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Michael Flachmann

Long-Time Festival Dramaturg Lost Too Soon

Cedar City, UT – It is with deep sadness that the Utah Shakespeare Festival shares the news of the passing of long-time Festival dramaturg, author and friend, Dr. Michael Flachmann due to a sudden illness on August 8, 2013 in Cedar City, Utah. He was 70.

He left behind a legacy of service and passion for education and the arts in his community both in Cedar City and Bakersfield, California.

Dr. Flachmann was a professor of English and director of The University Honors Program at California State University, Bakersfield. He earned his B.A. at the University of the South, his M.A. at the University of Virginia, and his doctorate at the University of Chicago.

He offered mentorship and guidance to thousands of theatre students, old and young alike. He was a born educator. In 1993, Flachmann was recognized for his excellence when he was selected outstanding professor for the twenty-campus California State University System. In 1995 he was named "U.S. Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation in Washington, D.C., and in 1999 he was given a $20,000 Wang Family Excellence Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching in the California State university system.

"He believed literature civilizes us as a world," said his wife, Kim, CSUB's writing program coordinator since 1986. "And he believed Shakespeare's plays were universal."

For the past twenty-seven years, Flachmann worked at the Festival as the dramaturg on more than ninety productions. He also created Camp Shakespeare nearly twenty years ago as a way to immerse students, families and seniors into live theatre. Flachmann had just participated in the Festival's annual Wooden O Symposium and was preparing to drive home to Bakersfield when he became ill.

"Michael had the ability to make every person feel that their thought, comment or contribution was as important as anyone else's," said R. Scott Phillips, executive director. "He was responding to what they were feeling."

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Christopher and daughter-in-law, Abby; a daughter, Laura; and two grandsons, Carter and Bennett.

Funeral services will be on Saturday, August 17 at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary in Bakersfield, California. Details are pending.

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