LEWISTON – The Maine Arts Commission has awarded the Public Theatre a $1,500 grant to support its recent production of “The Wind in the Willows.”

The grant was awarded through the New Century Community Arts and Heritage program, which is administered by the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Humanities Council.

The program is designed to assist organizations in Maine as they investigate and present the stories and culture of the state, its communities and people. The funds are targeted to support projects and public programs that include or combine arts and history.

“The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame was adapted by actor Michael O’Brien and the Public Theatre artistic directors Christopher Schario and Janet Mitchko.

Said Schario, “After nine seasons of doing “A Christmas Carol,” we were looking for a new holiday production. As we searched for Christmas stories, Michael O’Brien suggested a Christmas-themed chapter in “The Wind in the Willows.” We became so charmed by the adventures of the animals that we decided to adapt the entire novel for our holiday show.”

The play was performed Dec. 9 through 14 at theatre by O’Brien and fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger. More than 1,200 students attended special matinee performances of the production.

Schario said, “When our programming receives funding from institutions like the Maine Arts Commission, it serves as an affirmation of our artistic excellence, professionalism and our impact on the cultural and economic life of the community.”

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