Final show at beloved outdoor Shakespeare theater

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CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) — The Utah Shakespeare Festival is closing the curtain for good at its main outdoor theater that's been open for 44 years as the popular event prepares to move next year into a new venue.

The final show in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre was held Saturday night in Cedar City, the Spectrum newspaper in St. George reported (

At the end of the performance, cast members joined 84-year-old festival founder Fred C. Adams on stage, holding candles. Adams had remained involved with the day-to-day operations of the theater since its founding.

The beloved theater is a replica of the Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London. The accuracy of its design made it the film site for a BBC series, but sun and rains have damaged the wooden structure. The design also limits technology that the festival can use.

The new Engelstad Theatre is under construction nearby. It is part of a $38.5 million center for the arts.

"I am convinced that we're going to be able to build memories in the new space that are every bit as special as those we built in the old space," Adams said after the ceremony.

Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson said before the play that it's been bittersweet.

"It's exciting to know next season will be across the street in the new theater," he said.

Festival executive director R. Scott Phillips spoke to the audience after the show, noting the presence of Max Anderson, the 88-year-old architect who designed the building.

Phillips said the theater was built piece by piece from 1971 to 1977.

"It's an extraordinary place to share storytelling," he said. "The lights will dim shortly, and a new light will happen for all of us."

Saturday night's ceremony was the theater's final farewell, and was dedicated to the Bard's histories. A previous ceremony was devoted to Shakespearean comedy, while another celebrated the tragedies.

The Beverly Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts is being built on the same lot as the festival's indoor Randall L. Jones Theatre and will house the new outdoor performance stage as well as the future Southern Utah Museum of Art.


Information from: The Spectrum,

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