Stratford’s Historic American Shakespeare Festival Theatre Destroyed by Fire | Playbill

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Regional News Stratford’s Historic American Shakespeare Festival Theatre Destroyed by Fire The Connecticut venue burned to the ground in the early hours of the morning January 13.
Damage following a fire at Stratford's American Shakespeare Festival Theatre NBC Connecticut

The American Shakespeare Festival Theatre, a historic and cultural landmark in Stratford, Connecticut, burned to the ground January 13, according to local reports.

Firefighters were called to site around 1 AM, and the fire was contained—though the theatre still ablaze in spots—hours later. Fire Marshal Brian Lampart says that the building was unoccupied at the time and there were no injuries. No word yet on what caused the fire.

The theatre opened in 1955, developed by playwright Lawrence Langer, Lincoln Kirstein, and Joseph Verner Reed (who eventually served as executive producer). It would go on to house such performers as Katharine Hepburn, James Earl Jones, Ed Asner, and Barbara Barrie. The American Shakespeare Festival remained at the theatre until 1982 before the state took ownership the following year.

Performances had not taken place at the theatre for several years; the city has been in the process of restoring the space, with proposed plans including leaving the venue intact while also building a luxury hotel.

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