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Westport Column

A great local tradition returns this Saturday, Jan. 19, when the Westport Heritage House will host “Bingo for the Depot” from 5 to 7 p.m. Proceeds will go to support the Depot Theatre’s Education Outreach programs for young people from the local area.

Each summer the Depot runs two “apprentice” programs that introduce young student actors from Westport and neighboring communities to the world of theater. For ages seven and up, there’s a staged radio mystery play which recreates the thrills and excitement of radio’s golden age, complete with sound effects and dramatic revelations. And apprentices aged twelve and up can participate in a full outdoor production of a Shakespeare play as part of the annual Westport Shakespeare-in-the-Park Festival in Ballard Park, overlooking the lake.

Both of these programs are free to the participants, and the resulting productions are also free and open to the public. There’s a win-win here, in other words. Our children win by having an invaluable opportunity to grow and learn through the Depot Theatre Apprentice Program, and the community as a whole wins by having excellent free theater that also draws people in from out of town. But of course it does cost money to do all this. Luckily, the folks at the Depot Theatre have figured out a way to put the “fun” back in “fundraising.”

The Chamber of Commerce has been working on outreach, too, and wants your input on how best to support local businesses and merchants. They invite people to email Dee Carroll (dee@shipstore.com) to receive Chamber mailings and announcements, or contact Jennifer Pribble at 962-8136 to become part of the  "What's Happening in Westport?" Facebook Group, or stop by the Town Hall or both Westport Library Association and Wadhams Free Library to read the posted reports of the monthly  Chamber Meetings.

Do you have ideas on how local merchants and businesses can better serve the community? What changes would you like to see? What would have to happen in order for you to spend $25 more per week here in town rather than going elsewhere to shop or dine out?

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