In the early days of Covid, we took a leap- to the screen, and on Fridays in May shared a serialized reading/performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, featuring a fabulous cast of adult and teen actors, including ARTFARM veterans Marcella Trowbridge, John Basinger and Gabriel Aprea. Watch it on Facebook Live on ARTFARM's FB page (
Each evening featured 5 - 7 minutes of live local music, followed by about a quarter of the classic comedy.
Musical Guests
May 1: Noah Baerman, May 8: Nekita Waller, May 15: Anitra Brooks, May 22: Bryan Titus
A Midsummer Night's Stream was a collaboration between ARTFARM, Oddfellows Playhouse, and Russell Library.
This early 'zoom' performance was quite well received (!!), and was viewed by audiences around the globe. 

Meditation for World Peace

6 years ago, inspired by a heart full of sorrow - and hope - after the Paris Bombings and the shooting of a local Connecticut Mosque (so many tragedies ago), we hosted a Meditation for World Peace on Thanksgiving morning.

We have been gathering annually since then taking thirty minutes out of our busy lives to sit together to generate hope and light in a world that is struggling to find its way.

We would like to invite you to join us once more this year. 

     Meditation for World Peace                

Thanksgiving morning 

 (yes, Thanksgiving)

            from 10am-10:30am EST        

30 minutes. Focusing our Collective Consciousness…in a world where there is so much suffering- and we have so much.        


Some of the World Peace Meditators...

Circophony Teen Circus wowed audiences
Spysight is 20/20
 and welcomed a special guest! 
Instagram star, Tonka, a sugar-sweet rescue dog, 
joined the cast of Circophony in four performances!
Teen jugglers, acrobats, unicyclists, clowns, contortionists
- and a dog:
you couldn't beat it!

Tonka's Journey on Instagram
Tonka's Journey on FaceBook

Bodies, Curiosity & Four Walls: 
A FREE Theater Workshop with Toto Kisaku

Saturday October 20, 2018
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Limited Enrollment. Registration Required. Contact
Circophony premieres As You Wish! March 1 - 10!!!
Don't miss this family-friendly Circus-Theater response to The Princess Bride!
Read more below....

Circophony announces the world premiere of As You Wish!, an original circus-theater response to The Princess Bride

The show will run March 1 – 10 at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown.

As You Wish!, written and directed by Circophony director Dic Wheeler, is both a theater piece and a circus performance, uniquely combining the two art forms in a comical and skillful response to the cult classic The Princess Bride. The play is not a stage version of the film, but rather a contemporary response to the original William Goldman novel and the 1987 film.  As You Wish! explores the ways in which The Princess Bride has influenced our culture, fashion and language, and takes a 2018 look at the fairy tale adventure/romance and the archetypes on which it is built. All this is done through a kaleidoscopic collection of circus acts, outrageous theatrical characters, dance numbers, clowning and puppetry.

“As You Wish! will be a treat for adults and kids of any age,” says Wheeler. “Wholesome, ridiculous, sometimes strident and alternately impressive and hilarious, the play includes circus arts like juggling, acrobatics, unicycling, stilting and such, but also an eclectic collection of contemporary comic characters. Familiarity with the film or book is definitely optional – Princess Bride fans will enjoy the references, the parody, and the commentary, but anyone completely unfamiliar with the original will enjoy a fast-moving and fun piece of circus-theater.”

ARTFARM's Shakespeare in the Grove 2017 presents
directed by Dic Wheeler

featuring Marcella Trowbridge as Hamlet

July 12 - 16 & 19 - 23 
at 8 pm 
in the Cedar Grove on the campus of Middlesex Community College.
100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, Connecticut 06457


All prints hand made by Amos Kennedy and are available for purchase.

Shakespeare Acting Laboratory 
with Marcella Trowbridge 
starts January 11!
Public Share February 15th.

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 January 11, 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 6 week class will meet Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm from January 11 through February 15, culminating in an informal public presentation of Shakespeare performance work on February 15. Snow date is February 22. 

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. Special attention will be given to Scene Study.

Marcella is the co-founder of ARTFARM and a classically trained actress who has appeared in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Key West, Sri Lanka and is currently doing work in Germany. 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, Lady Macbeth and most recently Hamlet.

Tuition for the Shakespeare Acting Laboratory is $200. 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.

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. 

For more information, or to register, contact, call (860) 346-4390.

Photo below by Bill De Kine of Marcella Trowbridge as Hamlet in the 2017 Shakespeare in the Grove production of Hamlet.





Saturday, April 1: 10 am to noon

 ARTFARM announces public auditions for its 2017 Shakespeare in the Grove production of Hamlet.  

Auditions will be held Saturday, April 1, 10 am to noon 

 at Middlesex Community College.

Auditioners must pre-register,  dress to move, and plan to remain for the entire two hours. 

Please prepare a 2 minute Shakespeare monologue and bring or send your resume and head shot. 

Experienced men are particularly encouraged; there may be a limited number of Equity contracts available. 
Ages 18 and over only, please. Stipends are paid to all actors.

This is ARTFARM’s twelfth summer of presenting Shakespeare and live music in the beautiful Grove overlooking the Connecticut River Valley on the Middlesex Community College Campus. ARTFARM is a professional Company with a Core Ensemble, but open auditions are held annually to fill many roles in our summer Shakespeare productions. All experienced actors are welcome to audition.

Middlesex Community College is located at 100 Training Hill Road in Middletown. Production dates are July 13 - 23 in the Cedar Grove at the College. Rehearsals begin May 30 and will be held on weekday evenings.

For more information, or to register, contact ARTFARM at, or call (860) 346-4390.

Photos by Bill DeKine
of Macbeth and King Lear.

Circophony Fall Showcase
Friday,November 17 at 7 pm
at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington St., Middletown
FREE and open to the public. Come check it out!

ARTFARM 2016 -2017 Newsletter:

Thank you, Everyone who joined us for Hamlet this summer. 
In case you missed it, here is some of the unsolicited audience response:
"A magically directed Hamlet, timely and timeless."
"It's fabulous folks! Don't miss it!"
"The performers made Shakespeare's language accessible and meaningful."
"WHAT AN EVENING! Thank you for bringing Shakespeare to Middletown."
"It's a brave, smart, energetic performance."
"Excellent show. High-caliber acting all around. The show held the interest of my nine year old!"
"I've seen many performances of Hamlet...I can say, handily, that Marcella Trowbridge pours every ounce of herself into Hamlet, and the result is nothing less than extraordinary. The performance was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it."
"This is a most thought-provoking production. Highly recommended."

Circophony Fall Circus Training for Teens 
starts September 12!

Circus training for young people is alive and well in Middletown, the self-styled circus capital of Connecticut.

Starting September 12, young people ages 12 to 19 will have the opportunity to receive professional training in circus arts through a unique program with a nearly thirty-year history. Circophony meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 to 9 pm, from September 12 through November 16. The program culminates with a “Fall Circus Showcase” on Friday, November 17, and Circophony members will then have the chance to audition for Circophony’s Spring Production. All classes take place at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater at 128 Washington Street in Middletown.

The Fall Training program is open to all teens, regardless of circus experience, who are willing to commit to the ten-week, five-hour per week program. Training will include many aspects of circus and performance, including acrobatics, tumbling, juggling & object manipulation, balancing & equilibristics, unicycling, stilting, strength & flexibility, physical comedy, clowning and ensemble performance. The program does not include aerial training, but Circophony members are regularly provided with opportunities to enroll in specialized workshops, take field trips to professional circus performances, and participate in Regional and National Youth Circus Festivals through the American Youth Circus Organization.

Circophony is a collaboration between ARTFARM and Oddfellows Playhouse. The program is directed by ARTFARM Executive Director Dic Wheeler, who started the Children’s Circus of Middletown in 1988 and has been teaching, directing and performing circus and theater around the United States, Europe and South Asia since 1980.

“Circus provides incredible opportunities for young people,” says Wheeler. “It offers the physical training of sports without the competition, but also is a collaborative art form in which uniqueness and personal quirks are seen as assets. By working together in circus, kids can do things that at first seem totally impossible. And once you have performed the impossible, you can do anything.”

Wheeler leads the program with Assistant Director and Head Coach Allison McDermott, a life-long circus performer and a graduate of the Professional Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts. The two will be joined by guest artists throughout the Fall program, and will create an original Circus Theater performance with the Company which will premiere in March.

Tuition for the ten-week program is $250. To enroll, go to For more details about the training structure and content, contact Dic Wheeler at, or visit


NOW BOOKING for May & June 2017!

Circus Indivisible is available for bookings at schools, clubs and events throughout May and June. 
The 45 minute show features 14 seasoned teen performers who juggle, stilt, dance, hoop, unicycle, balance on ladders, and flip through the air. The Traveling Company, selected by audition, develops an original circus performance each winter for a Spring tour. Circus Indivisible combines circus, dance, acrobatics and comedy to build connections across the communication gaps in our contemporary culture. The Company's Roman Ladders become walls that separate people, bridges that bring them together, and, ultimately, ladders that take them higher.
Don't miss this exciting celebration of young energy, strength and talent. 

Circophony is a collaboration between ARTFARM and Oddfellows. 
Directed by ARTFARM artists Dic Wheeler and Allison McDermott (of Circus for a Fragile Planet and Isaac Newton's Little Apple Circus), Circophony offers year-round training to teenagers in circus arts. 
Gifted and experienced young performers have the opportunity to audition for the Traveling Company. 
This select Ensemble, which develops a new circus show each winter, is available to tour throughout Connecticut every spring. 

Book now while there are still dates available!!


 All performances are at 8 pm on the campus of Middlesex Community College in Middletown. 

Audiences are encouraged to arrive early, bring lawn chairs or blankets, and enjoy a picnic and a play in the beautiful Cedar Grove overlooking the Connecticut River Valley. There is OPEN LAWN SEATING -- the area closest to the stage is reserved for audience members on blankets so they do not get blocked by folks on lawn chairs in front of them.

This two hour production of Hamlet explores an individual's struggle to make choices and take action when faced with an unjust government. 

It is recommended for all ages; the two hour cut and physical action bring the classic tragedy to life in a way that is immediate and riveting.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids. July 12 is a “Pay-What-You-Can” preview. 

Middlesex Community College is located at 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, CT. 


The performance is held indoors in Chapman Hall on the MxCC campus in case of rain.

The site is accessible by wheelchair and all restrooms are accessible. 

Patrons in wheelchairs or needing assistance are advised to park in the UPPER  (second) PARKING LOT.

Popcorn, cookies and cold non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase at the event, 

but patrons are welcome to bring lovely dinners and the beverage of your choice.

Shakespeare in the Grove is co-sponsored by Middlesex Community College.

Additional support is provided by generous grants from the Middletown Commission on the Arts and Pratt & Whitney. 

For more information, contact ARTFARM at (860) 346-4390 or email


Directed by Dic Wheeler

Scenic Design by David Schulz

Music Direction by Joseph Getter

Costume and Puppet Design by Christian Milik

Properties Design by Tony Palmieri

Lighting and Sound Design by Joe Marturano 

Fight Choreography by David Chandler

Stage Management by Hannah K. Guerin 



King Claudius/Ghost. NOAH TULEJA*                                    

Queen Gertrude. CALLIE BEAULIEU*

Lord Polonius/Gravedigger. J. GOLDEN

Laertes/Lucianus. ALEXANDER KYDD



First PlayerPriest. PETER LOFFREDO 

Marcellus/Gentlewoman/Player Queen/Osric. ALICE WILKINSON

Bernardo/Guildenstern/Sailor. NICHOLAS PERRY

Rosencrantz/Messenger. JACOB HARRIS WRIGHT

                 *This actor appears through the courtesy of the Actor’s Equity Association, the Union of Professional actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Hamlet Press Release:

ARTFARM to Present Hamlet as 12th Annual Shakespeare in the Grove at Middlesex Community College


                                          Photo by Bill De Kine of Noah Tuleja as the King, Callie Beaulieu as the Queen,and Jacob Wright as Butler.


MIDDLETOWN, CT- Middletown-based theatre company ARTFARM brings Shakespeare to the Grove at Middlesex Community College for the twelfth year with a groundbreaking production of Hamlet running July 12ththrough July 23rd.


This is not the Hamlet that you read in high school,” said Executive Director Dic Wheeler, who is directing this summer’s production, “This is a fast-paced, contemporary Hamlet which is all about action and reaction in a high-stakes world.”


Wheeler has condensed Shakespeare’s mammoth masterpiece to a swift two-hour cut which utilizes 11 actors.


“With this streamlined cut we’re really getting to the bones of the story,” said Marcella Trowbridge, Artistic Director of Artfarm, “and a lot of that is about taking action in the face of corruption, in the face of an unjust government. And I think that right now it feels resonant. It feels crucial and vital for a play that’s over 400 years old.”


Trowbridge will be taking on the title role. “It’s a tremendous gift to be able to play this role,” she says, “I am certainly not the first woman in history to play Hamlet. There have been some dynamic women who have played Hamlet. It’s a lot to do justice to this. My hope is that as an actor, I bring a sense of emotional accessibility and intuitiveness to Hamlet- who is already very intellectual and reflective.”


Wheeler agrees, “Marcella Trowbridge is a modern Hamlet, a thinker and a fighter in a world where gender identity is in flux.”


The full cast includes Alex Kydd, Peter Loffredo, J. Golden, Nick Perry, Cassandra Spadory, Nathan Tracy, Jacob Harris Wright, Alice Wilkinson, and Equity actors Callie Beaulieu as Queen Gertrude and Noah Tuleja as King Cladius.


Beaulieu returns to Artfarm this year after performing in King Lear in 2014. “I’ve wanted to play Gertrude for years,” she said, “So for me to finally get my hands on her and get to say those lines I’ve wanted to say for a long time has been a great honor.”


Tuleja, a newcomer to Artfarm this year, agrees. “The chance to play Claudius is kind of hard to pass up,” he said, “And this production…really drives more. Not just for Hamlet but for every character it’s very driven.”


Artfarm’s Hamlet will run Wednesday July 12th through Sunday July 16th and Wednesday July 19th through Sunday July 23rd at 8:00pm in the Cedar Grove on the campus of Middlesex Community College. Patrons are encouraged to come early and enjoy a picnic overlooking the Connecticut River Valley before the show.


The cast and crew all look forward to sharing this daring new production of Hamlet with the Connecticut community. When asked what she would tell audiences coming in to see the show, Callie Beaulieu said, “Just be open. Everyone has a preconceived notion of Hamlet. But if it’s still possible to surprise people with this show, this is going to be the version that makes people see it very differently.”


Hamlet runs Wednesday July 12th through Sunday July 23rd at 8:00pm at Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, CT. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids. July 12th is a “Pay-What-You-Can” Preview. For tickets and information, contact ARTFARM at (860) 346-4390email, or go to


Shakespeare in the Grove 2017 is made possible by support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Pratt & Whitney, and generous donors and businesses. Shakespeare in the Grove is co-sponsored by Middlesex Community College.

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. 
Panelists include:
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.

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.
Circophony presents 
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

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. 
Tuition is $120. Financial Aid is available. Go to

Isaac Newton's Little Apple Circus 
Public Premier
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 
Oddfellows Playhouse.
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

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, Middletown
Hi, 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 ShrewTwo Gentlemen of VeronaThe Merchant of VeniceMuch 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
For more info click CIRCOPHONY


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:

Patricia Vallera
Dolores Vallera
Tracy Tyler

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  


*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 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

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!

Arse Kicking Puppetry and other October events

ARTFARM and MxCC announce... Shakespeare on Campus!

ARTFARM featured on WTNH's "Connecticut Style"

ARTFARM's Shakespeare Slam: A Huge Success!

ARTFARM's Shakespeare Slam and Masked Bash!

Arts and Aging Symposium a huge hit!

As You Like It 2010

Auditions for Circophony:

Bread and Puppet visit a great time for all!

Brian Needs Help!

Circophony's Circus of Joy Final Performance

Circophony's Vaudeville Circus Premiere!

Circus back in Wonderland!

CIRCUS is in the air this fall!

Circus on the High Seas at First Night Hartford

Circus on the High Seas: Poster by Jason Leinwand

Coming Events...

Community Tech Day For "Much Ado About Nothing"

Enjoy GREAT Food While Supporting ARTFARM

First Weekend of Shakespeare in the Grove: A Great Success!

Getting Tickets

Grooving in the Grove! And, should I come if it is raining or hot?

Handy with a Hammer?

Headliner Musicians Announced!

Much Ado About Nothing: A Huge Success!

Much Ado About Nothing: July 18 - 21 & 25 - 28

Much Ado About Something: The Shakespeare Series

Much Ado Specialty Nights

Much Ado Specialty Nights

New England Trail: Southern Gateway Dedication Event

Promote Your Business!

Reunion with our peeps from the Neighborhood Troupes at Oddfellows!

Seeking Actors and Circus Performers!

Seeking Performers For Shakespeare Slam! May 23

Shakespeare Acting Laboratory -- Sign up TODAY!

SHAKESPEARE EVERYWHERE Weekly Winners (Weeks 1 & 2)
Shakespeare Goes to Italy

Shakespeare in the Grove 2013: Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare in the Grove 2014: King Lear

Shakespeare in the Grove 2014 Presents:

Shakespeare in the Grove 2015 Has Begun!

Shakespeare Slam: A Huge Success!

Shakespeare Slam and Elizabethan Birthday Bash!

Shakespeare Slam! May 23 at Middlesex Community College

Special Audition for Lysander

Special Event on Saturday, Sept. 29! Circophony!

Student production of Tartuffe at MxCC

Symposium on Arts and Aging Features Dr. Bernie Siegel Nov. 7!

Thanks to our Shakespeare in the Grove Sponsors!

The User's Guide to ARTFARM's "Much Ado About Nothing"
Untitled Post

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, 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 If you want more information about the program, contact ARTFARM.