Oddfellows Playhouse was founded in 1975 as a community-based, multicultural theater program designed to include children from all backgrounds. Oddfellows remains Connecticut’s largest and most active year-round youth theater, an independent, not-for-profit organization that annually serves over 1,200 young people.
Oddfellows takes its name from one of its first homes, a building owned by the fraternal organization, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In 1994, after 19 years of rehearsing and performing in dozens of Middletown locations, Oddfellows, with extensive community support, acquired and renovated a 10,000 square foot historic building in downtown Middletown. The building contains a fully accessible, flexible 110-seat theater space with a professionally equipped light and sound booth, classroom and rehearsal spaces, technical shop, prop storage, lobby/gallery space, and administrative offices.
In 2003, Citizens Bank named Oddfellows Playhouse its Community Champion for youth services, and CPTV featured the Playhouse and its program on a special titled art.culture.life. In 2012 Oddfellows was awarded its very first National Endowment for the Arts award for the Our Town grant. The New England Theatre Conference recognized the Playhouse’s history of quality performing arts and youth education with an Award of Excellence in 1998. In 1999, the Playhouse received a Community Service Award from the Middlesex County NAACP in recognition of its years of commitment to young people, particularly those challenged by poverty.
The Playhouse has produced over 350 shows, including classics, contemporary and world premieres.