Dust triggers fire alarm, interrupting Shakespeare play

Dust bunnies soured the theater experience for hundreds of patrons attending "Troilus and Cressida" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival today.

(Updated 4:45 p.m.) During intermission, the wail of a fire alarm in the New Theatre emptied the building after a puff of dust triggered a smoke detector in a ventilation duct, fire crews and OSF officials suspect.

“It happens about once a year in the New Theatre … dust particles get into the system and trip our alarm,” said Amy Richard, OSF communications manager.

Last year, a false alarm interrupted a performance of "Julius Caesar” in the New Theatre, she said.

Patrons were evacuated for about 15 minutes before re-entering the building, Ashland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Kelly Burns said.

"Shakespeare has their stuff pretty squared away," Burns said. "They did have to evacuate … We chased down where the detector was and confirmed there wasn't any fire."

Crews responded to the alarm at 3:15, Burns said.

— Sam Wheeler

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