Odd Fellows Playhouse

Promoting the growth of young people - in skills, knowledge and self-confidence - through the performing arts.

aka Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater   |   Middletown, CT   |  www.oddfellows.org

Mission

We believe that access to high-quality arts experiences is a fundamental right. Throughout its history, Oddfellows has remained committed to artistic excellence and social change. The Playhouse’s mission has three parts: 1) an artistic dimension to provide high-quality theater by and for young people; 2) an educational dimension to promote the growth of young people--in skills, knowledge, and self-confidence--through the performing arts; and 3) a social action dimension to offer opportunities especially to underserved and at-risk youngsters to promote the development of a genuinely multiracial, multicultural society. Individual Playhouse programs must address at least one of these broad goals; Playhouse activities as a whole must address all three.

Ruling year info

1977

Executive Artistic Director

Dic Wheeler

Managing Director

Liz Lalor

Main address

128 Washington St

Middletown, CT 06457 USA

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EIN

06-0964602

NTEE code info

Performing Arts Schools (A6E)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Minority Rights (R22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater

Founded in 1975 by a small group of Wesleyan University students as a theater organization designed to include children from all backgrounds, Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater now annually serves approximately 1300 young people, ages 3-20, in a broad spectrum of performing arts activities. The oldest, largest and most active year-round youth theater in Connecticut, the Playhouse is an independent, not-for-profit organization with an arts/social service mission. Oddfellows has been recognized with an Award of Excellence from the New England Theater Conference, a Community Service Award from the Middlesex County NAACP, a Community Champion Award from Citizens Bank, was the subject of a CPTV documentary, and was named Connecticut’s Best Children’s Theater by Connecticut Magazine every year from 2013 – 2019.

Oddfellows staff and teaching artists are committed professionals with proven expertise in working with young people and producing the highest quality and most imaginative theater. Teamwork and cooperation are stressed, while life and theater skills are nurtured and refined. A generous financial aid policy offers scholarships to all children who need them. No child is ever turned away for financial reasons, and the Playhouse actively engages marginalized members of the community.

Oddfellows school-year, tuition-based program is structured in three 8-week terms of classes and productions. The opportunity to perform in front of an audience is part of every student’s experience, whether for family and friends on Share Day or in the mini-and mainstage productions in the theater. A signature event of Oddfellows is the Children’s Circus of Middletown, now in its 33rd summer and a national model for community circus. The Children’s Circus is a 5-week summer camp for ages 5 -15 that leads to a spectacular outdoor public performance with over 200 performers and an audience of over 1,000. In 2018, the Children’s Circus was one of two programs nationally awarded the New York Life Foundation Award for Excellence in Summer Learning by the National Summer Learning Association.

Oddfellows students come from Middletown and 25-30 surrounding communities. 87% of participants are from Middlesex County and 13% are from Greater Hartford. Race and ethnicity is: 52% white; 24% black; 14% Hispanic; 6% mixed; and 4% Asian. 56% are female, 44% male. 48% of students in all programs receive financial aid. The Playhouse has an endowment of around $33,000.

The Playhouse has a small core staff, a committed Board, many contracted artists, technicians and designers, and engages hundreds of volunteers each year. Oddfellows occupies a 10,000 square foot building (now owned by the City of Middletown with OP as primary tenant at $1 per year) in downtown Middletown, CT, and has been a deeply valued community resource for 46 years.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth
Low-income people

Where we work

Awards

Champions in Action 2003

Citizens Bank

NY Life National Summer Learning Award 2018

National Summer Learning Organization

Affiliations & memberships

American Youth Circus Organization 2021

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Young people and their families, especially those from underserved sectors of the community.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    During the COVID-19 pandemic we communicated regularly with the people we serve to make choices about providing in-person, outdoor, or virtual programs.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Asking young people (especially teenagers) about what they want and how we can best serve them has effected our choice of classes and plays, and this has given the young participants an increased sense of agency.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Odd Fellows Playhouse
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Odd Fellows Playhouse

Board of directors
as of 12/20/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kristen Jensen

Four Seasons Credit Union

Term: 2021 - 2023

Glenn A. Taylor

Citizens Bank

Michael Sciola

Wesleyan University

Melissa Schilke

Wesleyan Potters

Jane S. McMillan McMillan

Howard & McMillan

Sylvia Rutkowska

Dzialo, Pickett & Allen

Noel Garrett

Wesleyan University

Elizabeth Bobrick

Wesleyan University

Cynthia Sanders

The Sanders Solution

Quentin Phipps

Guilford Savings Bank

Matthew Lesser

CT State Representative - 100th District

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/20/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/20/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.