Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children's Theater (winner of the 2003 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award) was founded in 1980 and celebrates 36 years of bringing quality performances and educational workshops to audiences throughout the world.


Artistic Director Leslie Elias and company perform environmental and multicultural shows for children of all ages. The company performs in schools, theater, libraries, museums and festivals throughout the U.S and abroad. Grumbling Gryphons is well known for engaging children in a highly participatory drama experience, with live music, marvelous masks, and imaginative content. Pre-performance workshops and residencies in drama, storytelling, music, movement, mask making and puppetry enhance every performance. Theater Arts Summer Camps for children provide enriching arts experiences for children.


To find out more about our programs and repertoire please contact or call us at 860-672-0286 for bookings & schedule.

Enjoy browsing our website!


Now booking for the 2017/2018 season! Call for more info and special discounts!


Register now for Theater Arts Performance Camp 2017!

Upcoming Performances!

Join us at The Scoville Memorial Library on Saturday, July 29 at 1pm
for The Myth of Persephone: How the Seasons Came to Be


A special pre-performance drama workshop will be held from 11 - 12:30 to prepare children ages 6 and up to perform as The Greek Chorus during the show. The library will treat the workshop participants to pizza and drinks at 12:30, prior to the 1 p.m. performance. Any adults or parents who want to participate and act with their children are welcome to join in the drama workshop.


To register, please call the library at 860-435-2838 by July 20.


We will have two drop-in mask-making workshops on Thursday afternoons, 2 - 5 pmJuly 20 and 22.



Leslie Elias, director of the Grumbling Gryphons, and co-founder Vanessa Roe have adapted this ancient Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter into a highly imaginative and entertaining show for family audiences, with audience participation as an essential part. Actors will enact this ancient myth with the help of the audience taking part as The Greek Chorus.


Lord Pluto takes Persephone away her mother Demeter, goddess of corn and grain, to hold her captive in Hades, where Cerberus, the Three-Headed Dog stands guard.   The audience becomes the Greek chorus; chanting and singing to help the gods and goddesses rescue Persephone from Hades.  The story ends with a compromise that Persephone live with her husband for part of each year, when the seeds will lay dormant in the barren season of winter.  Her annual return to Earth marks the beginning of spring and the seasons for planting and growth.


Captivating songs and gods, goddesses and otherworldly creatures in fantastic masks enlivens this highly interactive production, set to music. Three actors perform the various roles in the production: Comedy, Tragedy, Zeus, Cerberus and many other colorful characters.


Robert Flanagan of New York mask and puppet designer for The Muppets and Saturday Night Live made several of the traditional Greek masks.  Ellen Moon of Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut made additional masks, scenery and costumes, for this show and has served for many years as mask designer for Grumbling Gryphons.


The Grumbling Gryphons performing The Myth of Persephone at
Clark Art Institute, June 18, 2017


Clark Art Institute

Excerpts from Trickster Tales: Native American Animal Legends at Ellsworth School, Danbury, CT May 25th, 2017

Grumbling Gryphons Trickster Tales 2017 from Craig Norton Media on Vimeo.


The Grumbling Gryhons at the Salisbury Vigil for
Climate Action, January 22, 2017

A few words about The Ampire Strikes Back: A Vampire Energy Play


Dear Leslie,

Well what can you say to a miracle worker? It was extraordinary! Working this subject through the school with after schools programs, getting kids (and parents!)(and the school staff) invested and having fun the whole time is the best kind of social service and cultural development I can imagine. You have teaching skills, tools, costumes and experience that is invaluable. We are so lucky to have you. Thank you for orchestrating this event, and for using it stimulate our community as well as initiating a celebration I expect will be enjoyed by many more in the future. Fantastic!
My best,
Katherine Freygang
Coordinator of Going Green Fair: A Celebration of Cornwall’s 10th Year of Going Green





See our unique approach to educational theater firsthand! Please call the school or organization in advance to confirm the date to notify them of your visit.

Please contact for more details


Visit the Summer Camp page for video excerpts!

Photos from the 2016 Summer Camp!




Photos from The Myth of Persephone, May 4th, 2016 at Colonial School in Pelham, New York

Johnny Segalla as Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, April 6, 2016 at Betances Elementary School, Hartford, CT

The cast of The Myth of Persephone, April 6, 2016 at Betances Elementary School, Hartford, CT

Goshen Center School

Julius Reese and Jonhny Segalla with school children from Goshen Center School, Goshen, Connectcut from The Myth of Persephone production.






2003 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award


Grumbling Gryphons is the winner of the 2003 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award, the highest award one can achieve in this state. View the video below to learn more.


Grumbling Gryphons Promotional Documentary from Craig Norton Media on Vimeo.




Listen to Leslie Elias talk about the Trickster Raven performance at Geer Village with Robinhood Radio host Marshall Miles.


Highlights of 2015:

Photos from our recent performance of "Trickster Coyote Shares The Fire: A Plains Indian Tale" on July 11, 2015 at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts

“Thank you for a Great, Fun, Adventurous & Inspiring Story at our Children’s Summer Theater @ Eastfield Mall !!" -Sheyla Thompson




View Photos from the 2015 Summer Camp!

2015 Summer Camp


The 13 Clocks Performance

Trickster Raven at Cornwall Consolidated School

Contact us about future performances, workshops, and celebrations!



Learn more about us and see us in action!  



Leslie Elias and Johnny Segalla as Persephone and Lord Pluto, King of Hades

Johnny Segalla  with Cerberus, the 3-Headed Dog in The Myth Of Persephone


performance news

Grumbling Gryphons invites you to preview our workshops and performances with children! Please call the school or organization in advance to confirm dates and notify them of your visit.

PLEASE COME PREVIEW OUR WORKSHOPS AND PERFORMANCES WITH CHILDREN! See our unique approach to educational theater firsthand! Please call the school or organization in advance to confirm the date and notify them of your visit.

Accolades for the Grumbling Gryphons

See REVIEWS for comments from teachers, parents, audience members and participants or click on a link to read a recent article about Grumbling Gryphons:

Lakeville Journal   Waterbury Republican
Lakeville Journal
August 19, 2010
  Waterbury Republican A&E
Sept. 12, 2010

Our 30th Anniversary Celebration at Cornwall Town Hall
"On August 12 the Cornwall Town Hall resounded with the lilting tunes of Kreol melodies from Haiti as this year's posse of Grumbling Gryphons campers put their hearts and souls into a final performance that delighted a full house of all ages. Cornwall's very own children's theatre group, led by Leslie Elias, who has a near-magical ability to conjure up colorful pageants of myth, mystery and humor with her international crew of talented performers, also celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. The spectacle continued onto the town green, as a sinuous giant green man (a three-person puppet, mesmerizing to watch, designed by Ellen Moon and Tim Prentice) and a very tall and beautiful lady in flowing white (on the tallest stilts you've ever seen) led cast, audience and all in a dance on the green, amid the sqeals of delighted children. It was a gem of an evening."

Laura Tyson (parent of Sienna Li, a veteran Grumbling Gryphon's actress & camper)

Grumbling Gryphons performs The Ghost Net: An Environmental Musical of the Sea at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey

It was a great pleasure meeting you. The day was very successful. People had a great time. Many thanks for the fantastic performance.
-Marjorie Frankel Nathanson
Executive Director
Hunterdon Art Museum

Praise for Anansi: The Trickster Spider

February 2011 - Abram Lansing, Cohoes, NY
Follow this link to read the school's comments and to view their slideshow!


Praise for Sea Magic: Masks, Mermaids, Music and Merriment!

June 25, 2010 from Chris Staubach — Head of Youth Services
The Public Library of New London
63 Huntington Street, New London, CT 06320

“Thank you for your powerful Sea Magic performance. Wow! Wow! Wow! The costumes and props! The acting! The audience couldn’t resist participating! Tremendous fun and an environmental message even the parents could understand! You haven’t seen the last of us in New London. We want you back again and again. Thank you so much for sharing your art with us.”

Sincerely yours,
Cris Staubach
July 7, 2010



Past Performance:

on Saturday, Dec. 26 - Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009
We were happy to perform at the new Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, CT (see Reviews for parent comments)

The Ghost Net: An Environmental Musical of the Sea
Directed by Leslie Elias

The audience joins Marina, a young teenager, on a fantastic voyage to the sea where they meet King Neptune, the Mermaid Queen and a host of ocean creatures in this participatory story of survival in waters filled with drifting ghost nets, floating garbage and creeping oil spills.

Presented by: Life Publications

Grumbling Gryphons is the winner of the 2003 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award, the highest award one can achieve in this state. Founded in 1980, the Gryphons have been performing in schools, theaters, festivals, museums and libraries for 36 years.