The Dell’Arte International 28th Annual

Mad River Festival

JUNE 14 – JULY 14

Welcome to the 2018 Mad River Festival! This is the place where you can experience five weeks of amazing creations from around the world and down the block!

This years line-up of performances includes original Dell’Arte Company work, a family big-top series, an experimental theatrical laboratory, a storytelling night, a tantalizing late night cabaret, a week of local music with the Humboldt Folklife Festival and more! Not only that, for the first time ever, Dell’Arte takes the Mad River Festival out of Blue Lake! The MRF Offsite series will host performances in Synapsis Nova in Eureka and at the Arcata Playhouse. This year, Dell’Arte has the added privilege of presenting the Prize of Hope to UNIVERSES, a national ensemble theatre company based in Ashland, Oregon.

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

Venues include Synapsis Nova in Eureka, the Arcata Playhouse,
Dell’Arte’s Rooney Amphitheatre, the Pierson Big Hammer Circus Tent, and Dell’Arte’s Carlo Theatre all located in the sunny city of Blue Lake, CA.

The 2018 Mad River Festival kicks off on June 14th with the Dell’Arte Company’s latest work and Mad River Festival mainstage show Ruzzante Comes Home From The War.

Directors Notes

Is war funny? No. But it is something that we know well. It has permeated our histories, shaped our cultures and continues to alter our world on a daily basis. Have any of us known a world or a time without war?
An earlier version of Dell’Arte’s mission statement described our work as, “employing the popular physical theatre forms to explore contemporary concerns.”

That is what we are doing this summer. Ruzzante is in the popular physical style of Commedia dell’Arte. It is about soldiers who grew up in a rural place coming home from war. A timeless story based on a very old play, that we have adapted for now. It was written by Ruzzante Beolco in 1529, and he played the title role. Dell’Arte’s prompt for RUZZANTE was to ask veterans to “tell us your funniest coming home story.” Some of them make you laugh… until you cry. They say life is 51% comedy and 49% tragedy. Laughter comes when the two push together. That is what makes the true human comedy. Dario Fo, a master of commedia said in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech….

“Above all others, this evening you’re due the loud and solemn thanks of an extraordinary master of the stage, little known, yet he was, until Shakespeare, doubtless the greatest playwright of renaissance Europe. I’m referring to Ruzzante Beolco, my greatest master along with Molière: both actors – playwrights, both mocked by the leading men of letters of their times. Above all, they were despised for bringing onto the stage the everyday life, joys and desperation of the common people; the hypocrisy and the arrogance of the high and mighty; and the incessant injustice. And their major, unforgivable fault was this: in telling these things, they made people laugh. Laughter does not please the mighty.”

– Michael Fields
Producing Artistic Director, Dell’Arte International


4 Shows of Your Choosing (excludes Folklife, Red Light and Prize of Hope)
2 Tickets to The Pre-Show Exclusive Reception Opening Night+ Backyard Early Access to the Rooney Amphitheatre
4 Drink Tickets
Public Thank-You in the Festival Program

Call 707-668-5663 to get your passport!


    Dell’Arte thanks the following 2018 festival sponsors for their generous support:
    Executive Festival Producer: Pierson Building Center
    Lead Sponsor: Wildberries Marketplace, Suddenlink, PG&E, Coast Central Credit Union, PBS North Coast and the North Coast Journal