Get the latest information on the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Performing Arts and the Festival’s new Shakespeare Theatre
What will the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts include?
The center will include the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s new outdoor Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, the Festival’s Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre, the Festival’s artistic and production facility, and the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), as well as a new Greenshow stage, a seminar grove, and public spaces.
Why the change from plans of past years?
For several years, the Utah Shakespeare Festival has been raising money towards a new Shakespeare theatre, and in 2009 Southern Utah University launched a campaign to build the Southern Utah Museum of Art. In 2012 leaders from both organizations determined that combining the two projects would propel both buildings to completion and enhance the guest experience. Now Southern Utah will have an arts center that will further establish SUU as a regional arts Mecca. The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts will incorporate visual arts, live theatre, and dynamic arts education on the SUU campus and will dramatically enrich the cultural life of Cedar City and its surrounding region. The Center will be a year-round destination for thousands of visitors.
Why is the facility named the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts?
The decision to name the center after the late Mrs. Sorenson was made after the Sorenson Legacy Foundation awarded a $6 million gift to the new center. Beverley Taylor Sorenson was a tireless advocate for arts education. She was a visionary who believed in the power and impact art has on children’s lives. Her legacy and passion will be echoed throughout the entire state of Utah through this new center. Naming opportunities still exist for other buildings, etc. If you are interested in memorializing a loved one, please let us know.
What will the new Engelstad Theatre look like?
The new outdoor Engelstad Theatre will still have the same intimate actor/audience relationship and will feel very similar to the current open air Adams Shakespearean Theatre. The space has updated amenities and modern accessibilities, including an elevator and increased ADA seating. The theatre will also have a flexible roof covering for inclement weather.
What is the new Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre?
This new 200-seat studio will provide a third, flexible option for Festival programming, allowing the production of small, intimate plays to complement the offerings in the new Engelstad Theatre and the existing Randall L. Jones Theatre.
What is the Artistic and Production Facility?
The Artistic and Production Facility will include a rehearsal/education space, costume shop, and administration offices.
What is SUMA?
The Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) will be the first accredited museum in the nation to be staffed and operated by graduate students. Four galleries, visible storage, and classroom spaces will be features of the new museum, which will be the permanent home to the artwork of Cedar City artist Jim Jones. A large-covered plaza welcomes patrons to SUMA, a state-of-the-art museum, which will feature approximately 5,300 square feet of exhibition space. SUMA will exhibit international and regional art, as well as that by SUU’s Art and Design students and faculty.
Will the Center have public space?
Absolutely. The Center will offer many large, public gathering spaces, which will be ideal for receptions and special events. The Shakespeare theatre will have a covered terrace on the lower level of the theatre and a rooftop garden on the back deck of the second level. SUMA will also have a sizable, covered patio in front of its entrance. Landscaping for the Center will include a sculpture garden, tree lined walkway, a Greenshow stage and enhanced seminar grove.
What is the timetable for construction?
It will take eighteen to twenty-four months to build the Center, with groundbreaking taking place on Southern Utah University’s Founders Day celebration, March 27, 2014. The Center will be completed for the opening of the Festival’s 2016 season.
Will construction interfere with the Festival, its plays, and activities?
Construction will not impact the Festival experience. The Festival will continue its current programming of eight shows and a free nightly Greenshow, as well as seminars, orientations, and backstage tours. The new Center will require the permanent closure of 200 West from Center Street to College Avenue. Guests may park in the Auditorium Theatre parking lot and the SUU lot on the corner of 300 West and Center Street. Street parking will also be available.
How much will the Center cost, and do you have all the money you need?
Currently, we’ve raised $35 million dollars, but we are continuing fundraising efforts for furniture and fixtures. Each and every gift is meaningful, and you too can play a part.
How Can I Help?
For more information or to donate, call the SUU Development Office at 435-586-7775 or donate now.
Beverley Taylor Sorenson
Side photo: David Toney (left) and Susan Shunk in Othello, 2002