The Utah Shakespeare Festival: Part 4- The Past is Prologue

Chris Mixon as Charlie Brown in the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2002 production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. (Photo by Karl Hugh. Copyright 2002 Utah Shakespeare Festival.)

The Utah Shakespeare Festival has undergone great change since its first season in 1962. Facilities have been constructed, productions have grown in size and scope, and the Festival staff has grown to include a number of full-time employees. In 2002 the larger format, three-play fall season debuted with I Hate Hamlet, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Twelfth Night. In 2011 the Festival announced that, for the first time, a play would run through the traditional break between the summer and fall seasons.

Fred and Barbara Adams, circa 1960

Tragedy befell the Festival when on October 22, 2008, Barbara Gaddie Adams, Fred’s wife and longtime partner and confidant, succumbed to a long illness and passed away. Barbara, along with Fred, had shepherded the Festival from words on a little yellow notepad to a nationally recognized, Tony award-winning theatre company. Barbara had coordinated all the preshow activities, the music, singing, puppet show, and dancing that provided the atmosphere for Festival goers as they prepared for the transition from the contemporary to the Elizabethan. Barbara Adams’s creative spirit is memorialized by a bronze plaque located on the wall of the Adams Theatre, near The Greenshow performing space—a fitting tribute to the program she proved instrumental in developing.

The Engelstead Shakespeare Theatre

The expansion of the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s artistic and technical company and a longer theatrical season required new spaces.  The much loved Adams Theatre had served its purpose in enriching, entertaining, and educating the lives of those who sat in her seats and witnessed her bounty. Like the stage before, the passage of time and changing technology have taken their toll. In 2016, the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre opened its doors and a new Wooden O now stands guard over the works of the Bard and serves as an anchor for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s future.

John Wascavage (left) as The Suspects and Paul Helm as Marcus Moscowicz in the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2016 production of Murder for Two. (Photo by Karl Hugh. Copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival 2016.)

Additionally, the Eileen and Alan Anes Studio Theatre, now serves as a creative space for the development of new plays. This flexible 200 seat venue is able to be configured in a variety of seating styles to better enhance the vision of the playwright, designer, or director. The Anes theatre allows for the exploration of the theatrical experience and provides Festival patrons the opportunity to discover the diversity of the world stage. The Anes Theatre is home to the new plays program where scripts are workshopped and tested with a small audience before being moved to the larger Festival stages. This theatrical laboratory shows the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s continuing commitment to the development of theatre professionals and to the expansion of America’s influence on world drama.

USF Founder Fred C. Adams – at the beginning.

The future of the Utah Shakespeare Festival is rooted in the tradition of what it does well and in a commitment to utilize that shared past as a springboard for the future. The expanding and deepening of programs, the construction of new theatres, and the development of a core artistic company are not without challenges. However, these same difficulties were met and faced fifty years ago by a young drama teacher, and we all know how that turned out.

To find out more about the Utah Shakespeare Festival and see what is coming in the future, visit their website, www.bard.org

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The Utah Shakespeare Festival: The 1980’s & 90’s

1981 ticket

Fred and Barbara Adams had built their dream. The summer productions in the new Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre had sell out crowds nearly every night, operating at 98 to 99 percent capacity, which offered no room for growth. The Festival had become too successful for the current space.

A construction tour of the Randall L. Jones Theatre.

Festival and college representatives turned to the Utah State Legislature for assistance in funding the construction of the new theatre. The legislature, while agreeing that the project sounded interesting, refused to fund the building. A representative advised them to look into the mineral lease money that the mining companies operating in Iron County had been paying into for over fifty years. The mineral lease fund was established to offset the impact made by the mines on schools, hospitals, roads, and other public works projects. A large sum had been paid in, but very little taken out. The mineral lease board agreed that a new theatre for the Festival was worthy of funding and awarded most, but not all, of the construction costs. The descendants of Randall L. Jones, an early booster of southern Utah, provided the remainder of the needed funds, and the new theatre would now be named the Randall L. Jones Theatre.

Sunset at the Randall.

The 1989 season, the first using both the Randall Theatre and the Adams Theatre, featured six plays, three in each theatre, the most the Festival had ever produced in one season. Festival producers decided they would need two separate companies. They duplicated every position, one for the Adams Theatre and one for the Randall Theatre. This proved very expensive. The 1989 season ended with a $379,000.00 deficit. Relief came from Paul Southwick, vice-president of finance for Southern Utah University, who had been pulling some of the Festival profits each year into a rainy day fund, which had more than enough money to cover the deficit, and the Festival was saved. The Utah Shakespeare Festival did not repeat the mistakes of 1989 and began double casting roles for both the Randall and the Adams theatres.

Karen Thorla (left) as Helena, Alexis Baigue as Demetrius, Stefanie Resnick as Hermia, and Brandon Burk as Lysander in the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2017 Shakespeare-in-the-Schools production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Photo by Karl Hugh. Copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival 2017.)

Fred C. Adams believed in the power inherent in Shakespeare’s texts to change lives for the better, and the Festival created an education program to take that message to schools across the West. Fred’s traveling show, Costume Cavalcade, evolved into the Shakespeare-in-the-Schools Tour, a traveling group of trained actors who perform abbreviated versions of Shakespeare’s major plays in schools throughout the region. The actors also meet with the students after the show, answer questions, provide training, and help them better understand the concepts brought to life on the stage.

Brian Vaughn (left) as Smudge, Jered Tanner as Jinx, Michael Fitzpatrick as Frankie, and Gregory Ivan Smith as Sparky in the 1999 Utah Shakespeare Festival production of Forever Plaid. (Copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival.)

By the late 1990s the business community of Cedar City began asking the management team of the Festival if they would extend their season in an effort to keep the much needed tourism money flowing into the local economy. Southern Utah University worked with them for a test run in 1999. The Festival would pick two very small plays, Forever Plaid and The Compleat Works of Wllm. Shkspr (Abridged), and see if a fall season could be economically viable. The plan worked, and the fall season began.

R. Scott Phillips (left), Sue Cox, Douglas N. Cook, Fred C. Adams, and Cameron Harvey receiving the 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. (Copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival.)

In May of 2000, the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League announced that the Antoinette Perry or “Tony” Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre would go to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The Tony, comparable to the Academy Awards in film, is the most highly sought after accolade in American theatre and, for the Festival, was the culmination of nearly four decades of hard work and superior artistry.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival – The First Two Decades

Keith Seegmiller (left) and Ron Carpenter playing the fanfare, 1962

Despite the summer heat, the audience for the first performance of the newly inaugurated Utah Shakespeare Festival numbered over five hundred. It was July 2, 1962, and everything was ready: every detail had been carefully looked to, every contingency planned for, or so they thought. Two young trumpeters had been recruited to play a fanfare announcing the beginning of the play. As the notes rang through the air, director Fred C. Adams realized that the cast had not rehearsed a way to get from the dressing room to the stage. Thinking quickly, he grabbed a torch from the rack of Hamlet props, lit it, and presented it to the costumed pages, directing them to lead the cast, in full view of the audience, to the stage. This actors processional, from the dressing room doors, across the patio, and to the platforms became a Festival audience favorite for many years.

1963 Ticket

The initial two-week Festival season proved very successful, bringing in 3,726 visitors and over $2,000—enough to prove that this could be a profitable venture. Fred began assembling the creative team that would guide the Utah Shakespeare Festival to national prominence. This group would soon include directors Michael Addison and Tom Markus, scenic designer Douglas N. Cook, lighting designer Cameron Harvey, and technical director Gary M. McIntyre, among many others.

In 1965, Fred made a decision that would forever change the course of the Festival. He had built the organization using local talent, but his creative team, most of them college instructors from outside the area, wanted to give some of their students an opportunity to perform. Fred decided that he would open auditions to students from across the country. They realized that this influx of actors exposed audiences to a host of new talent and increased the notoriety and production ability of the Festival.

Early stage

Throughout the 1960s, the Festival productions would be carried out on a portable stage that would be built and removed after each summer season—with tremendous effort. However, the enthusiasm of the nightly audiences, sitting on their folding chairs, made the effort worthwhile.

Douglas N. Cook had joined the Festival in 1964. Cook was especially adept at designing scenery for Shakespeare productions. Under his guidance, the props department blossomed, and the sets better reflected the periods that designers were trying to represent. At the conclusion of the 1969 season, Cook applied his talent for design to work up some rough sketches for a new outdoor theatre space to replace the aging stage.

Early design by Doug Cook

Based upon his research, Cook knew that the new theatre would need to have three essential elements. First, it must have a thrust stage (this meant that the performance space would be surrounded on three sides by seats); second, it must have a gallery or multi-level seating; and, third, it must be open to the air. All of these designs were in every major Elizabethan theatre of Shakespeare’s day and would be necessary for the Festival’s new space. Technical and electrical planning also factored heavily into the design of the Adams Theatre. Technical director Cameron Harvey worked tirelessly to design a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system that would be unnoticeable to the audience but enhance the performance. Everything the Utah Shakespeare Festival had learned about producing the Bard would go into the design of the theatre.

Adams Theatre Performance

In 1977 the Adams Theatre, named after Thomas and Luella Adams (no relation to Fred) was complete, and despite having to remove the construction scaffolding forty-five minutes before the first performance, the actors and the patrons loved the new stage.

The Festival introduced its first matinee performance and its first musical, by presenting Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado in 1977. Drawing from local talent, including a live orchestra and a young R. Scott Phillips as the Lord High Executioner (his only acting role for the Festival), The Mikado proved that the Festival could branch out into dramatic fields other than William Shakespeare.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival entered a new era when in 1981 it introduced its first Equity actors to its audiences. The Actors Equity Association is the professional union for theatre acting and stage management professionals.

Fred Adams, circa 1970

The 1970s proved to be an amazing decade of growth for the Festival. A new theatre was added, programs and staff were expanded, and professional actors joined the company. Still, Fred Adams had another idea, what if patrons could see more—works from other important playwrights, the “Shakespeares of other lands.” Of course the Adams Theatre would remain the domain of Shakespearean plays; what was needed was another space, another theatre

Cedar City: A Look Back – The Utah Shakespeare Festival

This year marks the opening of the 56th season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. We thought you would enjoy this photo of the founder Fred Adams as he directs the cast of The Taming of the Shrew. This was the first play of the first season. For the rest of July we will be detailing the history of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, an organization that still brings over 100,000 people to the local area each year.

Founding Director Fred C. Adams offers suggestions prior to 1962 opening night.

 

Frontier Folk Festival 2017

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum and The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation are pleased to bring the second annual Frontier Folk Festival to Cedar City, Utah, June 16-17, 11 am – 8 pm each day. Thanks to the support of sponsors, admission is free.

Original art, live music, and delicious food combine to celebrate the diverse heritage of southern Utah.  The Frontier Folk Festival promises to be filled with remarkable talent.  Featured performers include Clive Romney, The Red Hill Rangers, Karyn Whittemore, Silversage, and the Griffin Family.

 

Performers at the 2016 Festival

“We’ve been talking about this idea for years,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager.  “Working with our Museum Foundation, we finally decided to take the leap and offer a new experience to the community and all our patrons.  It will be a great event for anyone attracted to history, the visual arts and folk music.”  Museum Foundation Chair, Mike Scott, added, “The Foundation is thrilled to offer this family friendly experience to the community.  It is a wonderful opportunity for us all to experience our heritage.”

Art, craft, and food vendors will be on hand.

The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation is looking forward to a diverse, high quality show, and wish to thank its exhibiting artists, musicians, and food purveyors in advance for helping to bring the arts in all of their forms to the residents of Iron County and beyond. The Foundation Board also wishes to extend a special thank you to the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism & Convention Bureau (http://scenicsouthernutah.com) for their support in helping to advertise the festival throughout the western U.S.  A list of all Folk Festival sponsors can be found at http://frontierhomestead.org/arts-festival.

For more information call the Park at (435) 586-9290.

 Where History becomes Your Story

Cedar City: A Look Back – Welcome Sign

Tourism has been and continues to be an economic mainstay for Cedar City and Iron County. In summer of 2016, a little over one million visitors, ate, slept, shopped, and were entertained in our local area. This does not count the thousands who come during the winter to enjoy our amazing winter recreation opportunities. This Welcome sign stood on the corner of Main and Center for many years. The photo was taken in 1947. For up to date information visit the Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau at visitcedarcity.com

Meet our new Foundation Chair: Mike Scott

The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation recently elected a new chair, Mike Scott. Maureen Carlson, one of our interpretive staff, recently sat down with him.

Mike Scott

Q – Tell me a little bit about yourself.

A – Well, let’s see, I am an engineer by trade. I had a company in Southern California, sold it, [then] moved to initially Parowan to help to raise and train horses. In California, my partner and I showed Clydesdales; we started with one and ended up with ten. I was looking for something to do, then I was invited to come to Utah and I’ve been here ever since, and that would’ve been in about 2002. So I’ve been in either Parowan or Cedar City since 2002.

Q – How have you liked it here?

A – I love it! We’re both retired and we’ve had discussions about ‘if we wanted to live anyplace in the nation, where would you go?’ and I said, ‘I love it here. We have four seasons.’ As a Southern California boy, I still oggle at the snow! And my partner, she’s from Minnesota and she’s going ‘Oh god, it’s snowing again…’ and I’m going ‘No, no! This is so cool!’

Q – What brought you here?

A – In Parowan here, initially it was Percherons, and maybe you remember the place, Mountain View Ranch? (Yes.) That’s who I worked for. That came about because Grant Cox used to show in Southern California and we were fellow competitors at horse shows. So then the opportunity came and he said, ‘Why don’t you come to Utah and work my horses?’ We disbanded our operation. It was a 24/7 job, you do not get a break at all. There’s only so many years of that you can take.

Q – What is it that is special to you about the Frontier Homestead?

A – Well I initially started as a volunteer and I came and saw that some of the harnesses on the horses were incorrect. So I asked if I could fix it. Then they steered me down to the wagon barn where there was extra leather, and I came up here and put some stuff together correctly as to how it should be. I just kind of paid attention to, you know, that’s the way we did it with horses and said, well if we’re showing it that way, then I gotta make it right, show it right.

Footings for the new storage building.

Q – What are you goals for the Foundation during your tenure?

A – Obviously number one is to finish the new building that’s been started out back near the Hunter House. The real plus about that is that it will enable us to obtain a couple more collections that people want to donate that we have no room for. There will probably be even three new collections that we’ll be able to house in that building. And also, it will give us the opportunity to move some of the carriages that are in the museum now out there for special events when we want to use the main building here in the museum, and that’s an intent in the future, is to be able to move things out so that we could have a big gala event here inside the museum. That’s one of the main intents of the building, additional collections and storage.

Q – How does the Foundation work with the park?

A – The Foundation actually has a Board of Trustees which I’m the chairman of and they are community members and some legislative members: Senator Vickers from Utah Legislature, Councilman Rowley from Cedar City, and we’re now looking to get an appointment from the Iron County Commission,(Councilman Mike Bleak has agreed to fill this position) plus interested volunteers. We just get together and come up with ideas for fundraisers or local support and once we raise money, decide how we’re going to spend it. And we kind of have a “hit list” of one, two, three, four of things we want to do and it’s well, what could we do immediately, what’s going to take a few years, what kind of money are we talking about, those kinds of things.

Q – How can people get more involved with the park?

A – We have a volunteer network and it’s basically just contacting the park. There’s a number of people that come into do volunteer work throughout the week, whether it be the lady weavers just kind of showing and they’re able to use the facility, and some fellows come in and help with restoration projects and/or other little special projects – carpentry kind of things and/or whatever. Just contact the museum, there’s a little form to fill out and become a volunteer helper.

Q – Is it spread mainly by word of mouth by people who work here or have volunteered here before?

A – Yeah, and Friends of the Museum group publishes a quarterly newsletter and seek volunteers through that. And then again through the printed press that we’re fortunate to be able to get from either the Spectrum or Iron County Today; we can get little blurbs in once in awhile in some of the articles that say, you know, if you’d like to come and help. And then the other word of mouth is, and I also coordinate Eagle Scout projects for here and we’ve had a number of them.

The Hay Derrick, an eagle scout project.

Q – I heard that the Hay Derrick out front here was an Eagle Scout project?

A – Correct. We talked about building one and the Eagle Scout that was actually in charge of it actually found one in Enoch and the land owner was gracious enough to donate it to us. So his group disassembled it and brought it to the park and put it back together, so he didn’t have to build one and the fellow that donated it got a little recognition. And you know, the front of the museum has changed significantly over the years, if you can remember, that it was just kind of grass and bushes and you never really knew that the building was here [because] it was kind of hidden. And now we have these large implements out front to draw attention to it.

Christmas at the Homestead

Q – What is your fondest memory of Frontier Homestead State Park?

A – Probably when we do Christmas at the Homestead that week in December. Every evening where we [have] singers, carolers, a couple of vendors, but it’s, you know, the hot chocolate and all the rest of the little goodies, little bonfires going everywhere, and it’s just kind of neat all around. It’s really a family event. It’s set up in such a way that you could come every night because there’s different singers, different musical groups.

 

Music at the Frontier Folk Festival

Q – Is that similar with the Folk Festival too, bringing in local artists?

A – They can come from Salt Lake or Las Vegas, some of the artists. The Folk Festival this year is basically local talent and music talent and artists pretty much local, maybe 75% local. And it’s not store goods, it’s handmade stuff and that was one of our requirements for our artists, that when they submit, we have to see pictures of them actually in their studios or their workplaces making whatever it is that they sell to show. There’s a tremendous amount of talent in this area.

If you are interested in joining the Frontier Homestead Foundation Friends group, you can learn more by clicking here.  Membership includes free admission to the park, including special events, discounts in the gift shop, and much more.

Sheep to Shawl

Soft as a pillow.

Frontier Homestead State Park invites you to our first big event of 2017. Join us Saturday, March 18 for a trip back in time as we explore wool, from Sheep to Shawl. Frontier Homestead State park in partnership with the Sagebrush Fiber Artisans will allow participants to journey through the step-by-step process of taking wool from the sheep’s back to yours. Join us from 10:00-2:00 to have fun with the whole family.

Sheep will be attending as well to give visitors the opportunity to touch and feel before and after their annual haircut. Shearing demonstrations will be given hourly starting and 10:30am and run until 1:30pm.

Spot before her haircut.

 

 

Spot during her haircut.

Dyeing wool

Demonstrations include shearing, washing, carding, spinning and dyeing wool. Knitting and weaving will be available to participate in. Come enjoy the activities and visit with our talented craftspeople. Cost is $2.00 per person or $5.00 per family. Friend’s Group members are free with membership card.

 

Spinners at the walking wheel

This living history experience is hosted at the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum located at 635 North Main Street in Cedar City. Call 435-586-9290 for more information.

Frontier Folk Festival: Call for Artists

Stillhouse Road performs at last the Frontier Folk Festival

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum and The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation are pleased to announce the second annual Frontier Folk Festival in Cedar City, Utah, June 16-17, 11 am – 8 pm each day. Original art and live music combine to celebrate the diverse heritage of southern Utah.  The Frontier Folk Festival promises to be filled with remarkable talent.

“We’ve been talking about this idea for years,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager.  “Last year we introduced the festival, not knowing what the response would be.  Overall, it was a good event. This year we hope to expand on our success, and offer an exceptional experience to the community and all our patrons.”

One of the many vendors at last years event

Applications are now being accepted.  All interested artists and food vendors must submit an electronic  application, available at Artist application .

Thanks to the generous support of the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism & Convention Bureau (Scenic Southern Utah), marketing and advertising will be extended to market areas in Las Vegas and the Wasatch Front, increasing the Folk Festival’s reach to a broad audience.

The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation is looking forward to a diverse, quality show, and wish to thank its exhibiting artists and musicians in advance for helping to bring the arts in all of their forms to the residents of Iron County and beyond.

Questions can be directed to Festival Coordinator Todd Prince at (435) 586-9290, or via email atfrontierhomestead@utah.gov.

The Legacies of Iron County

Iron County exists because those who lived here developed the resources necessary for survival in this desert climate. The three legacies passed down by early settlers and their descendants — agriculture, mining, and railroads— are represented at Frontier Homestead State Park.

agricultureAgriculture, symbolized by the hay derrick, became the foundation of the local community. When early mining operations ceased, Iron County residents turned to sheep and cattle to provide needed trade goods. Today, the region still has a vibrant and expanding agricultural lifestyle.

 

 

MININGMining, represented by the ore shovel, is the industry that began it all, proving to be the initial motive for settlement. In 1923, the mines began producing ore by the tons and elevated Iron County to one of the richest counties in the Utah for nearly 50 years. Recently, the mines have reopened and the tradition continues.

 

 

TOURISMRailroads, signified by the caboose, proved pivotal for this community. Freight trains were able to haul more raw materials than ever before, increasing profits for the mining companies. Rail traffic also brought thousands of tourists to the area each year to explore our scenic wonders. Hollywood came to Utah, travelling by train, into Cedar City. The railroad literally brought the world into our backyard.

In the next few weeks, we will individually highlight each of these legacies. If you are in Cedar City, we invite you to explore, discover, and remember the legacies that transformed our community. They are a testament to our past and guideposts to our future.