David Ivers, Festival artistic director since 2011, announced today that he will be leaving the Festival later this month to accept the role of artistic director at the Arizona Theatre Company, based in Tucson and Phoenix.

Ivers described his departure as bittersweet. “I have so many memories and inspiring events associated with the Utah Shakespeare Festival that I’ll remain forever grateful to the artists, staff, and guests that make the Festival what it is,” he said. “Everything I know about cultural literacy, everything I know about challenges and rising above them, everything I know about incredible work on incredible stages, I learned at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.”                                   

“This new position is a thrilling professional opportunity, and it dovetails with the needs of my family,” he said. “I am eager to embark on this next adventure, even as I say goodbye to this amazing theatre and company of gifted and dedicated artists and staff.”

Ivers will return to Cedar City to direct the world premiere production of How to Fight Loneliness, opening August 26, 2017

“David has significantly influenced the development, growth and progress of the Festival as an actor, artistic director and innovator,” said Festival Board President Jeffery R. Nelson. “We will always be grateful for his energy, passion, and many contributions; and we wish him and his family nothing but success in his new role." 

Ivers has acted and directed at the Festival since 1992. He was hired as co-artistic director along with Brian Vaughn in January of 2011. Festival Founder Fred C. Adams has worked with Ivers through all that time. “David has been a much-loved talent here at the Utah Shakespeare Festival,” Adams said. “Under his co-leadership with Brian Vaughn, the Festival has accomplished remarkable things. Of course, we will miss him and hope to get him back to act or direct Festival productions when his schedule allows. We will always consider him a valued member of the Festival family.”

Co-artistic leader Brian Vaughn has worked with Ivers at the Festival on a nearly daily basis for over six years, and was quick to point out the many changes in that time. “David and I started our leadership tenure at this organization over six years ago,” he said. It is amazing to think of the things that have happened in that time: a new brand, a new logo, the fifty-year anniversary celebration, building new theatres, the Complete the Canon initiative, and the new play program Words Cubed. I will cherish our shared artistic learning and growth. He is a dear friend and will be greatly missed.”

“While we will miss David, we are grateful for his passion for great theatre, his dedication to our art, and the artistic leadership he and Brian have given over the past years,” added Zachary Murray, interim executive director.

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Tickets are now on sale for the Festival’s 56th season, which will run from June 29 to October 21. In addition to How to Fight Loneliness, this year’s plays are Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Shakespeare in Love, Guys and Dolls, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Treasure Island, The Tavern, and William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged). For more information and tickets visit www.bard.org or call 1-800-PLAYTIX.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts at Southern Utah University, which also includes the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA).