May 16, 2012
CEDAR CITY, UT – Under the leadership of Artistic Directors David Ivers and Brian Vaughn, the Utah Shakespeare Festival recently announced its commitment to produce all of William Shakespeare’s 38 plays over the next 12 years in a new program called Complete the Canon. This year, 2012, marks the beginning of the program with the rarely-produced Titus Andronicus, as well as The Merry Wives of Windsor and Hamlet.
“The Festival is committed to produce all of the Bard’s work, which will provide everyone with the opportunity to experience the complete breadth and scope of his talent as a playwright,” said Vaughn. “Some of Shakespeare’s plays may be less well-known, but all have something to say about the human experience, and, as a whole, present an amazing picture of the world around us.”
In 2013, the Festival will introduce the second phase of the Complete the Canon program, The History Cycle. Audience members can expect to see all of Shakespeare’s 10 history plays in chronological order starting with King John and ending with Henry VIII. In between are Richard II, Henry IV Part One, Henry IV Part Two, Henry V, Henry VI Part One, Henry VI Part Two, Henry VI Part Three, and Richard III.
One of the goals of The History Cycle is to use the same designers to produce scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound. This will give a cohesiveness to the plays that will be engaging and dramatic. Ivers and Vaughn also hope to hire a single actor to play Prince Hal as he moves from the young prince of Henry IV Part One to the king in Henry V.
Complete the Canon and The History Cycle will help the Festival define its programming well into the next decade and provide meaningful theatrical and educational experiences for Festival audiences. “This is a bold and important project for us, as it will drive all our planning for the next 12 years,” said Ivers. “Fifty percent of our programming is complete, and now we have the opportunity to think strategically about our scheduling, which could include a late-night production and hopefully attract a younger demographic.”
During these twelve years, Festival guests will probably have more than one opportunity to see such plays as Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor, but productions of Titus Andronicus will definitely be more rare. Vaughn added that he thinks people are excited and hungry to see the more obscure plays. “We are hungry to produce them.”
“We want people to say that because of the Utah Shakespeare Festival they’ve seen all of Shakespeare’s works performed,” said Ivers. To keep track of what people have seen and when, download a free Complete the Canon checklist from the Festival website at http://bard.org/events/festivalactivities/completecanon.html.
Tickets are on sale for the Festival’s 51st season, which will run from June 21 to October 20, 2012. The eight-play season includes Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Titus Andronicus and Hamlet. The season will also include Alain Boubill and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s epic musical Les Misérables, Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart, Moliére’s Scapin, Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic American novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and back by popular demand Marie Jones’ Stones in His Pockets.