Arson damages Celtic Arts Center

The Celtic Arts Center in Hollywood has found itself without a theater, as an arson fire set on New Year’s Eve managed to destroy the theater’s coffeehouse cafe and partially ruin its 50-seat theater.

“We believe it was an anti-Irish act, because they used the Irish flag as a torch to start the fire in the offices upstairs,” said Brian Heron, founder of the An Claidheamh Soluis, which includes both the Celtic Arts Center and the Irish Arts Center in New York.

The struggling Waiver theater company, which had been at the Hollywood site for 10 years, lost nearly $ 20,000 in equipment and is now looking for another theater.

Ironically, the company had recently settled its long-running disputes with the building’s owner and signed a new lease for the site.

While the Cafe Beckett coffeehouse was destroyed by the fire, theater members are hoping to put on a program of traditional music, dance and poetry in the theater, once the water and smoke damage are repaired. Still, Heron said the company must move to a new space.

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