An Introduction to the Utah Shakespeare Festival

As lovers of the dramatic arts, we are constantly seeking out new ways to experience the timeless works of William Shakespeare. What better way to do so than by attending the renowned Utah Shakespeare Festival? Held annually in Cedar City, Utah, this world-class event brings together theater enthusiasts, actors, and directors from across the globe to celebrate the Bard’s enduring legacy. In this article, we’ll delve into the magic of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, exploring its rich history, enchanting venues, and unforgettable performances.

A Brief History of the Festival

The Utah Shakespeare Festival began in 1961, founded by Fred C. Adams, a theater professor at Southern Utah University. Over the years, the Festival has grown exponentially, attracting over 100,000 visitors annually and garnering numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Exploring the Venues

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is held across three stunning venues, each offering a unique and immersive theater experience.

The Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Modeled after the iconic Globe Theatre in London, the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre is an open-air venue that transports audiences back to the Elizabethan era. With its thrust stage and intimate seating, the theater creates a truly immersive experience, making each performance feel like a genuine piece of history.

The Randall L. Jones Theatre

The Randall L. Jones Theatre is an indoor, proscenium-style theater, known for its excellent acoustics and state-of-the-art facilities. This versatile space showcases not only Shakespearean works but also contemporary plays and musicals, ensuring a diverse lineup of performances each season.

The Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

The Anes Studio Theatre is an intimate black box theater, providing a flexible and up-close experience for audiences. This venue is dedicated to hosting new and experimental works, fostering creative innovation within the Festival.

Must-See Performances at the Festival

Each year, the Utah Shakespeare Festival offers a diverse lineup of Shakespearean plays, as well as modern classics and new works. With something for everyone, from the seasoned theatergoer to the first-time visitor, the Festival promises a memorable experience for all.

Tips for Attending the Utah Shakespeare Festival

To make the most of your visit, we recommend:

  1. Booking tickets in advance to secure the best seats.
  2. Arriving early to explore the Festival grounds and amenities.
  3. Dressing in layers, as the weather in Cedar City can be unpredictable, especially for outdoor performances.
  4. Bringing a cushion or blanket for outdoor seating, as the benches can be a bit hard on the back.
  5. Planning your dining options ahead of time to ensure you have enough time to enjoy a leisurely meal before the show.

Family Fun at the Festival

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is a fantastic experience for families, offering engaging and accessible programming for all ages. The Festival hosts a variety of educational events, including interactive workshops, pre-show discussions, and backstage tours that provide an inside look at the production process.

Experiencing Shakespeare in the Great Outdoors

One of the most magical aspects of the Utah Shakespeare Festival is the opportunity to experience theater under the stars. With the majestic Southern Utah landscape as a backdrop, the outdoor performances create a truly unforgettable atmosphere.

Pre-Show Entertainment

Before each outdoor performance, the Festival offers free entertainment, known as the Greenshow. This lively event includes music, dancing, and comedy, providing a festive atmosphere for all to enjoy.

Backstage Tours

For a behind-the-scenes look at the magic of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, be sure to take advantage of the guided backstage tours. These informative tours offer a unique glimpse into the world of professional theater, including insights into set design, costume construction, and more.

Dining Options for Festival-Goers

A variety of dining options are available on-site, including the Festival’s own Tudor-style restaurant, The Munchabunch. In addition, Cedar City offers numerous eateries to satisfy every palate, from casual cafes to fine dining establishments.

Nearby Accommodations

Cedar City boasts a wide range of accommodations for Festival attendees, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. Many of these lodging options are within walking distance of the Festival venues, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable stay.

Supporting the Arts in Utah

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the cultural landscape of Southern Utah. By attending the Festival, you’re not only enjoying world-class theater but also supporting the arts and educational programs that benefit the local community.

Education and Outreach Programs

The Festival’s commitment to education is evident in its numerous outreach programs, including the Shakespeare-in-the-Schools tour, the Playmakers youth theater program, and workshops for educators.


The Utah Shakespeare Festival offers a truly magical experience for theater lovers of all ages. With its enchanting venues, captivating performances, and engaging educational programs, the Festival is a must-see event for anyone looking to experience the Bard’s timeless works in a truly unforgettable setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Utah Shakespeare Festival outdoors?

The Utah Shakespeare Festival features both outdoor and indoor performances. The Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre is an open-air venue, while the Randall L. Jones Theatre and the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre are indoor spaces.

Where is the Utah Shakespeare Festival held?

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is held in Cedar City, Utah, on the campus of Southern Utah University.

What do you wear to the Shakespeare festival?

While there is no strict dress code for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, it is recommended to dress in comfortable, casual attire. For outdoor performances, it’s a good idea to dress in layers and bring a cushion or blanket for seating.

When did Utah Shakespeare Festival start?

The Utah Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1961 by Fred C. Adams, a theater professor at Southern Utah University.

Who owns the Utah Shakespeare Festival?

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit organization, governed by a Board