Utah Shakespeare Festival Opens 63rd Season3 min read

From Marlo Ihler, Utah Shakespeare Festival

The Utah Shakespeare Festival officially opened last week, and is celebrating its 63rd season in Cedar City, offering an enriching and fun cultural experience that captivates audiences of all ages. The Festival has become a cherished tradition for many theatre lovers, families, and newcomers alike. If you’ve never been, come and discover the magic this summer!

The play lineup in the Festival’s three theatres includes Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado About Nothing, along with the hilarious comedy The 39 Steps, the moving and tender Silent Sky, and the inspirational The Mountaintop. The first five are open; the latter two will open on July 15 and 16, respectively.

“The Festival’s 2024 Season focuses on history makers and extraordinary characters,” says Artistic Director John DiAntonio. “This dynamic line-up of plays invites audiences to explore the question: ‘Who can we trust?’ Living in an age of endless choices, updates, and opinions, it’s an important theme to explore.”
“Strong female characters are another theme this season,” comments Executive Managing Director Michael Bahr, “with Queen Katherine, Queen Hermione, ‘Kate the Cursed,’ and Beatrice teaming up to represent some of Shakespeare’s strongest women. They are not to be outdone, however; the women from The 39 Steps, Silent Sky, and The Mountaintop are all exceptional too!”

In addition to the mainstage productions, enjoy free family fun at The Greenshow every evening at 7:10 pm, Monday through Saturday. This year’s themes are Royals, featuring Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots (before performances of Henry VIII), Folk Festival (before performances of The Winter’s Tale), and Commedia (before performances of The Taming of the Shrew). These dynamic family-friendly outdoor shows feature singing, dancing, stories, music, and audience participation. Bring a blanket and stretch out on the grass or cozy up on a bench for these lively 30-minute pre-show performances. Also, this season, the Festival again welcomes the Paiute Tribe of Utah with special Greenshow performances on July 8 and 23, and August 7 and 29.

What is affectionately known as the Festival Experience ensures that audiences’ participation goes beyond––and sometimes behind––the stage. An expansive array of seminars, orientations, Backstage Tours, Repertory Magic, classes, camps, and more aim to enhance patrons’ understanding of Shakespeare and other playwrights’ works and the process of repertory theatre. Some are free; others have an admission fee. Much of the Festival Experience is thoughtfully designed to demystify the Bard’s language and themes, making his works accessible and enjoyable for all, regardless of prior exposure to Shakespeare.

Additionally, local residents have options to save on tickets (some restrictions apply):

● Local Discount of 50% off day-of tickets, Monday through Saturday, based on availability;
● Iron County Pass where for $200 you get eight admissions throughout the season;
● Student Access Pass where any student can get one ticket per performance to unlimited performances for only $40.

For those interested in even more theatrical experiences, the Festival also hosts a new play reading series called Words Cubed in August where audience and actors come together with playwrights to experience and discuss their new works. Additionally, students from London’s renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) will present a condensed touring production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream July 30-August 3 in the Anes Studio Theatre.

We invite you to experience the magic of the Utah Shakespeare Festival this season. Whether you’re sharing the joy of Shakespeare with your family for the first time or rediscovering his or other playwrights’ genius, the Festival offers a welcoming, engaging, and unforgettable experience for everyone. Get your tickets today at bard.org, by calling 800-PLAYTIX, or visiting the Ticket Office near the clocktower.


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