Support Jacob’s Pillow in the Aftermath of the Fire in the Doris Duke Theatre

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Updated 7:30pm Eastern

We are recovering from the loss of our beloved Doris Duke Theatre. It is an extremely devastating week in what has been a challenging year for our institution.

Jacob’s Pillow is a beacon for all in the world who love dance. This magnificent site is grounded in history, surrounded by all of the spirits of dance who hold us, and buoyed by all of the artists, former staff members, members and audiences who have been sending their love and support. The Board, staff, and community surrounding Jacob’s Pillow will work to recover and rebuild.

The outpouring of joyous memories of experiences in the Doris Duke Theatre have inspired us during this difficult time. We invite you to continue sharing your stories, photos, and videos with us

We lost a valuable part of the Pillow this week, but of this we are sure: Jacob’s Pillow will continue—this week, next month, next year, and in the future to come.

So many people have reached out directly asking how they can help. They know that this tragedy occurred in the same year that Jacob’s Pillow cancelled its Festival for the first time in our 88-year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a 50% loss of our annual income. 

If you’re looking for a way to support the Pillow’s future during this challenging time, please consider donating. We need your support to ensure that we will continue to be the crossroads of dance that our communities need us to be.

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This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Read our November 17 statement

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


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.”