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The Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow Lost in Early Morning Fire

Stage Directions • Theatre Buzz • November 17, 2020

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, firefighters arrived at 7:00 a.m. to battle a fire that broke out in the 230-seat Doris Duke Theatre on the Jacob’s Pillow grounds in Becket, MA. At the peak of the fire, about 30 firefighters worked to control the blaze and were on scene until midday. The Doris Duke Theatre is one of two indoor theaters on the grounds of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Fortunately, no one was hurt and it was the only structure affected by the fire. Here’s a video of the firefighters working on extinguishing the fire from The Berkshire Eagle newspaper:

Jacob’s Pillow released a statement on the fire:

With great sadness, we must share the news that on the morning of November 17 there was a fire on the Jacob’s Pillow campus in Becket, MA. Firefighters arrived around 7 a.m. and remained on campus until midday.

While the entire Doris Duke Theatre has been lost, the fire did not spread to any of the other buildings on the Jacob’s Pillow grounds. No one was injured in the incident. A cause has not yet been determined. Our staff are working closely with local officials on next steps.

Our campus has been comparatively quiet since March, when we announced the summer dance festival would be cancelled due COVID-19. We recently opened up studio and housing spaces to a small number of artists this fall for COVID-compliant Pillow Lab residencies.

The Doris Duke Theatre opened in 1990, the second of the Pillow’s two indoor theatres on our 220-acre campus. For 30 years, thousands of dance artists, arts professionals, and audiences have created and experienced beautiful, transformational art in the Doris Duke Theatre.

“While we have lost some precious, irreplaceable items, those experiences and memories will last forever. We are heartbroken and we are relieved that no one was hurt,” says Pamela Tatge, Jacob’s Pillow Executive & Artistic Director. “On behalf of everyone at the Pillow, we are grateful for the firefighters and officials who have responded so quickly to this devastating emergency on our grounds. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from around the world we have already received. We will rebuild.”

Thank you for being part of Jacob’s Pillow.

The interior of the Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow

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