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History buff uses Facebook to save memories of the White Barn Theatre

Norwalk history buff Nathan Dillard turned to social media for the public's help in preserving local history.

News 12 Staff

Feb 21, 2021, 5:28 PM

Updated 1,217 days ago

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Norwalk history buff Nathan Dillard turned to social media for the public's help in preserving local history.
Dillard and his wife bought and renovated Norwalk's first firehouse. They've purchased the old Hour Press building. Now, his latest project focuses on a lost landmark: The White Barn Theatre.
Dillard already owns an original sign from the theater. It had been founded in 1947 by performer Lucille Lortel, the "Queen of Off-Broadway."
"I'm just a history buff in itself, and I kind of like to restore things and put things back to where they should be," says Nathan Dillard.
"The White Barn Theatre, which was obviously an iconic theater here in Norwalk, Westport line. We're looking for any memorabilia."
Lortel created a venue known for experimental theater. It also premiered shows that often continued successful Broadway and off-Broadway runs.
Lortel died in the '90s, and the theater closed in 2002. Though a grassroots effort tried to save it, the theater was demolished in 2017.
But Dillard isn't ready to let the White Barn Theatre be forgotten.
"It's part of Norwalk and Westport and we just want to preserve it and try to put everything back to donate for future generations," say Dillard.
Dillard recently posted on Facebook about his efforts and offered to buy any original items pertaining to the theater. He's already acquired an 1980 autograph of Lortel's from local resident Pete Bondi.
Dillard says the response in the past days has been overwhelming.


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