Stratford Creates Task Force to Collect Ideas For Shakespeare Theatre Property

What to Know

  • The Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford opened in 1955. Katharine Hepburn, James Earl Jones and Christopher Walken all performed there.
  • The historic theatre burned to the ground on Jan. 13, 2019, after sitting vacant since the 1980s.
  • The town of Stratford is looking to breathe new life into the property in line with restrictions in the deed.

The mayor of Stratford has named 11 town residents to a task force to help determine the future use of the Shakespeare Theatre property after the historic theatre was destroyed by flames earlier this month.

Opened in 1955 and mostly vacant since the 1980s, the Town of Stratford acquired the Shakespeare Theatre from the state in 2005. It burned down on January 13.

Mayor Laura Hoydick said the town never executed an agreement with a developer or operator to breathe new life into the theater where the likes of Katharine Hepburn, James Earl Jones and Christopher Walken once performed.

The new Shakespeare Property Task Force will not be making final decisions about the use of the property, but rather gathering input from the community about how the space should be used. Officials said the deed has restrictions on the potential uses.

The task force will provide ideas to the Town Council for consideration.

The task force members are as follows:

  • Anthony Nizzardo – co chair
  • Tom Dillon - co-chair
  • Al Baran
  • Amanda Meeson
  • Ed Goodrich
  • Eric Hampton
  • Peter Wood
  • Sib Law
  • Scott Bartelson
  • Patti Sorrentino-Galello
  • Frank Bevacqua
Those interested in getting updates on the project can send their name, email and phone number to Shakespeare@TownofStratford.com to be added to the update list.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

It is worth noting William Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre in London was also destroyed by fire.

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