Teaching Artists & Playhouse Staff

Our Teaching Artists are the core of our programming. Each teacher brings their experience, artistry and a commitment to supporting the personal, social, academic and emotional growth of young people through the arts.

Kristy Chambrelli (Acting, Little Fellows, Creative Drama, Mini-Production Director) has a BM in Voice/Opera from Boston Conservatory. She is a SDC Associate Member Kristy-Headshot-1and Director’s Lab North Alum. Kristy is directing the US Premiere of The Mysterious 44 and the World Premiere of Peacemaker in Northampton, MA this season. She was the Resident Director of the Asolo Art Song & Aria Festival in Italy. She has directed for New England Conservatory, The Hartt School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, Florida State University. Her production of Jekyll & Hyde won the 2014 Moss Hart Award in the University Division. She has been named to the SDCF Observership Class for 2015-2016.

Chris Coffey (Lead Teaching Artist, Production Associate) is thrilled to be part of the Oddfellows team! ChrisCoffeyHeadshotOriginally from New Jersey, he is an actor, musician, writer, and educator, and an alumnus of Manhattanville College (BA Musical Theater) and the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. He spent his last two years at the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, NY, where he was the resident Associate Music Director, Education Associate, and performed in over a dozen mainstage productions, most recently Benvolio (and many others) in a 6-actor version of Romeo and Juliet. His cabaret, What the **** Do We Do Up Here?, debuted in February 2015 at the Central New York Playhouse to a sold-out crowd AND sold-out bar, which is clearly a testament more to his friends than his talent. Favorite regional theater/NYC credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck) & Into The Woods (Jack) in Rep, Reefer Madness (Also Jack), Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio), The Penguin Tango (Curly), The Who’s ‘Tommy’ (Tommy), The Cherry Orchard (Trofimov), The Taming of the Shrew (Lucentio), and many more. He is also a musical theater teaching artist at the Music Center of North Haven, and has taught for Syracuse City Schools, Bronx Public Schools, and others. For more information, please hire him a web designer (www.chris-coffey.com coming soon!).

Maeghan Fuller (Jr. Circus)

Rob Grimm (Circus Arts)

Jamie Guite (Creative Drama & Acting) is excited to return to Oddfellows for her eighth year. Trained at Southern Connecticut State University, Circle In the Square, and UCB, Jamie has been teaching theatre for the past 18 years throughout the Northeast, focusing in Connecticut. Teaching for the Independent Day School, Neighborhood Music School, Hartford Stage, LEARN, CREC, The Children’s Theatre, NEAT, and other houses, Jamie still finds time to perform improv with Franklin’s Peaches and in other productions . Her favorite role to date is that of “Mommy” to her three beautiful children.

Marion Imbruglio (Costumes & Prop Design, MARC Program)

Carmine Lavieri (Improvisation)graduated from Central Connecticut Statecarmine University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater, and has worked as a teaching artist since 2011. It is with great joy that he returns to Oddfellows Playhouse, following a brief sabbatical during which he and his wife welcomed their first child, a son named Tobias.

Brittany Leary

Jason Leinwand (Circus Director)
Jason is a visual artist, performer and designer with an MFA in Studio Arts from NYU and a jasonBA in Studio Arts from Wesleyan University. He has been a teaching artist with various organizations for over 15 years and currently serves as the Program Developer for Puppetry In Practice, Inc in Brooklyn, NY. He develops and teaches various residencies in stop motion animation, early childhood, puppet making and mural painting with students Pre-K through junior high. He is also an adjunct professor in Early Childhood Arts Education at Brooklyn College. Jason has been involved with Oddfellows since 1995 and currently is the Director of the Children’s Circus of Middletown.

Matica Arts

Allison McDermott (Circus Arts, Advanced Circus Program Director, Circophony)allison-trapeze5
Allison McDermott is a circus artist born, raised and trained in Middletown, Connecticut. Growing up she learned to stilt, tumble and clown at the Children’s Circus of Middletown, and as an adult discovered her love of aerial arts. She attended the New England Center for Circus Arts’ Professional Track Program in Brattleboro, VT.  Allison has performed in a variety of circus shows such as ArtFarm’s Circus for a Fragile Planet: Submerged, Soviet Bloc Party’s Missed Connections and Special Relativity, which she also co-directed and choreographed. Most recently she performed as a fairy acrobat/aerialist in ArtFarm’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Allison is currently teaching and performing throughout New England area.

Elise A. MurphyMulligan(Creative Drama)
Elise is a local teacher, actress, and director.  She studied acting a Boston University and received her BS in educational theatre and developmental psychology from New York University.  While attending NYU, Elise attended HB Studios in Manhattan ultimately earning a full scholarship while interning for Elizabeth Dillan.  She studied under a number of reputable teachers/coaches while performing on stage, in TV, radio, and film.  Elise has her Masters degree in education/teaching from Sacred Heart University.  She has performed in a number of Off and Off Off Broadway productions, TV shows, radio and TV commercials, as well as a number of independent films.
Elise teaches theatre and psychology and writes children’s plays.  She was proud to have one of her plays produced and performed for the bicentennial celebration at Stamford’s’ Rich Forum.  She was the educational consultant for the Norwalk Aquarium’s in school assembly program and performed the part of Dr. LivingSound until she was lucky enough to help establish a school for the performing arts in Stamford.  She moved to Middlesex County a few years ago and is thrilled and delighted to be joining the amazing and talented staff at Oddfellows Playhouse.

Kristen Palmer (Artistic Director)
Kristen-home-pageKristen Palmer brings twenty years of theater making and teaching experience to Oddfellows Playhouse.
While a member of Printer’s Devil Theater in Seattle, she produced, directed and wrote new plays. In New York she was a member of the Women’s Project Theatre Lab, the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program and continues to be an associate artist of New Georges. Kristen received a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis, a Connecticut State Individual Artist Grant from the Department of Culture and Tourism and was Playwright-in-Residence at the William Inge Center for the Arts. She has designed and implemented arts programs engaging students in their own creative processes with Dreamyard Drama Project, Brooklyn Free School, the Creative Arts Team, and many other organizations throughout the country. She has developed and led arts education programs and directed productions with early childhood through college students, special needs populations, English language learners, incarcerated youth and underserved communities in the South Bronx, Brooklyn and D.C.
Kristen received her Bachelors from Bretton Hall in Yorkshire, England studying Dramatic Arts with a focus on creating original work and using drama in community and educational contexts. She holds an MA from NYU in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with concentrations in education and theatre and an MFA from Hunter College in Playwriting where she studied under Tina Howe. Her plays have been produced and developed throughout the country.

Luke Reinwald (Technical Director/Designer)

Hannah Simms is a theater director, teaching artist, and performer based in Hartford, CT. She is a member of Hartford’s social justice theater company HartBeat Ensemble and is master teacher HannahSimmsPhoto1of their Youth Play Institute. She has been working with theater and youth for the past 10 years, with such organizations as Oddfellows, ArtFarm, Hampshire Shakespeare Company, Enchanted Circle Theater, and Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School. Her professional directing debut at HartBeat Ensemble, Meet Us Where We Are, premiered in February of 2016. Other directing credits include Eurydice, The Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Dearly Departed. She is a graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and of the Eugene O’Neill Center National Theater Institute’s Advanced Directing program. She has also been known to perform on stilts, to play with the Hartford Hot Several marching band, to herd goats, and to show up in a costume for no very good reason.

Renée Soares (Creative Arts)
Renée S. Soares is a mixed media visual artist, art educator and curator. Working in the soaresmedium of polymer clay with glass beads, she creates extraordinary one of a kind beaded clay masks. As an art educator, she creates integrative art curriculum for grades K-8 and is presently a resident artist at Oddfellows Playhouse, Green Street Arts Center, the Guilford Art Center and provides professional services to non-profit organizations and school districts throughout Connecticut. She holds a B.A. from Brown University and presently resides in Middletown, CT.

Jean Ann Wertz (Operations Manager)
JAWsharkJean Ann lives in Middletown, CT, and has been a life-long writer of plays and poetry. In 2010, “Traprock” her Noh play about the Old Leatherman, won first place in the one-act category in Connecticut Heritage Productions “Connecticut Stories on Stage” contest. In 2009, she received a State of Connecticut Artistic Fellowship in Playwriting. She has studied Noh theater in Japan and has an MFA from Goddard College. Jean Ann has sometimes taught creative writing. She has also worked as a newspaper, web, book, and magazine editor, a theatrical producer and a professional camper. She lived in a Zen monastery for three years, and kayaks as often a life allows.

Kim West (MARC Director)
Kimberly West is a transplant from Atlanta, GA where she spent 13 wonderful years kim-westworking, teaching and directing for the Alliance Theatre Education Department.  While in Atlanta, Kim directed an independent film and worked on the hit show Cartoon Fridays with Cartoon Network. Since moving to Connecticut, Kim has taught for Oddfellows Playhouse, Performing Arts Programs, Hartford Children’s Theatre, Hartford Stage and others.  Kimberly spent eight amazing years teaching as a Core Artist Instructor in the theatre department at CREC’s Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, where she was the recipient of the 2014-2015 Artist Instructor of the Year.  Also at the Academy, Kim directed seven black box productions, including Trojan Woman set in 1994 Bosnia during the height of the genocide.  She continues to direct for the Academy and support them in any way possible.  In 2015, Kimberly earned her Master’s in Education from the University of Saint Joseph specializing in Multiple Intelligence theatre and Arts Integration.  At Oddfellows, Kimberly is most proud of her work with the actors from MARC Community Resources, a population of adults with developmental, cognitive, and intellectual delays.

Dic Wheeler (Circophony & Director)
Dic Wheeler has been performing, teaching and directing circus and theater for over thirty years throughout the United States, Europe and, most recently, Sri Lanka. He is the co-founder anddic circus Executive Director of ARTFARM, where he created and tours with Circus for a Fragile Planet when not directing Shakespeare, creating new work, or teaching around the northeast. Dic was the founder of the Children’s Circus of Middletown dicprofand was Artistic Director of Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater for 25 years. He also teaches theater at Middlesex Community College. He has directed over 90 plays, including many of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies. He also founded and directs the Youth Circus Circophony, which is an Oddfellows/ARTFARM co-production.