Cultural Arts Commission Planning Townwide Celebration As Part Of Third Annual Newtown Arts Festival

The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission (NCAC) announces its third annual Newtown Arts Festival will feature over two weeks of outstanding cultural programming involving a number of local organizations that have partnered with the commission to create a townwide celebration of the arts.

The 2014 Newtown Arts Festival — Saturday and Sunday, September 13-14, from 10 am until 6 pm both days — will also feature the second annual Rooster Ball dinner dance under the Entertainment Tent on Friday, September 12, beginning at 7 pm, and the “Six by Ten Play Festival” featuring six ten-minute plays performed al fresco under the tent. The festival weekend will again be presented at Fairfield Hills.

“The Commission’s purpose is to foster the arts in Newtown,” said Laura Lerman, chairperson of NCAC. “This year, we reached out to a number of organizations around town to help us punctuate the breadth of and depth of cultural offerings which Newtown is fortunate to have.”

Terry Sagedy, chairman of Newtown Arts Festival, said the goal this year was “to involve as many groups as we could.

“After successfully expanding the event to eight days in 2013, the further expansion just seemed to take its natural course,” Mr Sagedy continued. “I think what we have now is the beginning of September becoming the month of the arts in Newtown for years to come. We welcome one and all to help us celebrate. Most of the events are free to the public with a few exceptions so we hope the festival will be highly accessible to all.”

Newtown Arts Festival officially kicks off the weekend of September 5-7, with opening night that Friday of The Town Players production of  The Artificial Jungle; the opening on Saturday of a collection exhibition of art from around the world donated to the town in “The Newtown Collection,” to be exhibited at Newtown Municipal Center, as well as the inaugural Sandy Hook Village Artwalk and a performance by Beatles tribute band Ticket to Ride in Sandy Hook, which will continue the recently launched Choose Love Concert Series on Sandy Hook Village Green.

(Performances of The Artificial Jungle will continue weekends until September 27.

“The Newtown Collection” will remain on view daily — including special weekend hours — until September 21.)

In addition, the second annual Children’s Art Party will take place at NYA Sports & Fitness Center, 4 Primrose Street, on Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. Children and their families will enjoy an afternoon of creative fun and performances including coloring houses, Emerald Sketch art therapy, visits with therapy dogs, drumming, face painting and more. Children’s author Leesan Villa will be reading from her book The Angel on Top of the Tree. The afternoon will also include the return of Magic Al and Lucky Star Karaoke.

This event was extremely well-attended last year and set the tone for the week leading up to the outdoor festival. Registration is requested, and can be done at NewtownArtsFestival.com/events.


September 8-12

On Monday, September 8, NCAC and C.H. Booth Library will present “The 3 Wordsmiths,” with three Newtown writers and performers reading from their personal works in a lively and fun-filled evening of poems, essays and a one-man play performance. The event features award-wining author and poet Charles Rafferty; Barry Dougherty, author and head writer at the Friars Club in Manhattan; and Patrick Kearney, author, playwright and performance artist.

A Q&A and wine and cheese session will follow the readings. Registration for this event is also requested, and can be done at NewtownArtsFestival.com/events.

On Wednesday, September 10, NCAC will present “Improv Night” at Proud Mary’s at The Inn at Newtown, 19 Main Street, featuring with approximately 20 actors from improv teams based in Ridgefield and Brookfield.  This is an adults only-event. Food and refreshments will be available from Proud Mary’s. 

Actors from the two teams (20 total) will be blended into two new teams for the event, which will have a “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” format. Scenarios will be provided by a moderator, with audience participation. The atmosphere will be casual cocktail party.

Thursday, September 11, will bring the opening night of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt at Newtown Meeting House, 31 Main Street. The production will be the first collaborative effort between Stray Kats Theatre Company and Third Eye Productions.

Set in 1964, Doubt explores the tensions between a Catholic school principal and their parish priest when she questions his ambiguous relationship with a troubled student.

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at Queen Street Gifts & Treats, 3 Queen Street, or online at www.StrayKatsTheatreCompany.org. (Performances will continue Thursdays through Saturdays until September 20.)

The second annual Rooster Ball on Friday, September 12, kicks off the weekend outdoor festival the town’s newest tradition under the tent at the Arts Festival’s Fairfield Hills site on Trades Lane. Attendees will enjoy cocktails, dinner, and dancing to the music of Eugene Dobbs’s Ultimate Nu Cullers band with catering by Gallucci’s Catering of Danbury. Dress code is “Fun, Festive with Flair – Tuxes or Kilts!”

Tickets are $75 per person, or $560 per table, and may be purchased at newtownartsfestival.com. Cash bar (beer and wine) will be available .


Weekend Festival

The third annual Newtown Arts Festival weekend celebration on September 13-14 will again offer guests of all ages two days of non-stop performances, workshops, exhibitions, music and over 85 artists and craftspeople offering their works for sale.

In addition, there will be 15 food booths operating and, new this year, a Wine and Beer Garden will be open from noon to 6 pm.

The event also features several specialized demonstration tents including the Arts Oasis, Dance Pavilion, Fiber Arts, Poetry Salon, Literary Tent, among others.

“Truly, there is something for everyone at the outdoor festival this year,” Mr Sagedy muses. “We’ve grown the event over three years to something very special that the whole community can embrace.”

Arts Festival tickets will be available at the gate and are $5 per person. Children ages 12 and under will be admitted for free.

On Saturday evening, the “6 x 10 Play Festival” will be presented in The Entertainment Tent.

The event will consist of production performances of six ten-minute plays. There will be a mix of original work by local playwrights and previously performed pieces. Each will be cast with local actors and directed by local directors, most from witin Connecticut.

Following the performances, actors, playwrights and directors will be available for a  Q&A. Picnic dinners are welcome, and The Wine and Beer Garden will be open. Registration is requested through the arts festival’s website.


September 18-21

On Thursday, September 18, Mine Art! Gallery in Sandy Hook will host “Preparing for Art,” a riposte to the recent National Preparedness Month. The space at 117-D Church Hill Road will host a conversation and question and answer with a panel of visual artists about how they ready their studio, and themselves, to do the work of making meaningful things.

Saturday, September 20, will brings the talents of musician Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters to the stage of Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street. Organized by Newtown resident Hayden Bates as part of the ongoing Live at Edmond Town Hall concert series, tickets are $25 and available at www.edmondtownhall.org/liveateth.

Closing the festival will be three screenings of Mr Smith Goes to Washington on Sunday, September 21. The next offering in NCAC’s ongoing celebration of films released in 1939, screenings will be at 1, 4 and 7 pm.

The film series is being presented in the theater of Edmond Town Hall. Tickets for all screenings are $2 each.

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