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Festival Names Interim Artistic Director

Derek Charles Livingston

Derek Charles Livingston has been named as the interim artistic director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. He will fill that role while a nationwide search is completed to hire a new artistic director to replace Brian Vaughn, who stepped down May 25.

Livingston has worked at the Festival since March of 2021 when he was hired as director of new play development/artistic associate. He says he is both excited and humbled to step into this new position: “It was never in my imaginings when I applied to work here, nor when I was hired, nor even a month ago, that I would be asked to step up and serve the Utah Shakespeare Festival as its interim artistic director,” he said. “But having been asked, I accept it with humility and honor.” 

“I welcome Derek to the role of interim artistic director,” added Executive Producer Frank Mack, “and I am eager to see the work he’ll do while the Festival searches for a permanent artistic director.”

Prior to coming to the Festival, Livingston was primarily a theatre director, producer, and new play developer. He served for over four years as the managing artistic director of Los Angeles’s Celebration Theatre (the country’s second oldest, continuously operating LGBT-focused theatre). During that time and after, he produced and/or directed several acclaimed plays and musicals; those productions received over fifty Los Angeles theatre awards or nominations (including acknowledgements for Livingston’s directing work on five productions). Later he lived in San Diego where he produced or co-produced a host of new play festivals, helping give life to over forty new plays. For San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre, he directed the award-nominated San Diego premiere of Tru, depicting the life of Truman Capote.

In addition to his new duties, he will also be performing in the one-man play Thurgood which opens September 14 at the Festival.

“Any success that happens during this interim tenure will be because of our great staff, so many of whom have given decades—literally decades—to serving this organization and producing great theatre here,” said Livingston. “I would not agree to serve if I didn’t have utter confidence and faith in them and in their abilities, and I cannot serve without their support, guidance, feedback, and critical observations.” 

The 2022 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival runs from June 20 to October 8 and includes All’s Well That Ends Well, Sweeney Todd, King Lear, The Sound of Music, Trouble in Mind, Clue, The Tempest, and Thurgood, as well as all the experiences surrounding the plays, such as The Greenshow, seminars, orientations, and Repertory Magic. Tickets and information are available by calling 800-PLAYTIX or going online to bard.org.

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