20 Aug 2014
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Stratford's Theatre History Shines at Fairfield Gallery

Archives from the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre dominate an exhibition currently open to the public at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.


That's the word Stratford Councilman Matt Catalano keeps repeating as he guides me though priceless archives of theatre at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

What's relevant, he says, is the history behind all the archives that have been unearthed from Stratford's "White House" and the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre, and that are now on display at this museum's exhibition, Bravo! A Century of Theatre in Fairfield County.

There are archives from other area theatres, but Stratford's collections "dominate the exhibition," says Catalano, a former stagehand himself and current Festival! Stratford committee member.

Katharine Hepburn steals the show when it comes to Stratford's contribution to the exhibition that will run to March 18, 2012. There's countless photos of the star, dresses she wore while performing at Stratford's theatre, and even a commissioned bust of her head inspired by her performance as Cleopatra in "Antony and Cleopatra," a 1960 production at the Elm Street theatre. 

"All this neat stuff, we're going to move home, where it should be," Catalano says, pointing to display cases and caption-marked cutouts. The 3rd District Republican and others are leading the campaign to convert the "White House," located at 1850 Elm St., into a center for the arts.  

"We are just starting to put together the history of what this means."

To learn more about the exhibition, including upcoming lectures, please visit the museum's website.

All photos in the above gallery can be credited to the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy Archives, Town of Stratford.

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