Mission and History

A view of one of the many distinct scenes enacted during the ARM-of-the-SEA Theater presentation of, “La Cosecha/The Harvest” at the Saugertioes Public Library, in Saugerties, NY, on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Photo by Jim Peppler. Copyright Jim Peppler/2018.

Arm-of-the-Sea’s mission is to create theater that inspires wonder, gives joy, provokes thought, and summons a heightened sense of place. We believe in handmade live theater as antidote to ubiquitous electronic media and consumer culture. We believe that such theater can play a vital part in community life. We believe that it can it must go out of its way to engage people from many classes and walks of life. For that reason, we often operate outside the normal bounds and buildings of institutional Theater.

Arm-of-the-Sea was founded in 1982 by Marlena Marallo and Patrick Wadden as an experimental hybrid performance group combining art, ecology and social action. We continue to experiment with this ephemeral art form as a symbolic visual language that can illuminate the links between human communities and the life-support processes of this blue ocean planet. Our company tours to cultural centers, festivals, community venues, and schools throughout the Northeast and beyond. We also conduct residencies, and create an annual outdoor spectacle, the ESOPUS CREEK PUPPET SUITE, in our hometown of Saugerties, NY.  This web site is but a shadow on the cave wall.  Come and see a live performance.


Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, New York, NY
Detroit Festival of the Arts, Detroit, MI
The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
Central Penn.Festival of the Arts, State College, PA
Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT
Lotus Festival of World Music, Univ. of Indiana, Bloomington, IN
Bardavon Opera House, Poughkeepsie, NY
Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York, NY
Barre Opera House, Barre, VT
Tilles Center, Long Island University, Brookvale, NY
University of Wisconsin at Marathon, Wausau, WI
Puppet Showplace Theatre, Brookline, MA
Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, NY
University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
Johnson Co. Community College, Overland Park, KS
Imagine Festival of Art & Ideas, New York, NY
Warwick Summer Arts Festival, Warwick, NY
SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, NY
Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord, NH
PS 21, Chatham, NY
Emporia State College, Emporia, KS
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA
The Maine Festival , Portland, ME
Papermill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ
Madison Civic Center, Madison, WI
Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY
St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN
Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines, IA
Empire State Performing Arts Center, Albany, NY

The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
SoNo Arts Festival, South Norwalk, CT
Abrons Art Center, New York, NY
Ulster Performing Arts Center, Kingston, NY
Providence FirstWorks, Providence, RI
Clearwater’s Hudson River Revival, Croton NY
Grand Opera House, Oskosh, WI
Delaware Institute of Arts Education, Wilmington, DE
Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ
Berkeley Springs Performing Arts, Berkeley Springs, WV
NJ State Museum, Trenton, NJ
Kirby Performing Arts Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Tribeca Performing Arts, New York, NY
LaGuardia Community College, Queens, NY
First Night Concord, Concord, NH
Proctor’s Theater, Schenectady, NY
State Museum of Penn., Harrisburg, PA
SUNY Orange, Middletown, NY
NY State Museum, Albany, NY
SUNY Purchase Performing Arts, Purchase, NY
Playhouse on the Green, Bridgeport, CT
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY


National Endowment for the Arts, NY State Council on the Arts, NY State Music Fund, Jim Henson Foundation, Hudson River Foundation, Meet the Composer, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Puffin Fund, Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Catskill Watershed Corporation, Woodstock Chimes Fund, Ulster Savings Charitable Foundation, Ulster County Cultural Services Fund, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Rex Foundation.

Lincoln Center’s Out-of Doors Festival (1993)
Environmental Grantmaker’s Association (2001)
Museum of Jewish Heritage (2003)
Clearwater (1988,1990)


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