Behold the spectacular 2019 Mad River Festival

Dell’Arte International

BLUE LAKE – Dell’Arte International has been bringing original entertainment to local, national and international audiences for over four decades. As one of a handful of rural, professional ensemble theatres in the United States, Dell’Arte is internationally recognized for its unique contribution to American theatre and is proud to call Humboldt home! 

At the 29th annual Mad River Festival, Dell’Arte once again fills its stages with performances from local and international artists for five weeks of non-stop entertainment. 

This years’ line-up of performances includes a concert celebrating a lifetime of work by Dell’Arte’s award-winning composer/sound designer Timmy Gray, original productions from around the world and down the block, Dell’Arte’s first ever drag show in association with Club Triangle, an experimental theatrical laboratory, a storytelling night, a tantalizing late night cabaret, a week of local music with the Humboldt Folklife Festival and much more! 

Dell’Arte continues to present the work of talented alumni, aided by a fellowship from the family of late alumna Nancy Jacobs Lafrenz.

Venues include Dell’Arte’s Rooney Amphitheatre, the Pierson Big Hammer Tent, and Dell’Arte’s Carlo Theatre, at 131 H St., all located in the sunny city of Blue Lake. Offsite performances will take place at the Arcata Playhouse, 1251 Ninth St., Arcata

 Tickets are available at or by calling (707) 668-5663.

The 2019 Mad River Festival kicks off on Friday, June 21 with the Dell’Arte Company’s latest work Turning Gray Skies Blue: The Music of Timmy Gray. This concert directed by Producing Artistic Director Michael Fields, celebrates a lifetime of work by Dell’Arte’s resident composer/sound designer Timmy Gray, featuring music brought to life by the Dell’Arte Company from some of our most celebrated productions. 

As a Blue Star Theatre, Dell’Arte is excited to offer discounted tickets to military personnel, veterans, and their immediate families. 

Please visit our website to view the full season listing and give our box office a call at (707) 668-5663 and mention the code BLUE STAR to identify as military personnel. In addition, community members can donate $10 which allows low-income veterans to see shows.

Join our Passport Club and be first in line to see our talented cast and get the best seats in the house. Your passport connects you to tickets to the Opening Night Exclusive Reception, early access to outdoor seating, and more! Contact Dell’Arte for more information about joining. 

The Mad River Festival is made possible through generous support from these local businesses including Executive Producer Pierson Building Center and Lead Sponsors: Wildberries Marketplace, Suddenlink, KEET, and Stephany Joy/REMAX Humboldt Realty. Dell’Arte is also supported by grants from the California Arts Council, the James Irvine Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Theatre Communications Group. 

Dell’Arte would like to acknowledge festival executive producer Pierson Building Center for their ongoing support throughout the years. The Pierson Big Hammer Tent houses Stories in the Tent as well as community events in the summertime!  


The cast of Blue Lake: The Opera.

The Dell’Arte Company Presents
Rooney Amphitheatre

June 21, 22, 28, & 29 at 8 p.m. 

Presale: $17 General; $15 Senior/Student; $13 Veterans; $10 Kids U-12
At the Door: $19
Directed by Michael Fields
The Dell’Arte Company celebrates a lifetime of work by Dell’Arte’s award-winning composer/ sound designer Timmy Gray. A concert for the ages featuring 16 songs from 10 different shows including Blue Lake: The Opera, Mary Jane: The Musical, Wildcard, Grasshopper and much more! A powerful, funny, and moving celebration of a creative life and movement over time that ripples in this place and throughout this world. 


Carlo Theatre
June 22 & 23 at 2 p.m.; June 23 at 8 p.m. 
Presale: $20 General; $18 Senior/Student; $16 Veterans
At the Door: $22
Written and produced by Danny Mankin

Directed by Angela Van Epps
Featuring Joan Schirle (Queenie Moon), Michael O’Neil, and Jeff Desautels 

“What if we write a play about a clown who gets dementia?”

That’s the question that renowned actor and professional clown, Joan Mankin asked her brother in 2010. A few years later they would find out the hard way. Through clown and physical comedy, Going Down in Flames is both funny and tragic as we travel with Joan/Queenie Moon in and out of the circus ring and through her twisted version of reality.

Isaiah Alexander and William English III in Radioman. Photo by Wingspan Media

Carlo Theatre

June 26, 27, & 30 at 8 p.m.; June 29 & 30 at 2 p.m. 

Presale: $20 General; $18 Senior/Student; $12 Veterans
At the Door: $22
Written by James McManus
Directed by Michael Fields and Roman Sanchez

Back by popular demand, Radioman blends the stories, which represent soldiers from the Vietnam War thought to current military conflicts – across race, gender, rank, and file. The stories from the jungles of Vietnam, the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Blue Ox Historic Village and President Lincoln’s funeral procession and re-enactment, have love as a common theme. This is the love that allows the survivors and their families to make their journeys towards healing and redemption.


The Carlo Theatre
Tuesday, July 2 at 8 p.m.

A bubbling brew of exciting new works-in-progress by Dell’Arte Alumni, Faculty and Staff from all over the world!


With James Peck and Sarah Peters

Life Under the Stars brings together mask, music, storytelling and audience participation to examine our individual stories of failure and reveal the "beautiful risk.

Tiffany Van Camp in Imprints. Photo credit: Sarah Bennett Photography

Created and Performed by Tiffany Van Camp, Cleo DeOrio, and Olivia Schlanger
Produced by See The Elephant Theatre and Dance Company

Imprints is a contemporary dance piece that puts violence against women at the forefront, addressing a topic that is so widespread yet still so taboo and misunderstood, or outright ignored and downplayed. Pulling from the direct experiences of artistic collaborators, research and statistics, Imprints is a project that combines facts about violence women experience with raw physical expression. It also sheds light on the level of trauma that many women are living with day to day as a result.


The Carlo Theatre

Wednesday, July 3 at 8 p.m. 

Co-produced with Club Triangle 

An unforgettable night of outrageously delicious performances of drag of all kinds. This all inclusive event will feature some of Humboldt County’s most fabulous and entertaining drag performers including Traveling Drag King Tucker Noir, and will be hosted by the renowned acting coach Martha T. Lipton. 

Rebecca Finney and Tushar Mathew in Forgive Us, Gustavito! Photo credit: Charm City Fringe Festival

Arcata Playhouse, 1251 9th St., Arcata, CA.
July 5 & 6 at 8 p.m.; July 7 at 4 p.m.
$15 General; $12 Student

By Otherland Theatre Ensemble
Devised and performed by Rebecca Finney, Lucius Robinson, and Tushar Mathew 

Winner - Best of Fringe at the Charm City Fringe Festival 2018, Forgive Us, Gustavito! is set in the backdrop of a horrific crime, inspired by bizarre true events. Gustavito, the solitary hippo of the National Zoo, was found dead from fifteen stab wounds to the snout. The Attorney General has launched an investigation, but the sinister conspiracy behind Gustavito’s murder continues to pull the strings. Join Detective Emilio Hippo, the devastating Elvira Spider Monkey, Toto the Gentleman Gorilla and a whole host of Zoo friends for a story that is equal parts classic noir and outrageous animal madness. In the shadowy underbelly of the zoo, we ask the question, “what does it mean to be complicit in a system you cannot identify?”



The Carlo Theatre
July 5 & 6 at 10 p.m.; July 7 at 8 p.m.

Preseale: $20
At the Door: $25

Get your feathers ruffled with the Mad River Festival’s tantalizing late-night-adults-only cabaret. Vampy vignettes and sizzling hot acts are sure to tickle your fancy and your funny bone. Beguiling burlesque, lively comedy, and marvelous music by our HOT-AS-HELL house band await you along with potent cocktails. Drinks from our FULL BAR served at your seat.
Cabaret for adults 18+ years of age. 


Pierson Big Hammer Tent 
Tuesday, July 9 at 7 p.m.
Presented by Dell’Arte International and the Mad River Union

An evening of storytelling performances featuring stories from the Humboldt community brought to life by the actor-creators of Dell’Arte International.  

Nicholette Routhier, Hannah Gaff, and Juliana Frick in Through the Waves. Photo by UpLift Physical Theatre

The Carlo Theatre

July 10 - 13 at 8 p.m.
Presale: $17 General; $15 Senior/Student; $15 Veterans; $10 Kids U-12
At the Door: $19
By UpLift Physical Theatre
Created, directed, and performed by three women 

Through the Waves weaves a poetic vocabulary of acrobatic movement and storytelling. This intimate and highly-physical play tells the tale of a woman who is lost between the uncharted waters of her grief and the shores of her joyful memories following the disappearance of her soul-mate. Developed as Artist's in Residence at the San Francisco Circus Center and premiered at DIVAFest in 2016, Through The Waves has moved audiences with it's gritty and honest portrayal of loss.


Rooney Amphitheatre
July 14 - 20

A week of folk music culminates on July 20 with a day of free events! For more on this annual Blue Lake crowd-pleaser, please email: [email protected] or visit


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