The Westport Country Playhouse has been awarded a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant. The grant will support the theater's community engagement initiative, "Threads of Time, Fabric of History: `Intimate Apparel' in Context," which will run concurrently with the playhouse production of "Intimate Apparel" in October.

"Threads of Time, Fabric of History: `Intimate Apparel' in Context explores the play's multifaceted themes of labor, immigration, race, religion, class relations and women's issues in New York at the turn of the 20th century.

"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 and relationships."

This year marks the fifth consecutive year the playhouse has undertaken an enhanced programming initiative surrounding one of its productions.

Westport Country Playhouse, in its 84th season, has been named Theater Company of the Year by the Wall Street Journal.

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