Festival Feature: Meet Volunteers Shirley and Bob Kramer
Shirley and Bob Kramer have been indispensable volunteers and supporters of the Utah Shakespeare Festival for over ten years.
The current president of the Guild of Utah Shakespeare Festival, Bob serves on the non-profit organization as a way to support the Festival and the arts. Together, he and Shirley, the treasurer of the Guild, work to build relationships between patrons and actors through activities and fundraisers.
“We want to preserve the arts in any way we can,” Bob said.
The couple’s love for theatre began on the East Coast, where they started attending Broadway shows. As an airline pilot, Bob would often fly to New York City just to see plays.
“We saw a lot of theatre, and Shirley and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we could interact with actors after the show?’” Bob said.
The Kramers moved to Las Vegas 25 years ago, where they currently reside. In search of good theatre in the area, the couple traveled to Cedar City all those years ago to attend the Utah Shakespeare Festival— which was when their longtime love for the organization began.
“We got involved with the Guild 11 years ago, and started Curtain Call Lunches,” Bob said. “The idea was for the actors and patrons to get to know each other.”
The couple also started the Adopt-an-Actor program, which ran for about four years. The program was meant for patrons to be able to further get to know the performing company.
This year, they hosted the Welcome BBQ to welcome the 2023 Festival company and kick off the season, which was resumed after several years of being on pause due to the pandemic.
The Kramers also spend a significant amount of their time at the Festival partnering with small businesses in the Cedar City area.
“We reach out to and educate businesses that don’t know about the Festival,” Bob said. “This year we signed up 75 small businesses [as Guild members] and raised ten thousand dollars.”
Although the couple live in Las Vegas, they spend May through September in Cedar City ushering, participating in the Guild, and helping the Festival however they can.
“We sometimes pick up actors from the airport and we support the REACH Cabaret,” Shirley said. “And the rest of the year, we come up once a month for our Guild meetings.”
The Kramers are heavily involved in other artistic organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors at Encore Performing Arts, Impact Theatre Company, SimonFest, and California Symphony Alliance.
They are also on the Southern Utah Museum of Art fundraising committee and involved with the Las Vegas Sinfonietta and the Las Vegas Philharmonic.
Additionally, the Kramers advise the Jazz Outreach Initiative at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and helped found “Friends of UNLV Jazz,” where they now serve as directors.
“We just want to support the arts and keep the arts going,” Bob said.
The Festival would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Kramers for their support. To learn more about the Guild and their valiant volunteer efforts, visit bard.org/guild.