Phoenicia Playhouse will raise money through art and yoga

Sara Beck, proprietor of Catskills Yoga House, in the midst of a sun salutation. (courtesy of Catskills Yoga House)

When enough people move together in a common pulse with a common purpose, an amazing force takes over—a power that can renew, inspire, and heal.–Anna Halprin

Part fundraiser, part community ritual, a Yoga Mala will be held by Catskills Yoga House in Chichester on Saturday, August 12, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Based on principles taught by postmodern dancer Anna Halprin, the event features an invitation to the public to join in performing all or part of 108 sun salutations in unison, led by a series of teachers over the course of the afternoon. Proceeds will be divided between Catskills Yoga House — now celebrating its first anniversary — and Phoenicia Playhouse, according to Elizabeth Andes-Bell, a former Halprin student who serves on the theater’s board of directors and teaches at the yoga studio.


A sun salutation is a linked series of movements common to yoga practice. “Participants will be encouraged to dedicate each round of salutations to a theme,” said Andes-Bell. “They may choose their own personal, family, or global healing, for instance, or projects that are part of the transformative life of our community.” Weather permitting, yoga for kids will take place on the lawn, reiki stations will be set up, and swimming and games will be available for people who want to be involved but prefer not to devote the entire afternoon to sun salutations.

That evening from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Phoenicia Playhouse, sound healer Ricarda O’Connor will offer a Gong Sound Bath, in which participants will relax profoundly to the tones of her giant gongs.

The theater has embarked on a capital campaign to renovate the historic building and expand its use year-round to groups in the community. As part of this effort, another fundraiser will be held at the theater on Saturday and Sunday, August 5 and 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., entitled Art for Art’s Sake. Here’s the idea. You go through your house and cull works of art you are tired of seeing on your walls or have already retired to storage. The Phoenicia Playhouse will sell them to benefit the theater, while you may buy new artworks to take the place of the old ones. Gallerist and artist Christina Varga will be installing the art, turning the Playhouse into a gallery for the weekend.

To donate work to Art for Art’s Sake, call 845-688-2279 or send an email to Theater staff will get back to you to arrange pick-up. Donations are tax-deductible. If possible, provide information about the art (artist, history, value) at the time of pick-up. The public is invited to view and purchase art on Saturday and Sunday, August 5 and 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Phoenicia Playhouse, 10 Church Street in Phoenicia. Admission is free.

The Yoga Mala will be held at Catskills Yoga House, 536 Route 214, Chichester (three miles from Phoenicia) on Saturday, August 12, 1-5 p.m. The Gong Sound Bath will be offered at Phoenicia Playhouse, 8-9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for either or both events at and or in person at the Catskills Yoga House and at the Playhouse just before the gong bath. Tickets are $40 for the Mala only, $20 for the gong bath only, or $50 for both events.