Historic Connecticut theater goes up in flames

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) — A historic theater in Connecticut has been destroyed in an early morning fire.

Firefighters arrived at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford at about 1 a.m. Sunday to find heavy fire in the building that has been closed since the 1980s.

Fire Marshal Brian Lampart says no one was injured. The cause is under investigation.

Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick called the theater’s loss “devastating.”

The Connecticut Post reports that playwright Lawrence Langner came up with the idea for the theater in 1950, and it was built with the help of Lincoln Kirstein and philanthropist Joseph Verner Reed.

It opened in 1955 and during the 1960s and 1970s, famous actors, including Katharine Hepburn, performed on its stage.

The American Shakespeare Festival Theatre held its final full season in the building in 1982.

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