Final Farewell to the Utah Shakespeare Festival's Adams Theatre

Published: September 09, 2015 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Utah Shakespeare Festival Farewell Adams TheatreOn the campus of Southern Utah University, the Utah Shakespeare Festival dimmed the lights in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre for the last time Saturday, September 5 and transferred the light to the under-construction Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre.

The celebration of the Adams Theatre began Thursday after the final performance of the 2015 production of The Taming of the Shrew. R. Scott Phillips, Festival executive director, and Founder Fred C. Adams paid tribute to Grace and Obert C. Tanner who provided substantial funding to build the theatre in 1977. The Adams was named after Mrs. Tanner’s parents: Thomas and Luella R. Adams. The actors from that evening’s performance took the stage and recited lines from each of the comedies produced in the Adams Theatre in the past 38 years, blowing out a candle to represent the dimming of the lights in the old theatre.

Friday night honored the late Douglas N. Cook, who provided the original sketches for the theatre and was later producing artistic director for many years. Actors from King Lear recited lines from the tragedies, which have graced the iconic stage and blew out candles until the theatre was dark.

Saturday night Phillips honored the architect who designed the theatre, Max Anderson; and Artistic Director Brian Vaughn paid tribute to the theatre which has long been one of the world’s most authentic Elizabethan theatres, Shakespeare’s “wooden O,” followed by the actors from Henry IV Part Two reciting lines from all the histories from the Adams Theater’s past.

One candle was not blown out and was handed to Festival Founder Fred C. Adams to lovingly carry across the street to the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, part of the new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts. The evening’s guests and community members followed him to the construction site, where the new building was bathed in light. As Philips invited them to “share with us your lights as we illuminate this new performance space,” a spotlight shone straight up into the night sky from what will be the new stage in July 2016, symbolic of a bright future for the new theatre.

 “I am going to miss that wonderful space with all its memories, said Ivers after the ceremonies. “But I am looking forward to a new era at the Utah Shakespeare Festival!”

 "The Adams Theatre has been the iconic landmark and artistic home for the Utah Shakespeare Festival for many years,” concluded Phillips. “Moving to the new Engelstad Theatre will be a difficult transition for us to make from our charming and trusted home, but we are anxiously awaiting the opportunities that the new space will provide.”

Photo Credit: Katie Christensen

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