On August 30, the final day of the 2011 season, just as they were carefully closing up the shop for the winter, Mother Nature, in the form of Tropical Storm Irene, paid a seriously unwelcome visit to the Willliamstown Theatre Festival’s (WTF) new storage space and scenery shop.
The nearby Hoosic River breached its banks and filled their freshly constructed and inventoried prop storage space with ten feet of muddy water. While the WTF says some items may be salvageable, the majority of the stock – collected over half a century – is damaged and will have to be discarded. Loss and damage is estimated to be in the six figure range.
This was the second disaster in 2011. Previously the WTF scene shop was located in the Delftree building, a 19th-century mill in nearby North Adams that also served as a storage facility for 57 years worth of furniture and props. In February of this year, heavy snow load caused the building’s roof to collapse in several spots, including the space leased by WTF. The building was declared unsafe and as a result the WTF was not able to go in and assess the damage until early May.