 10:51 AM by ARTFARM info

ARTFARM in Middletown, CT is hiring


For its tenth season of Shakespeare in the Grove

This summer, ARTFARM is producing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a lively, circus-infused outdoor production overlooking the Connecticut River Valley in Middletown. Shakespeare in the Grove utilizes Equity and Non-Equity paid performers and has created a tradition of strong physicality, respect for text and raucous accessibility in its ten years of bringing outdoor professional Shakespeare to central Connecticut.

All positions are paid. Compensation varies according to position and level of experience. Production dates are July 15 - 26. Production meetings begin after Memorial Day.

Available positions (as of March 27) include:


Looking for someone with experience working in an outdoor setting, able to collaborate, comfortable working with aerial performers and willing to partner with rigging consultant to create a theatrical circus playground on a 70 foot wide outdoor space.



Looking for an imaginative designer who is comfortable working in the clown, circus and fantasy world, able to design for aerialists and for summer outdoor performance.



Need an experienced Stage Manager able to cope with the eccentricities of outdoor rehearsals and performances. High sense of safety awareness is very important.


Send inquiries and resumes to Dic Wheeler: dic@art-farm.org


ARTFARMERS busy in Sri Lanka

posted Apr 6, 2015, 10:37 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Apr 6, 2015, 10:48 AM ]

Press Release for Sri Lankan media -- might help give a sense of what we have been up to for the past few months:

April 3, 2015.

For Immediate Release

Subject: American Theater Artists Land in Sri Lanka

Contact: Marcella Trowbridge, info@art-farm.org, 076-840-1973


Dic Wheeler and Marcella Trowbridge, of the United States of America and the Founders and Directors of the theater company, ARTFARM, have landed in Sri Lanka.

ARTFARM is an independent, non-profit organization, founded in 2001, dedicated to creating high quality theater with a commitment to simple living, environmental sustainability and social justice.

ARTFARM received grants from the Theatre Communications Group and the Network of Ensemble Theaters to pursue theater partnerships in Sri Lanka. ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge and Executive Director Dic Wheeler are spending four months on the island.

Trowbridge is bringing to Sri Lanka ARTFARM’s physically-based actor training and unique techniques for developing original, ensemble-created work based on community issues and challenges. Wheeler will is working in his signature areas of circus, clown and Commedia dell’ Arte.

Co-founders Marcella Trowbridge and Dic Wheeler have extensive history creating theater in the community and devising original work on both United States coasts, as well as abroad.
ARTFARM has been dedicated to the development of performance work that engages the local community and sees theater as an opportunity for social commentary and reflection on the human condition.

While in Sri Lanka, Trowbridge and Wheeler are embarking on numerous collaborations.

ARTFARM will continue its artistic relationship work with Sri Lankan composer Gayathri Khemadasa. Wheeler and Trowbridge first worked with Khemadasa when she was in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar in 2012, performing in and assisting in the production of her original opera about the life of Indian bandit Queen Phoolan Devi. Now, with support from the Khemadasa Foundation, they are working together again this spring to reimagine the original work, “When Caged Birds Sing.” This piece will be performed in universities and in a gallery space in late April and early May.

In rehearsal for "When Caged Birds Sing"

ARTFARM is working with Colombo’s Floating Space Theater. With founders, Ruhanie Perera and Jake Oorloff, Trowbridge and Wheeler are sharing strategies for new work development, through physical theater, storytelling and narrative, as well as strategies for sustaining small theater companies artistically, administratively and financially. Their studio time together holds the potential to broaden each company’s work practices. Floating Space and ARTFARM may offer some ‘open workshops’, so keep posted.

Mr. Wheeler and Ms. Trowbridge are leading the Workshop component of the Fourth Annual Colombo International Theater Festival. “Create, Agitate, Communicate’ is a five day Acting, Voice and Movement Intensive with 20 participants working as an ensemble to create original performance pieces based on issues identified by the group as of high value. The Ephemeral Ensemble will present an informal share at The Goethe Institute on Thursday, April 9th at 2pm. ARTFARM is the first company from the United States to present in the Festival.

Generative Theater workshop at the Colombo International Theater Festival

Wheeler and Trowbridge are also working with the American Center in Colombo, and, through their Access Program, are bringing theater workshops to under-served teenagers who are new to the English language in areas around the country, including Negombo, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Bandarawela and Belihuloya.

Working with youth in Negombo

While in Sri Lanka, these American artists are humbly trying to learn about the very complex culture that exists on this island in the Indian Ocean, while sharing their ways of working, with the notion that art and theater hold the potential to cross boundaries and to foster growth in individuals and communities.

While here, Wheeler and Trowbridge are meeting many Sri Lankan artists, experiencing local and international performances, participating in forums and workshops, appearing in a local film, and ARTFARMers have been seen juggling- and teaching juggling- in parks, on beaches and at bus stops.

Ms. Trowbridge is an actress, dancer, writer, director, choreographer and theater/movement educator with thirty-plus years of experience. Marcella has written, directed and choreographed numerous original works, on topics such as exile and homelessness; war, world change and non-violent dissent; race and the economic divide, youth and violence and rising from adversity to hope, in addition to directing and choreographing classical and contemporary pieces ranging from the Indian epic The Mahabharata to Shakespeare to Langston Hughes and Anna Deveare Smith. Marcella is the lead actress in the ARTFARM ensemble, is the founding dancer in ARTFARM's women's company, Terpsichore, and is known for her generative work with under-served populations.


Mr. Wheeler is a director, writer, performer, clown and theater educator. A specialist in physical theater, clown, Commedia dell' Arte and circus, Dic has made his living as a theater artist for 35 years in both America and in Europe. He has crafted numerous original works and directed over 80 plays. Dic grew up in Thailand and Austria, moving to America to attend university for theater studies. Mr. Wheeler was the Artistic Director of a youth theater for 25 years and is a graduate of the Dell Arte International School of Physical Theater. He has been a guest director numerous times in the Czech Republic, has toured performances through Europe and America and spearheaded groundbreaking generative theater work in under-resourced communities. He has worked as a guest artist with the Dell Arte Players, Bread and Puppet Theater and has had the privilege of working with several of the world's top clowns, including Avner Eisenberg, Bolek Polivka, Dario Fo, Geoff Hoyle, Hovey Burgess, Ronlin Foreman, Pierre Byland and David Dmitri. 

ARTFARM is a participant in the Global Connections–ON the ROAD program, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG seeks to support organizational efficiency of theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre.

Additionally, ARTFARM is supported by NET/TEN. The Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel and Exchange Network (NET/TEN) is supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Network of Ensemble Theaters is a national coalition of ensembles created by and for artists, and exists to propel ensemble theater practice to the forefront of (American) culture and society.

For more information about the ARTFARM projects in Sri Lanka, or about other ongoing ARTFARM projects and productions, contact info@art-farm.org or go to www.art-farm.org. To follow ARTFARM’s travel blog over the coming months, go to www.artfarmsrilanka.wordpress.com.


Circophony featured in Hartford Courant January 4

posted Jan 6, 2015, 12:29 PM by ARTFARM info

Check out this great PHOTO GALLERY of Circophony in rehearsal and performance by Michael McAndrews of the Hartford Courant. He "shadowed" the company from September through the opening in December. 
Now booking for Winter and Spring tour performances -- get in touch before all the dates fill up!

Circus on the High Seas opens December 19!

posted Dec 17, 2014, 11:45 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Dec 17, 2014, 11:48 AM ]

Order your tickets now for the three performance opening run of Circophony's new show, Circus on the High Seas
7 pm on Friday, December 19 
Noon and 4 pm on Saturday, December 20. 
This delightful sea-soaked circus will charm all ages with its clown sailors, stilt-dancing pirates, juggling octopus, mermaid contortionists, acrobatic fish and all kinds of other maritime circus antics.
Circophony is a youth circus collaboration between ARTFARM and Oddfellows Playhouse. 
All performances at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. 
Tickets are $12 for adults & $8 for kids/students/seniors.
Call (860) 347-6143 for reservations or go to www.oddfellows.org.

Circus on the High Seas is available to tour through June 2015. For more info, or to book a performance, contact ARTFARM: info@art-farm.org
Director: Dic Wheeler
Assistant Director/Head Trainer: Allison McDermott
Costume Design: Katya Vetrov
Rehearsal photos below by David Schulz

Arts and Aging Symposium a huge hit!

posted Nov 19, 2014, 10:05 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Nov 19, 2014, 10:12 AM ]

About 150 people joined us on November 7 for a "Symposium on the Arts and Aging" at Middlesex Community College. Dr. Bernie Siegel was the keynote speaker, kicking off the event with an inspiring hour-long talk entitled "Grow Young Along with Me". Workshops followed by John Basinger, Sari Rosenblatt and Carolyn Kirsch. The Symposium, which was co-sponsored by ARTFARM and MxCC, culminated in a panel discussion moderated by MxCC Professor Judith Felton. Panelists included Wendy Black-Nasta, Neely Bruce, Donna Fedus, Carlos Hernandez-Chavez and Carolyn Kirsch. Thank you to all the presenters and panelists, thanks Bernie, thanks to Judith Felton, Rebecca Loew and President Anna Wasescha at Mxcc, and a big thanks to all of you who attended the event.
See you at the next one. See photo highlights of the Symposium below, as well as a document from John Basinger's workshop entitled "Sharpening the Aging Brain":



Circophony's Circus on the High Seas!

posted Oct 15, 2014, 10:51 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Jan 6, 2015, 12:21 PM ]

The thirteen young performers in Circophony Youth Circus are hard at work preparing for the opening of their new show, Circus on the High Seas,  December 19 & 20 at Oddfellows Playhouse. 
Circophony, directed by Dic Wheeler and ARTFARM teaching artist and performer Allison McDermott, is a collaboration between ARTFARM and Oddfellows. The new show features pirates on stilts, clown sailors, a juggling octopus, mermaid contortionists and a bunch of other sea creatures and aquatic circus performers. This show will be great for all ages! See it at Oddfellows, see it at First Night Hartford, or bring the show to your school, club or special event!
Friday, December 19 at 7 pm
Saturday, December 20 at noon and 4 pm
at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington St., Middletown

First Night Hartford: 7:45 pm on December 31 at State House Square
Available to tour through June, 2015
Some rehearsal photos below. Costume photos coming soon!


King Lear celebrates a great two week run!

posted Aug 5, 2014, 5:21 PM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Aug 5, 2014, 5:22 PM ]

ARTFARM's production of King Lear brought record crowds to the Grove and received glowing reviews from audience members, many of whom returned more than once to see the epic. Here are a few photos by Bill DeKine of the two week run of King Lear in the Grove on the campus of Middlesex Community College. More extensive photo gallery coming soon!

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