STRATFORD, Conn. (CelebrityAccess) The historic Shakespeare Theatre in Startford, Conn., which opened in 1955 and was a destination spot for many famed actors, burned to the ground early this morning, with firefighters called to the scene at about 1 a.m.
The city has been considering mothballing the venue and floated various plans for it over recent years, with the American Shakespeare Festival Theater holding its final full season there in 1982, according to the Connecticut Post. It launched in 1955 with a production of “Julius Caesar” and was a nationally recognized performance theatre in the 1960s and ’70s, with Katherine Hepburn on of it many participants.
However, when philanthropist Joseph Verner Reed died in 1973, the theatre struggled to stay open.
“The loss of this iconic and historic theater that holds a special place in the hearts of Stratford residents is devastating,” Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick said in a statement. “Our first concern is ensuring safety, making sure the site is secured and that there is no further threat to public safety.”