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Festival Announces 2023 Directors

2023 Directors

By Liz Armstrong

Traveling from across the country, seven talented directors are coming to the Festival for its sixty-second season. 

Interim Managing Director Michael Bahr offers a warm welcome to these creative individuals:

“We are overjoyed to welcome our directors for this upcoming season. They are stellar artistic leaders from all over the country. I know our Festival audiences will love their work,” Bahr said.

Britannia Howe:
The Greenshow

“I’m thrilled to return to writing and directing the Greenshows for the Festival,” Howe said. “This year’s Greenshow scripts are full of nostalgic folk songs and stories with opportunities for audience members to participate with the actors in the storytelling!”

This is the director’s fourth season at the Festival. She directed The Greenshow in 2018, 2019, and 2021, as well as Cymbeline in 2021. She has also worked at Illinois State University, Utah State University, and Illinois Shakespeare Festival, to name a few. Howe received the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Directing Fellowship in 2011, and she has teaching credits from Illinois State University, Southern Utah University, and Utah Shakespeare Festival Playmakers and Actor Training. 

Howe received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Illinois State University, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Classical Acting and Theatre Education from Southern Utah University. 

Howe excitedly announced that the free family-friendly 30-minute shows will be England Regency Garden and Appalachian Night themes. The third rotating theme will be produced by the local Paiute Tribe. 

England Regency Garden is inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, playing in the Randall L. Jones Theatre, and it is a garden party,” Howe said. “Appalachian Night will include bluegrass music with myths of fairy folklore, influenced by themes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream playing in the Englestad Shakespeare Theatre.”

For more information on Howe, follow her on Instagram @howetelling. 

Geoffrey Kent:
The Play That Goes Wrong

“I am delighted to bring comic chaos to the Randall,” Kent said excitedly. 

This is Kent’s fourth season back at the Festival, with three seasons under his belt as an Actor and Fight Director here. He was Oliver in As You Like It (2017), Billy Bones in Treasure Island (2017), and the Prince of Arragon in The Merchant of Venice (2018), to name a few. He has also worked at DCPA Broadway, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Arvada Center. Kent received a Henry Award for Excellence in Fight Direction. His teaching credits include University of Northern Colorado, University of Denver, and Asolo Conservatory. 

For more information on Kent, visit his website at geoffreykent.com or on Instagram @geoffreykent. 

Jessica Kubzansky:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Kubzansky is the Artistic Director of Boston Court Pasadena, where she has worked on world premieres of Kit Steinkellner’s Ladies, Sarah B Mantell’s Everything That Never Happened, Stefanie Zadravec’s Colony Collapse, and more. She has also worked on The Father at The Pasadena Playhouse, Othello at A Noise Within, and Hold These Truths at San Diego Repertory Theatre. Awards include Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre. 

Kubzansky teaches graduate playwrights and directors at University of California Los Angeles. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Direction from the California Institute of the Arts after obtaining an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing from John Hopkins and Harvard University. 

For more information on Kubzansky, visit her Performing Arts Center website bostoncourtpasadena.org.

Derek Charles Livingston:
A Raisin in the Sun

Currently the Interim Artistic Director and Director of New Play Development at the Festival, Livingston also acted as Thurgood Marshall in the Festival’s 2022 production of Thurgood. He has also directed Polar Bears, Black Boys, and Prairie Fringed Orchids at the Festival’s 2022 Words Cubed reading. He has also taken on roles in productions at other theaters of Thurgood, The Pillowman, and The Whipping Man to name a few. 

Livingston was awarded the New Hampshire Drama Award for Best Actor, as well as the LA Stage Scene Awards for Best Director. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Brown University, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production and Direction from the University of California- Los Angeles School of Theater, Film, and Television. 

Betsy Mugavero:
Romeo and Juliet 

“Directing Romeo and Juliet at the Englestad is a dream come true,” Mugavero said. “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented collaborators in the country on a play that is so very dear to me.” 

Mugavero is a familiar face at the Festival, having been in 21 productions since 2008. She was in Romeo and Juliet (2017), Peter and the Starcatcher (2013), and Shakespeare in Love (2017). She has also performed at The Folger Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and Great Lakes Theater to name a few. She was also Producing Artistic Director at the Southwest Shakespeare Company from 2018 to 2020. She received the Broadway Cleveland Award of Best Actress for her role in As You Like It

The director received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California Irvine after getting a Bachelor of Arts from Temple University. She has taught various master classes at several universities. 

“We will see this familiar story told in a truthful, heartfelt and robust way and honor Shakespeare’s timelessly poignant words,” Mugavero added.

For more information on Mugavero, visit her website at betsymugavero-com.webs.com.

Lisa Peterson:
Timon of Athens and Coriolanus 

Peterson is a two-time Obie Award-winner for her productions of An Iliad and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire. Recent credits include Shipwrecked, Motherhood Outloud, and The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek. Shakespeare productions include Antony and Cleopatra at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Hamlet at Oregon Shakespeare Theatre, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hartford Stage. 

She has also directed at the Mark Taper Forum (where she was Resident Director for ten years), La Jolla Playhouse (where she was Associate Director for three years), and Guthrie Theatre, to name a few. Peterson is also a member of Ensemble Studio Theater and on the executive board of Stage Director and Choreographers Union. 

For more information on Peterson, visit playwrightshorizon.org.

Valerie Rachelle:
Jane Austen’s Emma the Musical 

Rachelle is returning to the Festival, having been the Assistant Director for All’s Well That Ends Well. She has also worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Opera, and Utah Festival Opera to name a few. She is currently the Artistic Director at Oregon Cabaret Theatre.

She boasts teaching credits from the University of California Los Angeles, PCPA, and Southern Oregon University. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of California Irvine after a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the California Institute of Arts. 

For more information on Rachelle, visit her website at valerierachelle.com

“We are thrilled to welcome those coming for their first time and those that are returning,” Bahr said. “It will be an electric season.”

Tickets are now for sale for the 2023 season and may be purchased by visiting bard.org/plays/  or by calling 800-PLAYTIX.

What's On

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The Mountaintop

July 13 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

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The Taming of the Shrew

June 19 - September 7, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

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RADA 2024 Production

July 30-August 3, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

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Henry VIII

June 17 - September 5, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

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Silent Sky

July 12 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

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Much Ado About Nothing

June 21 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

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The 39 Steps

June 22 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

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The Winter's Tale

June 18 - September 6, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2024 www.bard.org Cedar City, Utah