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London Globe theatre 'indebted' to Utah Shakespeare Festival

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 11:59pm


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CEDAR CITY — Shakespeare's Globe in London is located just 750 feet from the sight of his original theatre built in 1599, but a replica of the theatre sits across the ocean in Cedar City, Utah.

The Globe has had to get creative with their shows during the Olympics, like showing "Taming of the Shrew" at midnight after events. But managers of the theatre say, that one little theatre made theirs possible.

The Adams Shakespearean Theatre on the campus of Southern Utah University was dedicated in 1977, and Shakespeare's Globe opened 20 years later in London. The Globe's founder, Sam Phillips, was inspired by the Utah Shakespeare Festival, said the theatre's Director of Education, Patrick Spottiswoode.

In fact, he says, Phillips visited the festival and became passionate that the rebuilding of the Globe would work.

"Sam came over here a lot in the early and mid 80s, and he wanted to find out how this theatre worked, with actors, audience, what their relationship was," Spottiswoode said.

He wasn't the only one who recognized the Adams Theatre's authenticity, though. In 1981, the BBC and Royal Shakespeare Company traveled to Cedar City, choosing to film in what was the closest replica of Shakespeare's theatre in the world at the time.

"You come to Utah and it's your language, it's Shakespeare, it's wonderful," said a member of the 1981 Royal Shakespeare Company Jeremy Irons. "It's like coming home."

The Utah Shakespeare Festival's founder, Fred Adams, said the filming helped the festival, too.

"So many people in Utah had never heard of us and then, all of the sudden, we appear in national magazines like 'time' and Newsweek and they're going, 'wait a minute, where is this?' so, it was a nice break for us," Adams said.

Two countries, two unique theatres celebrating the timeless words of one playwright. Shakespeare's Globe will always connect with the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

"Everybody in the United States and everybody in the world is indebted to Fred Adams and Scott (Phillips) and the team out there in Utah," Spottiswoode said.

"There is something kind of magical about seeing Shakespeare done, the way it's done at the Globe and, very honestly, the way we do it here," Adams said.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival plans a new theatre for its Shakespeare Center, groundbreaking next year, which will also be an open-air "Wooden O."

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Carole Mikita

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