Where Are We Now?:
Race, Pride, Class and Inequity
A work-in-progress performance
Friday, April 7 at 7 pm.
The performance will be followed by a Panel Discussion and Community Forum
hosted by the Middlesex County NAACP.
FREE ADMISSION. All Are Welcome!
Panel Discussion & Community Forum will be moderated by Faith Jackson, President of the local Chapter of the NAACP.
Ben Florsheim, Senator Chris Murphy's Outreach Team
Chris McWilliams, former CT State Trooper
Joelle Murchison, UConn Associate VP & Chief Diversity Officer
Dayna Snell, CT DCF Supervisor & Director of Queen Ann Nzinga Center
"Where Are We Now" is a multi-year initiative supported, in part, by the 111 Sunnyside Charitable Trust; Shoreline Arts Alliance in partnership with the Connecticut Office of the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts; Community Foundation of Middlesex County/Arts Fund, Elizabeth Swaim Middletown Fund; Puffin Foundation; Oddfellows Playhouse; and the Middlesex County Chapter of the NAACP.
Get involved with the COMMUNITY ENSEMBLE --
Where Are We Now? Race, Class Pride and Inequity
For more info click HERE.
COMMUNITY WORKSHOP on
RACE, PRIDE, CLASS & INEQUITY
Sunday, February 26, 2 - 4 pm
This is a FREE on-your-feet, Theater-based workshop
Co-facilitated by Marcella Trowbridge & Anitra Brooks
The workshop will be held at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown, CT.
This is part of an effort to connect in the community to talk about what people have experienced, people’s feelings, worries, hopes and ideas around race, identity and change. This is one of several community workshops. These workshops, in addition to interviews, StoryShares and one on one conversations will be part of a material- collecting process working towards a sharing of a broad spectrum of stories entitled "Where Are We Now?" with the public on April 7th, 2017.
Come Play. Come Be Heard. We all need to be At the Table.
No theater background or experience is necessary.
Contortion & Flexibility
for Adults and Teenagers
with Naja Muller
Fridays, 4 – 6 pm, February 10, 17 & 24, 2017
At Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown
Tuition: $75 for the three classes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A three class series for teenagers and adults in flexibility and contortion. This class series is recommended for people with some circus, gymnastics, dance, yoga or other experience with flexibility. Students will learn techniques to improve their flexibility and strength. Classes will consist of a proper warm ups, followed by leg, shoulder and full back stretching techniques. There will also be conditioning exercises incorporated in the class.
Circophony Winter Circus Training
starts Tuesday, February 7
Tuesdays, 6 - 8 pm, Feb. 7 - April 18
Open to anyone ages 12 - 19.
Circophony is a collaboration between ARTFARM & Oddfellows Playhouse. All levels can throw themselves into basic circus skills training for ten great weeks this winter & spring.
Isaac Newton's Little Apple Circus
Saturday, February 18 at 2 pm
at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown
$10 for adults, $5 for kids, $20 for a family
Dic Wheeler as Isaac Newton and Allison McDermott as the French physicist Emilie du Chatelet present the basics of Classical Mechanics through circus. This 50 minute show will delight all ages, and you might finally be able to remember the Three Fundamental Laws of Motion!
Tickets at the door will support Circus programs at Oddfellows.
AUDITIONS for Circophony Traveling Company
Tuesday, January 17, 6 - 9 pm at
For ages 12 - 18. Details HERE
Auditions for Circophony's Spring Touring Company will be held on January 17. Their Spring show will premiere April 28 and 29 and will be available for touring performances through June, 2017. Schools, clubs and festivals are advised to book this popular company soon, before their Spring dates fill up.
For more information about Circophony auditions or booking the Company, contact email@example.com
Also booking now -- limited dates are available for the Spring Tour of our Teen Traveling Circus --
This gifted group of young performers annually tours a 45 minute circus performance to area schools, clubs, churches and art centers. Circophony is a collaboration between ARTFARM and Oddfellows Playhouse.
Each Fall ARTFARM circus teaching artists offer rigorous circus training to young people ages 12 - 18. In January members of the training program audition to be selected for the Traveling Company. Traveling Company members create a new circus which premieres in April.
The show is only available to tour in May and June, 2017!
Last year's Circus of Joy performance thrilled audiences throughout Central Connecticut, and tour dates filled up quickly. Contact ARTFARM now to make sure that you can bring the 2017 Tour to your venue!
Fall 2015 Newsletter: Next Addition comes out Fall 2016
The Politics of Laughter:
A Tribute to Dario Fo and Franca Rame
Thursday, December 8 at 6 pm at the Buttonwood Tree,
605 Main Street, Middletown
Photo by Nicole Bengiveno, New York Times
ARTFARM invites theater activists and comedy enthusiasts to gather to honor the life & legacy of the iconic Italian actor/playwright/activists Dario Fo and Franca Rame. This tribute will take place at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown on Thursday, December 8 at 6 pm.
The Politics of Laughter: A Tribute to Dario Fo and Franca Rame will be introduced by Wesleyan Theater Professor and Fo scholar Ron Jenkins, and will feature readings by actors from ARTFARM’s Ensemble, including Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge, Executive Director Dic Wheeler, and actor John Basinger (known to Shakespeare in the Grove audiences as King Lear in 2014). This will be an evening of comedy, memory and celebration.
Italian actor/playwright/director/painter/designer/activist/Nobel Laureate Dario Fo died on October 13 of this year at age 90; his wife, actor/playwright/activist Franca Rame, passed away in 2013. They had been married and creating theater and havoc together in Italy and throughout the world since 1954. Their unique brand of satirical theater serves as an inspiration for activists and theater makers around the globe, not only for the past sixty years but into the future. Up to their deaths Fo and Rame remained as thorns in the side of Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a billionaire turned politician who was repeatedly accused of misogyny, womanizing, corruption, and was ultimately brought down by a tax evasion indictment.
Ron Jenkins is Professor of Theater at Wesleyan University and a Visiting Professor at Yale. He had been the chief American translator of Fo and Rame (both for their written work and in performance) since the 1980’s, and is one of the pre-eminent scholars on their work in this country. He will discuss their work and legacy, as well as share some video selections of Dario Fo onstage at the Joyce Theater in New York.
This will be followed by live readings of selections of the works of both Fo and Rame by members of ARTFARM’s Shakespeare in the Grove Ensemble. Attendees are welcome to bring short selections or Fo/Rame experiences to share, or simply to come and listen.
ARTFARM is a Middletown-based non-profit theater company, founded in 2001, which cultivates high-quality theater with a commitment to simple living, environmental sustainability and social justice.
Meditation for World Peace
Thursday, November 24, 10 - 10:30 am
at the Community Health Center, 675 Main Street, MiddletownHi, Friends.
Last year, inspired by a heart full of sorrow - and hope - after the Paris Bombings and the shooting of a local Connecticut Mosque, we hosted a Meditation for World Peace on Thanksgiving morning.
We would like to invite you to join us again this year.
this Thursday (yes, Thanksgiving)
from 10am-10:30am EST
For those of you who can join us in person, our dear friend Mark is opening up the Community Health Center at 675 Main Street in Middletown so that we can:
Gather at 10am, take 5 minutes to - speak a few words, hear a prayer or two – then Sit/Meditate for 20 minutes- focusing on an end to suffering and world peace, then hear a word or prayer…
Then back we go to our Thanksgiving preparations.
30 minutes. Focusing our Collective Consciousness…in a world where there is so much suffering- and we have so much.
· If you live far away- or are traveling for the holidays- join us in meditation from
10:05am-10:25 am - from wherever you are.
This is Inter-Faith. We hope to have leaders from several spiritual backgrounds.
Please join us. Your kindness matters. Please spread the word. Marcella
Oh, if you are joining us in person -- bring a cushion or blanket if you like to sit on the floor, though there will plenty of chairs, so just come.
Please arrive on time -- so we can get you out on time!
Thank you, everyone who came out to see
The Servant of Two Masters,
which ran July 13 - 24 in the Grove!
See you in September!
"I LOVED it! I am so thrilled and impressed. Can you please keep doing commedia?"
"The play is HILARIOUS from start to finish. We LOVED it and plan to see it again, later this week. Check it out!"
"I come every year and this is the best one yet!!"
The Servant of Two Masters photos by Bill De Kine
The Servant of Two Masters cast, July 2016
A Note from the Director:
Welcome to the Shakespeare in the Grove 2016 production of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters!
Hold on. Wait just a minute. How did an 18th century Italian playwright get invited to Shakespeare in the Grove? He is not Shakespeare. He’s not even English. He did not live in the Elizabethan Era. What do the two possibly have in common, and why is ARTFARM not doing Shakespeare this year?
As to what they have in common, the answer is Commedia dell’ Arte. Commedia was an outdoor, masked, improvisational popular theater form which emerged in Italy in the early 1500’s and became a sensation throughout Europe over the next two centuries. Italian Commedia companies toured the continent throughout the 1500s and 1600s, performing for everyone from street audiences to Kings and Queens. They had a great influence on writers and actors of the time, including Shakespeare in England and Moliere in France. Commedia players performed in London in the 1580s and ‘90s, when Shakespeare was active, and he almost certainly witnessed their performances. The Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy of Errors and other comedies are directly influenced by the plots and archetypal characters of Commedia.
Goldoni wrote in the mid-1700s, aiming to preserve the tradition of Italian Commedia (which by then was in decline) while honoring his French idol Moliere, who had absorbed much of the structure, spirit and characters of Commedia while making it more appropriate for sophisticated French audiences. Goldoni, under Moliere’s influence, moved the style indoors, removed the traditional masks, and generally gentrified the form, removing much of the bawdy and scatological humor and revolutionary spirit of original Commedia. In doing so, he both preserved and led to the demise of Commedia.
In our production we are using an adaptation of Goldoni’s script, but, given our outdoor venue, doing it as it might have been done in Shakespeare’s time. Masks, broad comedy (slapstick and zany both entered the English language through Commedia), a little bawdry and crudeness, and a traditional cast of iconic characters that have survived and influenced comedy into the modern day.
Shakespeare will be back in the Grove. This year, however, we wanted to share another side of classic European theater with our audiences, and I personally wanted to share my passion for and training in Commedia with our fans in the Grove. Shakespeare still keeps his name on this Grove, but – who knows? – Moliere might visit one summer, maybe even Aristophanes…
Many thanks to this terrific company of actors who have thrown themselves into The Servant of Two Masters with great commitment, energy and abandon, and to the designers, musicians, staff and technicians who have worked so hard to bring it all together.
Enjoy the show, tell your friends, and thanks for coming!
Circophony Teen Circus Program
Fall Training begins Tuesday, September 13.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 - 9 pm through November 17.
Auditions for Traveling Company are January 17, 2017
Thank you all for helping to make Shakespeare Goes To Italy a night to remember! June 17, 2016
Shakespeare400 Passport Update:
The winners of the Shakespeare400 Passport prizes are:
Thanks to everyone who participated!
Shakespeare Megadeath Weekend April 21 - 24!!!
We have been celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Death of Shakespeare since last summer, starting with our outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and continuing with over 20 “Shakespeare400 Passport” events throughout the State. This month the year-long celebration comes to a raucous climax with
Shakespeare Megadeath Weekend
on April 21 – 24,
offering a multitude of ways for theater enthusiasts, historians, students of literature, families and barflies
to celebrate the Bard’s Quatercentenary.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew has declared the week of April 18 – 24 as
“Shakespeare Week in Middletown”,
and ARTFARM is leading the charge locally.
Shakespeare Megadeath Weekend events are listed below. All of the events are open to the public, and some are free:
*The weekend kicks off early on Thursday, April 21 with
400 Years of the Bard in Print: From the First Folio to Text Messages
an Open House at Special Collections & Archives at Wesleyan University’s Olin Library.
The library has an excellent collection of Shakespeare’s works, from 1623 to the present. Drop in to view rare, illustrated, and unusual editions of the Shakespeare and his work. Note that handling of fragile items will be limited, and children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.
The event will be held in the Davison Rare Book Room on the first floor of Olin Library from noon to 1 pm and 4 – 6 pm.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Friday, April 22 at 2 pm: ARTFARM’s Shakespeare Ensemble will perform a free reading of
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
in the Main Quad at Trinity College in Hartford.
The performance is sponsored by Sound & Fury, the student-run Shakespeare Society at the College, as part of their “Shakespeare on the Quad” event and is open to the public. Rain location in Mather Hall. The cast features many actors familiar to Shakespeare in the Grove audiences.
*Friday, April 22, 5 – 7 pm: A Toast to Shakespeare
at the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty at 51 Lawn Avenue in Middletown.
The event will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live harp music and a short talk on ARTFARM’s Shakespeare work and future plans
by Executive Director Dic Wheeler and Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge.
This is a fundraiser for ARTFARM’s Shakespeare in the Grove and the suggested minimum donation is $50 per person.
*Saturday, April 23: Shakespeare’s Birth and Death Day
(April 23, 1564 - April 23, 1616)
The event will be marked at Middletown’s It’s Only Natural Restaurant all day!
Ten percent of the day’s sales will support Shakespeare in the Grove.
Eat well and support live outdoor Shakespeare in Connecticut!
ION Restaurant is at 606 Main Street.
*Sunday, April 24, 5 - 7 pm, Shakespeare Megadeath Weekend will culminate with
Shakespeare at the Bar– 400 Years Dead!
at Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, 695 Main Street in Middletown.
Friends of Shakespeare, actors, fans and families are invited to join the ARTFARM Ensemble and Board in celebrating the life and impact of Shakespeare. Recite a sonnet or favorite monologue, share a quote, tell a Shakespeare story –
this informal gathering is meant to give Shakespeare enthusiasts a chance to gather and have some fun.
The event will be held in the Garden if weather permits, and the bar will be offering two special Shakespeare-themed beers
(proceeds of the sales of these will benefit ARTFARM) for the occasion.
Mayor Drew will join the proceedings with a proclamation at 6 pm.
Punk Shakespeare image by Jason Leinwand.
All of these events are in ARTFARM’s Shakespeare400 Passport,
and passport holders will be able to get stamps as long as you bring your passport to the event.
Anyone submitting their Shakespeare400 Passport to ARTFARM by May 15 with ten or more event stamps
will be entered into a drawing for an impressive packet of prizes, including free tickets to Hartford Stage Company, Yale Repertory Theater,
Connecticut Repertory Theater, Long Wharf Theater, ARTFARM, and Flock Theater.
Winners will be announced at ARTFARM’s “Shakespeare Goes To Italy”
Rooftop Gala at the Community Health Center on June 17.
For more information about Shakespeare Megadeath Weekend or other ARTFARM programs,
contact email@example.com or call (860) 346-4390.
ARTFARM announces auditions for the Shakespeare in the Grove 2016 production of
The Servant of Two Masters
Saturday, March 19, 1 – 4 pm
& Wednesday, March 23, 6 – 9 pm.
The production will run July 13 – 24 in Middletown.
Auditions are open to actors over age 18. Some Equity contracts available; stipends for all performers. Please arrive on time with a Classical monolog prepared. Bring a current resume and head shot. Dress to move, and plan to stay for the full 3 hours.
2016 is the eleventh season of ARTFARM’s Shakespeare in the Grove on the campus of Middlesex Community College, but the first non-Shakespeare production. The Servant of Two Masters, a classic Italian comedy by Carlo Goldoni, will be directed by ARTFARM Executive Director Dic Wheeler.
We are especially looking for actors with a strong background in Commedia dell' Arte, mask theater and physical comedy.
Auditions will be held at Middlesex Community College. Pre-registration required. To register for one of the two dates, or for more information, call (860) 346-4390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for Shakespeare in the Grove 2015,
Photos by Bill DeKine.
Poster and billboard design by Jason Leinwand.
Photos show Raphael Massie* as Oberon and David McCamish* as Bottom. (*Courtesy of Actors Equity Association.)
Photos also feature Dyllan Vallier, Marcella Trowbridge, Emily Seibert, Samantha Dena, Allison McDermott, Riley Lassin, Dalton Davis, Elizabeth Swan, Corey Welden, and Andrew Lemieux.A Behind the Scenes Look at Much Ado!
|The User's Guide to ARTFARM's "Much Ado About Nothing"|
|What's Happening Now:|
Shakespeare Acting Laboratory with Marcella Trowbridge
February 1 - March 21, Mondays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge has a special knack for opening actors up to Shakespeare’s verse, and for using Shakespeare to help actors discover a deeper level of work. Participants in ARTFARM’s Shakespeare Acting Laboratory, which starts February 1, will get the opportunity to work with her in an intensive, small-group setting.
Shakespeare Acting Laboratory is open to experienced and aspiring actors age eighteen and over. The eight week class will meet Mondays, 6:30 – 8:30 pm from February 1 through March 21, culminating in an informal public presentation of Shakespeare performance work on March 21. Snow date is March 28.
Known as both an exceptional performer of Shakespeare and a challenging acting coach, Marcella will lead participants in a focused exploration of Shakespeare from the actors’ point of view. The work will involve text analysis, scansion, developing emotional literacy and accessibility, voice and breath, physical training, and play. Students will work with Shakespeare's text as individuals, in small groups and as an ensemble.
Marcella is the co-founder of ARTFARM and a classically trained actress who has appeared in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Key West and most recently in Sri Lanka. Local audiences have seen her in many roles in ARTFARM’s Shakespeare in the Grove, including Cordelia in King Lear, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Katharina in Taming of the Shrew, both Hermia and Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Lady Macbeth.
Tuition for the Shakespeare Acting Laboratory is $250. The course will be held on the campus of Middlesex Community College in Middletown, but is an independent course offered by ARTFARM and not part of the College's course offerings.
Shakespeare Acting Laboratory is included in the Shakespeare400 Passport, a year-long Connecticut-wide initiative produced by ARTFARM to mark the 400th Anniversary of the Death of Shakespeare. Passport holders are encouraged to participate in Shakespeare events and performances throughout the State, and people with 10 or more stamps in their Passports will be entered into a drawing for great prizes after the Shakespeare Quatercentenary on April 23.
ARTFARM is a Middletown based company, founded in 2001, which cultivates high-quality theater with a commitment to simple living, environmental sustainability and social justice. Photo below shows Marcella as Titania in 2015 Shakespeare in the Grove production of A Midsummer night's Dream with Raphael Massie as Oberon. Photo by Bill Dekine.
For more information, or to register, contact email@example.com, call (860) 346-4390.
Circophony Teen Circus Training Program
starts September 8
If you are a dancer, an acrobat, a clown, a parkourista, a juggler, an athlete, a magician, if you have a special skill, physical quirk, or just love to do the impossible, the circus might be the thing for you. Circophony’s Fall 2015 Circus Training Program for Teenagers starts on Tuesday, September 8 in Middletown and is open to anyone ages twelve to nineteen regardless of experience.
Circophony meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 – 9 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street in Middletown.
The eight week fall session will culminate in a public Circus Showcase on Friday, October 30.
Circophony, now in its fourth year, is a Teen Circus program co-sponsored by Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and ARTFARM. The program is directed by ARTFARM Executive Director and Children’s Circus of Middletown founder Dic Wheeler with circus performer, aerialist and teaching artist Allison McDermott.
This fall Circophony is offering an eight week Circus Training Program, open to anyone between the ages of twelve and nineteen. Students will build strength, flexibility, performance skills and imagination while developing new circus skills and improving existing ones. Training will include tumbling, acrobatics, balance, juggling and other forms of object manipulation, stilt dancing, unicycling, rolling globe, acting for circus performers, clowning and physical comedy.
Participants will be challenged to develop all-around circus skills while training hard in a disciplined but non-competitive environment. Circus is a unique and ancient art form in which performers strive to do the impossible, individuality is rewarded, and being different and unique is celebrated. Everyone who is willing to work can find their place in the circus!
The Fall Training Program is open to all, though space is limited. Tuition is $250. Participants will be encouraged to join the circus-infused Winter Production of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors at Oddfellows, and to audition for Circophony’s Spring Tour.
To register, or for more information, contact Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want more information about the program, contact ARTFARM.