OGUNQUIT — A grant from a foundation started by a summer resident will enable seniors in the community to attend shows at the Ogunquit Playhouse in an effort to combat loneliness and isolation.

Donato Tramuto, CEO of Tivity Health, speaks during the second annual “Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging,” held at Westin Portland Harborview last August. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The Maine-based Tramuto Foundation has given the Ogunquit Playhouse $300,000 and its Bulldozer of the Year Award to create the partnership.

The grant will fund a program that will bring 100 people from the Wells Ogunquit Center at Moody and the Institute for Integrative Aging – a new center for research, education and older-adult care at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish created in partnership with the foundation – to an Aug. 22 performance of “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Lunch and a discussion with actors and theater staff members will be part of the program, and those who attend also will receive a copy of the Agatha Christie book the show is based on.

Donato Tramuto, a former Ogunquit Playhouse board member and founder of the foundation, said the endowed nature of the grant will enable the playhouse to continue the program in perpetuity. He is calling it the Tramuto Foundation and Ogunquit Playhouse Human Rights Partnership.

“Working for human rights is not just about responding to something based on creed or religion,” Tramuto said. “It also involves working for inclusion, and this year we are focusing on seniors struggling with isolation.”

Tramuto called loneliness “the new chronic condition of the 21st century. We think we are so connected with our technology, but we have created an enormous amount of disconnection. I feel compelled to do something about it. These human rights programs that I am fortunate to support, we are not going to eliminate loneliness, but I am going to do my part.”

Tramuto, who lives in Ogunquit in the summer, created the foundation in 2001 after two friends and their son died during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They had visited him in Ogunquit before boarding a plane that struck the second World Trade Center tower in New York. “I’m very excited to be doing this in the state of Maine, which was the place where my friends had their weekend of fun,” he said.

Bradford Kenney, executive artistic director of the playhouse, announced the gift from the stage Friday night, before a performance of “Jersey Boys.”

In addition to his past service on the playhouse board, Tramuto has given money to supply hearing devices to theatergoers and to pay for a children’s theater program.

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