Fire Destroys Historic Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford

A fire ripped through the historic Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford early Sunday morning.

Firefighters received the call around 1 a.m. and arrived to find heavy fire coming from the building on Elm Street.

The heaviest fire was in the area of the stage, according to fire officials.

Firefighters fought the flames from outside the building due to the size of the fire, fire officials said.

The building collapsed while firefighters were trying to put out the flames.

The Shakespeare American Theater burned to the ground early Sunday morning.

Stratford mayor Laura Hoydick said the building is a total loss.

“The loss of this iconic and historic theater that holds a special place in the hearts of Stratford residents is devastating,” Hoydick said.

The theater has been vacant since the 1980s, but once saw acting greats such as Katharine Hepburn, James Earl Jones, and Christopher Walken grace its stage, according to reports about the theater in its heyday.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating to determine if the fire was intentionally set, according to Hoydick.

The fire broke out just two days after State Rep. Joe Gresko applied for a grant to renovate the theater.

“It always was a symbol of the town, and now I’m hoping that we can all be galvanized around this tragedy, and make something good happen here,” Gresko said.

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