Living in Utah and not visiting the Utah Shakespearean Festival is comparable to living here and never seeing Zion or the Great Salt Lake. The caliber of theater produced there is not only rare for Utah, but for most states.
The Festival, now in its 48th season, produces six full-length plays and two pre-show acts which open in the summer, followed by three plays in the fall. The three summer plays, generally all written by William Shakespeare, show nightly in rolling repertory in the outdoor Adams Theater. Three more plays, generally two straight plays and one musical, are performed in the nearby Randall L. Jones theater.
The Festival is a more formidable theatrical force than many Utahans realize. All of the actors are paid, and this year 22 of the 61 actors are members of the Actors’ Equity Association. The directors, designers and crew often have made theater their livelihood. Jon M. Huntsman, Utah’s current governor, considers the Festival to be a “must-attend experience.” This is Tony-award winning theater, and just because it’s found in Utah doesn’t mean it’s sub-par.
Roderick Peeples, and actor in three of the plays this year, described the festival in comparison to other summer Shakespearean festivals a “marvelous organization. It’s massive, really, compared to other places that I’ve worked before – a huge operation. … Actually I haven’t quite figured out how they manage to keep track of everything.”
The general camaraderie and commitment to each show, as well as the love from a seasoned audience, makes the Utah Shakespearean Festival a rare treat for the senses.
What: The 48th season of the Utah Shakespearean Festival
When: At least one show every day except Sundays and some Mondays now through October 17
Where: Just off of SUU campus, at 351 West Center Street. Maps are available at the theaters or online.
Tickets: Tickets for the summer season are $23-$62 per play. At 10 a.m. the morning of each performance in the Adams outdoor theater, sixty-six gallery bench seats go on sale for $16 (M-W) and $20 (Th-S). Tickets (limit four per person) may be purchased at the Auditorium Ticket Office outside window. These seats provide a partially obscured view.
Box Office: Tickets are available online at bard.org, or at the box office outside the Adams theater or in the Randall theater, or by calling 800-PLAYTIX (435-586-7878)
Parking: Parking is available on the street or on the lot across Center Street from the auditorium theater, behind the water park.