Westport Country Playhouse Awarded $30,000 NEA Grant

Westport Country Playhouse Awarded $30,000 NEA Grant

Westport Country Playhouse is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant announced by Joan Shigekawa, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) acting chairman. The Playhouse is recommended for a $30,000 grant to support its community engagement initiative, "Threads of Time, Fabric of History: 'Intimate Apparel' in Context," which will run concurrently with the Playhouse production of Lynn Nottage's play, "Intimate Apparel," in October.

2014 marks the fifth consecutive year that the Playhouse has undertaken an enhanced programming initiative surrounding one of its productions. To date, the initiative has involved close to 50 different community partners from all over the state and beyond. This year's community partners include Norwalk Community College, TEAM Westport, Westport Historical Society, and Sacred Heart University, among others.

"Threads of Time, Fabric of History: 'Intimate Apparel' in Context" takes as its point of departure the theme of hidden history, the many overlooked or forgotten American stories that comprise the national identity. The initiative explores the play's multi-faceted themes of labor, immigration, race, religion, New York at the turn of the 20th century, class relations, and women's issues.

"We like to produce 'theater worth talking about' because, to me, a play or a musical is the first gesture in a conversation between playwright, performer, and audience," said Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director. "It's not an end in itself, but a beginning. Thanks to this generous grant from the NEA, our audiences will get to experience and enjoy a special enhancement, a deepening of their 'conversation' with our production of 'Intimate Apparel,' a play that not only moves all who see it but also opens up new ways of thinking about history, race, relationships."

Shigekawa, NEA acting chairman, said, "The NEA is pleased to announce that Westport Country Playhouse is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation's artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape."

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.

Celebrating its 84th season, Westport Country Playhouse was recently named Theater Company of the Year by The Wall Street Journal.

For more information about Westport Country Playhosue, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at www.westportplayhouse.org, or by using the new Playhouse App or mobile website.

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