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Praise for Grumbling Gryphons' Workshops and Productions
Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children's Theater
29 Lake Road, West Cornwall, CT 06796   •   860-672-0286



From Betances School in Hartford, April 6, 2016

"It was great. The kids had a great time. You guys were wonderful.. "

6th Grade Teacher-Juan Gonzalez at Betances School in Hartford, CT

From Cornwall Consolidated School Students

Our 2nd, 6th, and 7th graders were drawn into the production of Persephone by the engaging and persistently encouraging cast of the Grumbling Gryphons. Our students learned about Greek theater, performed without inhibition, and had a blast!


From Cornwall Consolidated School Teachers

Hi Leslie,
I meant to write to you that night, since I didn't see you after the show. What a spectacular performance!! The kids had a great time, and I especially enjoyed how you engaged all of the audience, from the youngest kindergarteners to 8th graders to adults, teaching all of us Greek and sign language along with Greek mythology. You are an amazing storyteller and teacher, Leslie! Thank you so much for bringing your expertise, drama, and rich cultural experience to our children. We are so lucky to have you in our community!!


Joyce Samson
2nd Grade Teacher
Cornwall Consolidated School

Letter from Ellsworth Avenue School

Ellsworth Avenue School Letter

Read more here


Article from the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, Connecticut


Republican American 1/28/13

 


Article from The Register Citizen newspaper, Torrington, Connecticut

 

Register Citizen

 


Article from the Daily Hampshire Gazette 

 

Special thanks to the Daily Hampshire Gazette for this article on the Grumbling Gryphons performance at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 14. Click on the image to read the entire article and photos from The Magic Dreidel: A Chanukah Celebration for the Whole Family! 



Spiders, Bees, Hippos, Elephants: Local Students Participate In Interactive Theater - Read the article from the Hartford Courant here.

 

I am in my second year coordinating a summer school program at the school where I currently teach, CREC Discovery Academy.  I wanted a theater experience for the children and found Leslie Elias and her traveling theater group The Grumbling Gryphons off the HOT Schools Teaching Artists website.   They did an outstanding job which included pre-performance mask making and theater workshops as well as an interactive performance replete with music, amazing costumes and set designs.  It was a fantastic experience for the students, their families and the staff.

Lisa Smith-Horn
Summer Director 
CREC Discovery Academy
Hartford, CT

 

Letter received July 11, 2013 from Reggio Magnet School of the Arts

Reggio Magnet School

Hi Leslie,

I wanted to let you know how wonderful the “Myth of Persephone” was at Monument Valley Middle School . It was amazing to see the high level of professionalism and enthusiasm that the entire crew brought to the school. I continue to marvel that you could involve 300 students in a production AND perform it all in a single day. The story was clever and engaging, and the set and music were all that was needed to create the mythical world of ancient Greece .

Of special interest to me was the modeling of art as a creative and engaging process. The students all had a hand in it as the presentation was created in their midst. It is so good for them to see passion, courage, and imagination pouring out before them, and for them to participate in it. I know it was an example for all of the teachers as well. In some of what we do at school, there can be a level of constraint, tedium, and loss of initiative. Your entire process demonstrates another way to tackle the work. Thank you for all that you did.

Nick VanSant-Science Teacher
Monument Valley Reg. Middle School
Great Barrington, MA - Oct. 2010

Dear Grumbling Gryphons,

Thank you so much for coming to our school. You are not only talented actors, but effective teachers as well! Our students very much enjoyed the workshops and the show. They learned a great deal about how people impact the earth, but as a bonus, you made us all feel an emotional connection to the animal characters that were affected by pollution. I’m asking out PTA Cultural Arts Committee to book you again for next year! I look forward to working with you again!

Cathy McElroy - Second Grade Teacher
Six To Six Magnet School / May 2010

 

The Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award

"Recently I traveled to Connecticut to spend half a day interviewing Leslie Elias, Artistic Director of Grumbling Gryphons, and a full day at an elementary school where the Gryphons were doing a residency and performance. I did so because the Gryphons are known nationally for their innovation and leadership in the field of arts for children, and, as a publisher in this field, I wanted to be able to communicate their work to theaters and artists across the country. Their work is described in both our newsletter, Notes for Children’s Theatre, and in the book Participation Theatre for Young Audiences, published by New Plays and frequently used as a text by college and university classes in theater in education.

I am impressed by the energy, enthusiasm, and talent of the actors and their director and the artistic integrity they bring to their work. They nurture the creativity of the children and teachers in Connecticut with whom they work, and inspire them to use their imagination and talents. Their use of visual arts such as masks and puppetry, music, myth and literature, in combination with their commitment to the protection of our environmental resources, especially the Connecticut shoreline, are accomplishments well worthy of recognition by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts."

Patricia Whitton Forrest,
Publisher, New Plays Inc.

 

The Ghost Net: An Environmental Musical of the Sea

I am a PTA representative for the Cutural Arts program at Pohatcong School in Pohatcong, N.J.. On January 19, 2010 we had the Grumbling Gryphons come to our school and work with the children on a production having to do with the ocean to kick off our school's MARE month, when they learn all about the ocean. The Grumbling Gryphons were just what we needed to get them excited. They are very professional people with a lot of very good information to present to the children as well as having fun with them while they are learning their parts. Each of the classes represented something in the ocean and then were a part in a play they put on at the end of the day. The children and the teachers thought that it was great to be so interactive. We hope to work with them again in the future.

Michelle Zurine
PTA, Pohatcong, NJ

 

My six year old daughter, Emma, and I had the pleasure of participating in your show, The Ghost Net, at the CT Science Center today. WOW! We had a fantastic time! What a powerful story with an extremely important message. Your method of educating is so engaging. We LOVED it. Also, costumes, props, actors, music-all were phenomenal! Thank you for an unforgettable experience. I can't wait to enroll Emma in your summer camp.

Please forward info on how to get you to perform at Emma's elementary school.

Michele Zychowski

 

Enrichment Committeee organizer, Nancy Maurice Rogers, at Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School in Stockbridge, Massachusetts brought in Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children's Theatre for 2 consecutive years. Ghost Net was the chosen program for this pre K-4 school. All 300 students at Muddy Brook School participated in workshops scheduled throughout the day. The days' events were led by the incomparable Founder and Director of Grumbling Gryphons, Leslie Elias and assisted by her troupe of actors. The workshops completely engaged the students throughout the acting processes and the creation of the props. By the time the performance arrived, both the students and the actors had developed rapports that readied them for their stage debuts together. The students were transformed through this theatrical opportunity by knowing that they could become an integral part of the day. Leslie Elias is a true seasoned, theatrical professional and teacher. She skillfully works with administrators and teachers at the school to get everyone involved in a creative and respectful manner that is true to all. We are poised to bring Grumbling Gryphons back to Muddy Brook School as well as to bring them to Monument Valley Middle School with Persephone.

Nancy Maurice Rogers
Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School
Stockbridge, MA

 

FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL, EDUCATIONAL! WOULD HAVE YOU BACK ANYTIME.

Dr. Kathleen Fitzgibbons, Principal, June 1994
Mile Creek School, Old Lyme, CT

 

I have never seen a performance which held all of our students' interest so well! Not only did you entertain the youngsters; you aptly demonstrated how fragile the sea is...

Ann C. Petro, Principal, June 1994
Sunnyside School, Shelton, CT

 

..a phenomenal production! The best we have ever had in our school. If this show doesn't give a message to our children and all human beings, nothing will...Acting, music, singing and costuming superb! If on a stage with proper lighting, would definitely be a NEW YORK production.

Addie Coppola, Teacher, June 1994
Chatfield School, Seymour, CT

 

We have had many productions companies at Davis, but none have been as professional and original...Your interactive weaving of the children into the story was truly remarkable--particularly considering you were working with 130 Fifth Graders!

Carol Kelly, District Kaleidoscope Program, May 1994
Davis Elementary School, New Rochelle, NY

 

Everything from the exquisite costumes, to the great live music, acting and the important environmental message really captured the attention of all the children K-4...Your show inspired many children to check out books from the library about our oceans...

Dina Pomeranz, 2nd grade teacher, May 1994
JFK Magnet School, Portchester, NY

 

This was truly an activity in which all the audience got involved, had a wonderful time and learned an important message. The creativity and thought that goes into such a production is truly outstanding...I can't tell you how many students and staff came up to me on the afternoon requesting that we have the The Grumbling Gryphons back.

Rich Frank, Principal, April 1994
Anna M. Reynolds School, Newington, CT

 

Terrific program!...We promote hands-on, participatory education and this production was an exemplary type of experience which actively involved the children from beginning to end.

Linda Corbett, Principal & Arnold Sadoff, Assistant Principal, March 1994
Lincoln Heights International Studies Academic Center, Charlotte, NC

 

Your ability to adapt your presentation to the interest level and understanding of Kindergarten students through grade 9 students over the four performances and numerous workshops is a tribute to your talents. Beyond that, however, it speaks to your keen interest in increasing our awareness of and sensitivity to important ecological issues.

Paul Carolan, Junior High Principal, April 1992
The Brooklyn School, Brooklyn CT

 

I was impressed with the painstaking detail in your sets, costumes and of course, your script. As a marine biologist, it is most important to me that the information you are passing along is accurate. It was.

Barbara Whitman, Director, June 1990
Terramar Marine Biology Programs, Monroe, CT

 

Trickster Tales: Native American Animal Legends

The Grumbling Gryphons are energetic, engaging and enthusiastic!...Their talents were able to elicit excitement and dramatic expression from all in the audience. The dramatizations proved to be appropriate for our kindergarten through fifth graders alike. I highly recommend your programs as a unique and impressive learning opportunity for children. I now our children have had a powerful experience that will be long-lasting!

Linda Abram, President, Home & School Association, January 1994
Gwyn-Nor Elementary School, North Wales, PA

 

You've done it again! Your performance was superb...The beauty and the wisdom of the Native American philosophy was expressed by a group of very talented performers...All the performances of the Grumbling Gryphons are truly examples of 'Hands on Education' at its best. Your company understands child development, and knows how to teach and reach children...We wish that all of our cultural arts performances were as superior in quality as your wonderful children's theater.

Mona London, 1st grade teacher & Cultural Arts Chairperson, Nov. 1993
Deasy School, Glen Cove, NY

 

The students...were very excited to be involved in the performance with their props and costumes... [The teachers] thought the complete audience participation made the experience much more personal and effective for everyone.

Carol Carson, Andrea Kirshoff, Carol Richards, Assembly Committee, December 1993
Pequenakonck Elementary School, North Salem, NY

 

It was fascinating to watch the children come alive during your workshops as you used theater techniques to introduce them to the tales, beliefs and culture of our Native Americans. They were enthralled with the costumes and masks and loved participating in the evolution of the trickster tales. Undoubtedly, they have gained a new appreciation for Native American culture and a true sense of the Native American's value of the land and nature.

Martha Swanson, Gildersleeve P.T.O., November 1991
Gildersleeve School, Portland, CT

 

Anansi, the Trickster Spider

Holding 180 children, between 3-12 years spellbound for 90 minutes is quite an accomplishment. The parents and children are already asking when you will be back.

Gordon Maas, Director, June 1993
Henson Valley Montessori School, Temple Hills, MD

 

Families are still talking about your presentation of Anansi Tales. The power of these authentic folktales and the dramatic images projected by the actors remain with us to be savored again and again. Your art is wonderful. The combination of adapted folklore, highly imaginative costuming, and the inclusion of songs and chants for immediate participation, all serve to engage the attention of the entire audience, parents as well as children. Your troop of actors held the audience in the palm of their hands.....

Barbara Homola, Head, Children's Services, April 1993
The Bryant Library, Roslyn, NY

 

I have been reviewing and contracting cultural arts programs for over 10 years. Your performance and workshops for Anansi the Trickster Spider were spectacular. The workshops were well planned and directed and worked beautifully with the afternoon performance. The ability you and your fellow performers have in dealing with young children is amazing....You held the attention of over 350 kindergartners, first graders and second graders for well over an hour. Our children were either actively participating or totally mesmerized, enthralled and delighted. The purpose of having a cultural arts performance was fulfilled. Our school population was enriched and educated.

Mona London, First Grade Teacher, February 1993
Deasy School, Glen Cove, NY

 

Students loved the...colorful sets, creative costumes, and variety of musical instruments. Allowing them to participate helped to make the experience even more enjoyable.

Ismael Calderon, Coordinator of Community Programs, March 1989
American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

 

The Myth of Persephone, or how the seasons came to be

...thank you for helping make Sunday Spectrum a wonderful success--your work with the deaf as well as the general audience was really special and made a great day for many people who had never been to the museum before.

Corky Dean, Project Coordinator, May 1989
Museum of Fine Arts and George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, MA

 

I would like to thank you for the two wonderful performances of 'The Myth of Persephone' which you performed for the city-wide celebration "For Kid's Sake Day". The inclusion of your performance in the schedule of events for the day provided a quality experience for our visitors.... The theater workshops and parade through the museum were also a tremendous success. I want to thank you for your flexibility and professionalism,...considering that 4,000 children floated in and out of the museum! I am pleased to recommend the Grumbling Gryphons to any organization which attracts elementary age children.

Amy Jared, Coordinator, Youth and Family Programs, April 1988
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

 

Workshops by Leslie Elias

I have watched many times while you take a group of students who are quite new to you and magically involve them, unrehearsed, in a performance for themselves and each other...your outstanding contribution to these occasions is you own infectious and vitalizing spirit...You have instinctive insight into those children's talents which can go unperceived in regular school situations.

Ann Schillinger, Director of Community Resources, April 1988
Bedford Central School District, Mt. Kisco, NY

 

This was the best program we've seen with music. Children's involvement was wonderful. Approach and level was most appropriate.
Let's do this again!

Teacher evaluation to BOCES, March 1993
New Lane Elementary, Selden, NY

 


Trickster Tales: Native American Animal Legends

The entire school, students and teachers combined, thoroughly enjoyed your entire presentation. The pre-performance workshops were an inspiring start to an exciting follow up performance.

Michelle Childs, Cultural Program Director, May 1993
The Botelle Elementary School, Norfolk, CT

 

This program was absolutely fantastic, I loved the performers, costumes, scenery and the stories!

Teacher quoted by Nancy Salem, PTO, October, 1992
Consolidated School, New Fairfield, CT

 

It was fascinating to watch the children come alive during your workshops as you used theater techniques to introduce them to the tales, beliefs and culture of our Native Americans. They were enthralled with the costumes and masks and loved participating in the evolution of the trickster tales. Undoubtedly, they have gained a new appreciation for Native American culture and a true sense of the Native American's value of the land and nature.

Martha Swanson, Gildersleeve P.T.O., November 1991
Gildersleeve School, Portland, CT

 

Anansi the Trickster Spider

I have been reviewing and contracting cultural arts programs for over 10 years. Your performance and workshops for Anansi the Trickster Spider were spectacular. The workshops were well planned and directed and worked beautifully with the afternoon performance. The ability you and your fellow performers have in dealing with young children is amazing....You held the attention of over 350 kindergartners, first graders and second graders for well over an hour. Our children were either actively participating or totally mesmerized, enthralled and delighted. The purpose of having a cultural arts performance was fulfilled. Our school population was enriched and educated.

Mona London, First Grade Teacher, February 1993
Deasy School, Glen Cove, NY

 

Families are still talking about your presentation of Anansi Tales. The power of these authentic folktales and the dramatic images projected by the actors remain with us to be savored again and again. Your art is wonderful. The combination of adapted folklore, highly imaginative costuming, and the inclusion of songs and chants for immediate participation, all serve to engage the attention of the entire audience, parents as well as children. Your troop of actors held the audience in the palm of their hands.....

Barbara Homola, Head, Children's Services, April 1993
The Bryant Library, Roslyn, NY

 

The Myth of Persephone

On behalf of the Philadelphia Museum of Art I would like to thank you for the two wonderful performances of "The Myth of Persephone" which you performed for the city-wide celebration "For Kid's Sake Day". The inclusion of your performance in the schedule of events for the day provided a quality experience for our visitors.... I want to thank you for your flexibility and professionalism. I am pleased to recommend the Grumbling Gryphons to any organization which attracts elementary age children.

Amy Jared, Coordinator, Youth and Family Programs, April 1988
Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

Workshops by Leslie Elias

Your visit with our team this week really brought to life the Greek myths for our students. The children all had positive feelings about participating in your well-organized performance. The costumes and props were creative and your choreography was superb. You are truly a gifted improvisation artist.

Betsy Guardenier, teacher, February 1989
Fox Lane Middle School, Bedford, NY

 

The Ghost Net: An Environmental Sea Story

You were spectacular. The teachers raved about the workshop sessions with the classes, and the performance exceeded our expectations and surpassed any other visiting performance that we have experienced. The thought, creativity, and talent that you lend to your production is outstanding.

Dale Bernardoni, Principal, May 1993
Center School, East Hampton, CT

 


Our children will remember this for a long time to come. We watched the excitement build to a wonderful whole school performance. The costuming was great and the handouts to prepare for the day made everything easy to put together. This was the best group we've ever had perform and work with us.

Janet Des Champs, 2nd grade teacher, June 1992
Millerton Elementary, Millerton NY

 


I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation and congratulations for the two wonderful days the Grumbling Gryphons spent at The Brooklyn School. Your ability to adapt your presentation to the interest level and understanding of Kindergarten students through grade 9 students over the four performances and numerous workshops is a tribute to your talents. Beyond that, however, it speaks to your keen interest in increasing our awareness of and sensitivity to important ecological issues.

Paul Carolan, Junior High Principal, April 1992
The Brooklyn School, Brooklyn CT

 


I was impressed with the painstaking detail in your sets, costumes and of course, your script. As a marine biologist, it is most important to me that the information you are passing along is accurate. It was.

Barbara Whitman, Director, June 1990
Terramar Marine Biology Programs, Monroe, CT

 

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 30 years.