Harris to ankle playhouse

Alison Harris, the executive director of the Westport Country Playhouse, has announced plans to exit the newly expanded and renovated summer theater by the end of 2006.

Harris, 57, helped oversee the $30.6 million campaign for the 75-year-old Westport, Conn., theater, which enabled the switch to year-round operations. She will continue on in 2006 to help in the transition from outgoing a.d Joanne Woodward to her successor Tazewell Thompson, who takes over Jan. 1.

Harris, who began at the Playhouse in 2000, said completion of the capital-endowment fund drive and her own history of seeking project-oriented jobs prompted her decision to leave Westport.

Harris began her career in theater administration in the 1970s as administrator and assistant to Arvin Brown, then artistic director of New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater and later as managing director of Princeton, N.J.’s McCarter Theater. In the late ’80s and ’90s, she was assistant treasurer and legislative director of the New Jersey Treasury Dept. Prior to the Westport job, she was director of development for a New Jersey architectural firm.

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