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Rocky Hill Actor Appears in Off Off Broadway Production, Takes on Heavy Duty Roles

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted April 27, 2023


Adele Batchelder of Rocky Hill has taken on some serious issues in her recent stage and film roles, including mental illness, climate change, the meaning of life, borders, and abortion. Locals may know her as the “Ghost of Christmas Present,” from a past performance in the annual production of “A Christmas Carol” at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. “I was really impressed by her superb performance. It touched my heart to see our hometown neighbor in the spotlight,” says Rocky Hill Mayor Bob Uhrik.

Adele Batchelder

More recently, Batchelder appeared in a two-person play titled “Knock, Knock” as part of the New York Theater Festival in Manhattan on April 24, 28, and 30 at Theater Latea in the Lower East Side. The play, by Floyd Toulet, is “dark and thought-provoking,” according to Broadway World. It is based on a character named Billy Carr who has dissociative identity disorder. He explains: “I’ve got a condition called Dissociative Identity Disorder. It means that I hear voices in my head. I’m not making them up and I’m not mad. They’re real. They live inside me.”


Joe Staton, a British actor, director, and producer based in New York City, is her co-star in the play. It is a psychological whodunit in which a slaughterhouse is set on fire, a body is found, and a disturbing game of cat and mouse ensues until flashbacks expose the truth. “It is exploration of mental health and the need for support systems throughout our society,” Batchelder says. “There is also an element of animal rights, and a connection to nature.”


The experience of acting in the play has made her swear-off wearing leather. In addition to her Off Off Broadway performance, production has recently finished on Batchelder’s independent feature film on climate change titled “That Which Remains,” filmed in Rocky Hill in the summer of 2022 in Millstone Park green acres, behind the borough hall.


In the lead role as Dr. Phyllis Lambert, she deeply examines the worldwide struggle to avert the climate crisis. The full-length film is in post-production now, pending a release later this year, and is expected to premier at one of the upcoming film festivals. “That Which Remains” is a project by George K. Dennison of Brooklyn New York and Olivia Leyva of Real Good Films, also in Brooklyn.


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This team released a documentary film titled “Desynchronized” in 2021 about breeding honey bee queens with stronger genes that fortify beekeepers hives across the country as they face the effects of climate change and unregulated industries.


While she enjoys doing films, Batchelder is also a fan and supporter of local community theater. She has performed at notable establishments such as Elmwood Playhouse, ActorsNET of Bucks County, and the Langhorne Players. Film credits include “Ashes,” “Scratchy,” “Cage and Tumbleweed,” and “The Girl Who Cried Her Eyes Out.”


Who Is Adele Batchelder?

Batchelder was born and grew up in Park Ridge, Bergen County. A quick view of her LinkedIn page reveals that she could probably accomplish just about anything to which she would set her mind. Her many talents include: West African dance; speaking in a standard British accent; and fluency in French and German.


She is also a walker of immense journeys. In 2016, she hiked the Alps for 30 days. “My daughter said, ‘Let’s go for walk.’” They started in Munich and ended up in Venice. During the month-long walk, for which she says she over-packed and was less than physically fit, she says she had a revelation — “I needed to go deeper into acting.” “There was a kernel of thought about having no regrets,” she explained. The same year, she learned Flamenco in Seville, Spain.


A Thinker

Batchelder earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wesleyan University, an MBA from Babson College, a graduate-level teacher certification in K-6 education from Rider University, and studied acting, including Shakespeare basics, at HB Studio in New York City. LinkedIn misses a few key elements of her character though.


She is married to Richard Batchelder, treasurer of the Rocky Hill Fire Company. They have two grown children: Hilary who attended the Hun School before completing college and an MBA degree and now lives in London; and Christopher, who graduated from Montgomery High School and is now a paratrooper in the US Army.


Her husband’s work with Munich Re, a global provider of reinsurance, took the family to live in Germany for five years. While there, she learned German, and took a position as a guide at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. “It was profound,” she said during a telephone interview with The Montgomery News.


As a person interested social studies and politics, she says she wanted to see the memorial. She ended up as a guide — leading Americans, Congressional delegations, military personnel, and others on historical tours through the Nazis’ darkest instrument of terror. More than 200,000 prisoners from 40 nations were imprisoned; and at least 41,500 persons died at Dachau of hunger and illness, from the torture they suffered, were murdered, or perished from the consequences of their imprisonment. “It started off as political prisoners, then rolled into how society should be ordered—the hierarchy,” she said. Eventually, it was used to kill off political opposition and to persecute so-called “community aliens.”


Back to Acting

Batchelder has performed in multiple serious stage roles since her hike through the Alps. In February, she performed the role of Edna in Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” at the Heritage Center (ActorsNET) stage in Morrisville, PA. Albee’s Puliter-prize winning play is about a middle-aged couple who have their complacency shattered when their longtime friends Harry and Edna appear at their door claiming an encroaching, nameless “fear” has forced them from their own home.


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And, Batchelder examines suburban border disputes and neighborly conduct in “Native Gardens,” a play by Karen Zacarias, with the Langhorne Players in Bucks County. The play is set in the suburbs, where a high-powered lawyer named Pablo and his pregnant, doctoral candidate wife named Tania, have just purchased their dream home. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but luckily Tania is a brilliant gardener and plans to transform their outdoor space into a beautiful native garden. Their new next-door neighbor, Frank, is a gardener himself and spends most of his time nurturing his non-native garden to win the annual gardening competition in the neighborhood. Frank and his wife Virginia have lived here for a long time and welcome Pablo and Tania with open arms. However, when Pablo invites his whole law firm over for a BBQ, Tania and Pablo set to work on building a fence and discover that their property line is 2 feet into Frank’s beloved garden. This creates friction between the neighbors and an all-out border dispute erupts. The two couples show their true colors and it is unclear who will win the war.


In Rocky Hill, Batchelder says she gets along with her neighbors. “Though I have been trying to get my wildflowers in the ground,” she says. “Maybe this year.” Her neighbors need not worry. She says she does not have a green thumb.


Learn more about Batchelder at Abatchelder89.wixsite.com/my-site.

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