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Jacob’s Pillow theater is destroyed by fire

Jacob's Pillow's Doris Duke Theatre.
Jacob's Pillow's Doris Duke Theatre.

On the morning of November 17, there was a fire on the Jacob’s Pillow campus in Becket, MA. The fire was contained to the Doris Duke Theatre and did not spread to any of the other buildings on the Jacob’s Pillow grounds, but the entire theater is lost. No one was injured in the incident. A cause has not yet been determined. Jacob’s Pillow Staff are working closely with local officials on next steps. 

The Pillow’s campus has been quiet since March, when its summer dance festival was cancelled due COVID-19. The organization has 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 organization’s two indoor theatres on its 220-acre campus. For 30 years, thousands of dance artists, arts professionals and audiences have created and experienced beautiful, transformational art in Doris Duke Theatre. 

“While we have lost some precious, irreplaceable items, those experiences and memories will last forever,” says Pamela Tatge, Jacob’s Pillow artistic and executive director. “We are heartbroken, and we are relieved that no one was hurt. 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.” 

“The Becket fire department was first on scene,” Becket select board vice chair Michael Lavery told WAMC. “The fire was a six alarm fire, and six towns including Monterey were involved. I believe the fire was put out shortly before 9am, but it was a total loss of the one building.” 

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