Utah Shakespeare Festival

351 W Center St, Cedar City, UT 84720

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The Utah Shakespeare 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 theatre festival. Excited by the idea, he packed up his notes and ideas and visited Ashland, Oregon, the site of the granddaddy of all Shakespeare festivals, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. While there, he closely observed operations and was befriended by Angus Bowmer, the OSF founder, whom Adams interviewed extensively. On the long ride back to Cedar City, the Utah Shakespeare Festival was born.

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