Westport Country Playhouse thankful for support after flood

The+Playhouse+suffered+serious+damage+to+several+different+areas+of+the+theatre%2C+because+of+the+water+that+seeped+through+low-lying+entrance+doors+and+down+staircases.+

Photo by Phoebe Miller ’23

The Playhouse suffered serious damage to several different areas of the theatre, because of the water that seeped through low-lying entrance doors and down staircases.

Phoebe Miller ’23, Paper Sports Editor

The Westport Country Playhouse suffered severe flood damage from the remnants of category two Hurricane Ida that hit Westport on the night of Sept. 1.

The hurricane caused severe flooding and destruction in several Southern states before reaching Connecticut, flooding local buildings and parking lots. Because of the low-leveled floors in certain parts of the Playhouse, the center became a prime area for flooding.

“I just feel bad for everyone that has contributed so much to that facility and contributed to what it does for people,” Quinn Mulvey ’23, a Staples Player, said. “I think that everyone involved in performing arts is facing a really difficult time, and I think that this flooding was the last thing that the Westport Country Playhouse needed.”

The flooding, according to a post on the Playhouse’s Facebook page, will cost thousands of dollars to repair, as many of the main rooms were damaged from the water. 

The Playhouse is due to have their first live in-person theatre performance since the beginning of COVID in November, which has not been delayed despite the flood.

Our artist dressing rooms, hallways, production office, mechanical and boiler room, wardrobe, laundry and other spaces on the lower level and basement all experienced severe flooding,” the Playhouse said in their Facebook post. “It will be days before these areas are dry and sanitized.”

The flooding occurred while performers and employees were still inside.

“It sort of was a range [of damage],” Gretchen Wright, the Director of Development at the Playhouse and  overseer of fundraising efforts, said. “Some areas had, you know, several inches, but other areas it was several feet.”

The flooding is a delay to the Playhouse’s re-entry back into the theatre world as COVID vaccines roll out and performance facilities open again. However, the theatre will still hold shows despite the flooding because the stage areas were not damaged. 

“The good news was [that] we were able to have our show that very evening,” Wright said, “so the flooding was Wednesday, kind of overnight, and Thursday night we had two concerts that were both able to happen as planned.”

The playhouse also attached a link to a fundraiser in their Facebook post in hopes of donations that could continue the long-term prosperity of the non-profit theatre.

I think that everyone involved in performing arts is facing a really difficult time, and I think that this flooding was the last thing that the Westport Country Playhouse needed. ”

— Quinn Mulvey ’23

“We also are unsure of the coverage [insurance] will provide for flooding […],” Wright said. “Depending on coverage or a deductible that needs to be paid, you know, from there we’ll know the kind of costs we’re facing.”

Although the flood was an unexpected issue for the Playhouse, Wright feels confident that the organization will continue their post-COVID progress after the lockdowns. Wright is thankful for the support the community has provided the theatre during this unprecedented time.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve really been able to do what we do best, and we look forward to people coming back to see a play in November,” Wright said, “[…] we just thank everyone for sort of sticking with us and loving their Playhouse.”