Shakespearean Festival was founded in 1961 and
presented its first season in 1962. It was started in
response to two influences: summer tourists desiring
more evening activities after visiting the area’s six
national parks, and a young actor’s desire to produce
great theatre. Festival Founder Fred C. Adams, having
just come to Cedar City after trying out the New York
theatre scene for a few years, was new to the College of
Southern Utah (now Southern Utah University) in 1959.
However, seeing 150,000 annual summer tourists to the
area, he knew he had a great potential audience for a
Forty years later, The
Shakespearean Festival remains a total “experience”
for its patrons, many of whom have been coming to every
season for over forty years and now bring their children
and grandchildren to the Festival. This feeling of
partnership with the audience (which extends so far that
the Festival even offers child care during the plays) is
a trademark, inspiring patrons to speak of it as “their
Festival.” Striving to satisfy our modern audience’s
desires, the Festival works hard to remain accessible
and to keep alive that bright and shining view first
envisioned by Fred C. Adams over four decades ago.
Joe Cronin (left) as Julius Caesar and Brent T.
Barnes as Popilius Lena. (Copyright 2001 Utah
Shakespearean Festival. Photo by Karl Hugh.
A scene from the Utah Shakespearean Festival's
1999 production of
A Midsummer Night's Dream.
(Copyright Utah Shakespearean Festival. Photo by
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