Festival Founder Still Hard at Work
He’s eighty-six, no “eighty-six and one-half” years old, and has loved and lived the Utah Shakespeare Festival dream for nearly sixty years, but Founder Fred C. Adams shows few signs of slowing down.
“I still come to the office every day,” said Adams, “although a little later than I used to.”
Adams directed and guided the Festival as executive director from 1962 until 2005, when he stepped down and R. Scott Phillips stepped into his shoes. Phillips retired in March of this year, and other leadership changes have happened since, including the recent departure of Co-Artistic Director David Ivers, the appointing of Brian Vaughn as sole artistic director, and the hiring of Frank Mack as executive producer beginning September 1.
Adams’s main work in recent years has been to raise money for the new theatres at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, and 2016 saw the culmination of those efforts with the opening of the center. Adams, however, still maintains his office at the Festival and fills several roles. This year he will be performing as Adam in As You Like It, as well as hosting play orientations, talkbacks, and other events. His major role, however, is still fundraising; he hopes to raise money to continue to refine the Festival’s theatres and grounds at the Beverley Center for the Arts. This is when he’s not tending his garden at home or on his annual visit to Disneyland with his children and grandchildren.
Not bad for a man in his ninth decade!
Adams is optimistic about the future of the Festival. “I think the Festival is in good hands,” he said. “I have no reservations. These [Vaughn and Mack] are the leaders the Festival needs. Frank is the right man, and Brian is so right for his job.”
“Fred’s impact on this organization is immeasurable,” said Vaughn. “From the mundane to the extraordinary, the Festival is lucky to have his advice, his spirit, and his wonderfully insightful knowledge of both this craft and this industry. I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience the joy he exudes and the positivity he encourages.”
So, look for Fred at the Festival this summer. If you don’t see him on the stage or at an orientation, find him on the patio before a play, and say “hi.”