The evening represented both an ending and a beginning for the Utah Shakespeare Festival as final bows were taken and applause offered one last time in the Adams Theatre, where hundreds of plays have been performed and thousands of guests awed by the plays of William Shakespeare.
R. Scott Phillips, Utah Shakespeare Festival executive director, addressed the audience who filled every seat and empty space for the final play of the final night.
“The lights will dim shortly and a new light will happen for all of us,” he said with emotion. “I can assure all of you that as we look to the future, the classic storytelling and the marvelous works that happen on our stage will not diminish. That light will not change. That light will never go out. That is the thing that inspires all of us and makes what we do worthwhile.”
Artistic Director Brian Vaughn led the cast of “King Henry IV Part II” in reciting famous quotes from plays past which drew cheers and tears from the audience. Vaughn then handed a symbolic candle flame to Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred Adams, who along with the entire audience, walked from the famous “Wooden O” Adams Shakespearean Theatre to the nearby site of the new Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, currently under construction.
As the large crowd gathered closer, in a final dedicatory thought, speaking of the new theatre, Phillips said, “Oh, may we cram within this Wooden O, the memories, the love and the accomplishments that are possible for all of us.”
As Adams blew out the flickering flame, a bright beam from within the construction site pierced the starry night sky, serving as a beacon of what is to come.