News From the Festival

Festival Announces Michael Bahr to be Interim Managing Director

Interim Managing Director - Michael Bahr
Interim Managing Director - Michael Bahr

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is excited to announce that Michael Bahr will return to the Festival to serve as the interim managing director starting on November 1. 

“I am so pleased Michael has accepted this important appointment,” said Southern Utah University President Mindy Benson. “He has a long history of audience development, creative programming, and cultivating connections to art not only within the community and on campus but with patrons, donors, and those with whom he works daily. As a result, I have confidence and optimism about the future of the Festival.”

“I am humbled and grateful that President Benson reached out and asked me to serve in this critical role,” said Bahr. “The Festival has been a large part of my life, and I felt compelled to return and help during this transition.”

Bahr served as Education Director for the Festival for more than twenty years before retiring and becoming the Director at Gateway Preparatory Academy where he has served since July. He said it was a tough decision to leave the school. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my work at Gateway. It is a school of choice, and I still choose to support it. I will stay on in a partial capacity at the school until they can find the best replacement,” Bahr said.

“Of course, we are sorry to see Michael go,” said Brittany Jensen, chair of the Gateway Board of Directors. “As a strong educational advocate, Michael has played a big part in our school’s growth this fall and, to a large extent, the continual healing after the passing of Andy Burt, our previous director.” 

During his years at the Festival, Bahr worked to establish the annual Shakespeare Competition, the Shakespeare in the Schools annual touring productions, the Playmakers youth theatre program, Wooden O Symposium, sensory-friendly performances, and juvenile justice outreach programs. As a community builder, he stresses that all Festival productions, orientations, seminars, and Greenshows are designed to bring artists and the community together and to expand perspectives. 

“With his background in education, Michael is uniquely positioned to succeed in this new role due to his many years of experience building successful educational programs,” said Bryan Watabe, Utah Shakespeare Festival Board of Governors Chairperson. “His deep academic roots in understanding the importance of Shakespeare as a teaching tool and how to employ it to build future audiences are critical to the viability and growth of the Utah Shakespeare Festival.”  

Bahr is thrilled to rejoin the Festival staff. “These hard-working and dedicated Festival employees are friends with whom I have had the honor to create during the past twenty years. In the shops, on the stages, and in the offices - they are the true heroes who work tirelessly around the clock to make the magic happen.” 

Bahr was very close to late Festival Founder Fred C. Adams and has enjoyed sharing the origin story of the Festival in orientations and seminars.

“Fred’s vision has been passed to thousands of artists and patrons through the years,” said Bahr. “It has increased in breadth and scope, and I’m honored to continue that legacy. We are all part of building this dream and I’m thrilled to work side by side closely with the Festival’s Interim Artistic Director Derek Charles Livingston.”

Livingston moved to Utah to work at the Festival because of its stellar reputation, its commitment to great art, and its engagement with the community. “Michael Bahr spent more than twenty years contributing to that legacy, and he is a wonderful choice to carry it forward. Our partnership will propel the Festival forward on a solid footing. I welcome him home to USF as my friend, my brother, and my colleague.”

The children of Fred C. Adams are also elated with the news of Bahr’s appointment. “We are thrilled Michael has accepted this role! We couldn’t have chosen a better mentor and Shakespearean scholar to be in this position than Michael,” said Glynis Neves on behalf of her siblings. “Dad would be so happy and proud to have Michael continue his legacy and steer the Festival toward a bright and hopeful future. Michael is uniquely qualified to bring both continuity and unity to the entire company.”

“‘The play’s the thing,’” Bahr said, quoting Shakespeare. “Plays are tools that we can use to celebrate and elevate our humanity. The Festival tells universal and classic stories through authentic theatrical experiences. We are about personal connections with our audiences, amplified by the artists and administrators who design and create productions that connect in meaningful and innovative ways.”

Bahr will fill this role until a nationwide search is conducted.

Festival Announces New Publications Manager Marlo Ihler

Marlo Ihler

By Liz Armstrong

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce Marlo Ihler as the new Publications Manager.

Following Bruce Lee’s retirement from the position after 31 years, Ihler will be taking over the position after working part time at the Festival for 16 years as part of the Communications and Marketing team.

“After recently retiring as Festival publications manager for over three decades, I am thrilled to see Marlo as the new director,” Lee said. “She has the perfect combination of creativity, knowledge, and dedication to lead Festival publications into the coming decades.”

Ihler has been a longtime patron of the Festival, attending plays since she was nine years old.

“When I was young, we would visit our grandparents in Cedar City where my mother grew up. I remember seeing my first Greenshows and plays at the Festival with my family and cousins, and falling in love with the theatre in part because of the time we spent there.”

The first Shakespearean play she recalls seeing was The Merry Wives of Windsor, and while she has seen nearly the whole canon since then, her favorite Shakespeare plays are Henry V, Hamlet, and Much Ado About Nothing.

She’s an alumna of Southern Utah University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis on voice. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration and was part of the inaugural class that graduated with this degree at SUU.

Ihler has also been part of the performing company at the Festival, as she was in the 1996 production of The Mikado and in The Pirates of Penzance in 2001. She began working as a part of the Festival administration in 2006.

Ihler was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado. She now calls Cedar City home and resides there with her husband Wyett of 23 years and their three children, ages 11, 14, and 18.

“I am really excited to continue Bruce’s legacy of amazing work behind the scenes and to contribute to this organization I love,” Ihler said.

Festival Announces Results From Shakespeare Competition

Shakespeare Competition

By Liz Armstrong

Cedar City, UT – This past weekend, the 46th annual Shakespeare Competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, gave out dozens of awards and scholarships to drama, dance and music students. 

The competition is the largest scholastic Shakespeare competition in the country, and this year, 109 schools attended from Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, and Nevada. 

From September 29 to October 1, students competed before numerous adjudicators on the Festival’s stages and on SUU’s campus. Judges consisted of arts professionals with strong literary and performance backgrounds, including actors from the 2022 season at the Festival.

The competition recognizes and educates students between second and twelfth grade in four areas: acting, dance/choreography, music, and technical theatre. At the conclusion of the competition selected students received plaques and scholarships to study with professionals at Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

The competition was divided into six divisions: Buckingham (large public high schools), Oxford (midsize public high schools), Cambridge (small public high schools), Westminster (charter schools), Stratford (junior high and middle schools) and Essex (schools or groups which are not members of state high school associations).

Interim Education Director Stewart Shelley encouraged teachers to bring their students to the competition because it is “an incredible opportunity for students to get professional feedback from our company members and professional judges to improve their own performance.”


For the acting portion of the competition, students were able to compete in monologues, duo/trio scenes, and ensembles. Monologue competitors presented for the judges a two- to four-minute monologue from a Shakespeare play or sonnet. In the duo/trio scenes competition, two or three actors presented a three- to five-minute scene from a Shakespeare play or sonnet. In the ensemble competition, a group of students from a school presented a six- to ten-minute Shakespearean scene.

In addition, first, second, and third place overall sweepstake prizes were awarded to the school in each division with the most total points from all categories.

Also, several scholarships were presented in the acting competition:

The first place winners in the duo/trio scene and monologue categories are awarded scholarships to either Southern Utah University or the Utah Shakespeare Festival summer classes, depending on the grade of the student.

Ray Jones Award: Given to seniors, this award is a $1,000 scholarship to Southern Utah University.

Barbara Barrett Award: Given to juniors and under, this award is a $500 scholarship to the Festival’s summer acting intensive Actor Training, or a tuition scholarship to Shakespeare for Junior Actor Training.

Larry Lott Acting Award: In conjunction with the ensemble competition, judges annually recognize the best actor in an ensemble scene in each division. The recipient of this award received a trophy for his or her accomplishments and, if a senior, a $1,000 scholarship to SUU.



Sweepstakes First Place: American Fork High School
Sweepstakes Second Place: Corner Canyon High School
Sweepstakes Third Place: Alta High School

Ensemble First Place: Skyridge High School
Ensemble Second Place:Corner Canyon High School
Ensemble Third Place: Riverton High School

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Chloe Whiting, Tanner White, and Grace Oborn (American Fork High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Sterling Lund and Emma Chapman (Mountain Ridge High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Mckenzie Batt, Ella Petersen, and Rachel Dominguez (Skyridge High School)

Monologue First Place: Ian Colton (Corner Canyon High School)
Monologue Second Place: Olivia Brown (Skyridge High School)
Monologue Third Place: Julia Stark (Layton High School)

Ray Jones Award: Ian Colton (Corner Canyon High School) and Chloe Whiting (American Fork High School)
Barbara Barrett Award: Grace Oborn and Tanner White (American Fork High School)
Larry Lott Acting Award: Elizabeth Longhurst (Riverton High School)


Sweepstakes First Place: Hillcrest High School
Sweepstakes Second Place: Spanish Fork High School
Sweepstakes Third Place: Lehi High School

Ensemble First Place: Hillcrest High School
Ensemble Second Place: Lehi High School
Ensemble Third Place: Northridge High School

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Gabriel Williams, Emily Alvey-Despain, and Eliza Williams (Hillcrest High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Serena Rogers, Jaren Ruff, and Gideon Kirby (Hillcrest High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Maddi Thompson, Jared Billings, and Jonah Riggs (Orem High School)

Monologue First Place: Rinah Garaway (Northridge High School)
Monologue Second Place: Munashe Tanjani (Hillcrest High School)
Monologue Third Place: Katherine Jones (Jordan High School)

Ray Jones Award: Rinah Garaway (Northridge High School)
Barbara Barrett Award: Gabriel Williams, Emily Alvey-Despain, and Eliza Williams (Hillcrest High School)
Larry Lott Acting Award: Isabell Mowrey (Lehi High School)


Sweepstakes First Place: Cedar High School
Sweepstakes Second Place: Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts
Sweepstakes Third Place: Liahona Preparatory Academy 

Ensemble First Place: Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts
Ensemble Second Place: Cedar High School
Ensemble Third Place: Juan Diego Catholic High School

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Ian Hadfield, Carter Little, and Eliza Strong (Liahona Preparatory Academy)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Jayden Long, Amara Davis, and Madalyn Millward (Liahona Preparatory Academy)
Duo/Trio Third Place: Amber Rose, Marina Paul, and Clara Call (Canyon View High School)

Monologue First Place: Emerson Mace (Salt Lake School of the Performing Arts)
Monologue Second Place: Nathan Garrett (Liahona Preparatory Academy)
Monologue Third Place: Tiana Green (Cedar High School) 

Ray Jones Award: Madalyn Millward and Nathan Garrett (Liahona Preparatory Academy)
Barbara Barrett Award: Eliza Strong (Liahona Preparatory Academy)
Larry Lott Acting Award: Elizabeth Cruz (Juan Diego Catholic School)


Sweepstakes First Place: DaVinci Academy
Sweepstakes Second Place: American Leadership Academy
Sweepstakes Third Place (tie): Maesar Preparatory Academy 

Ensemble First Place:  American Preparatory Academy
Ensemble Second Place: Rockwell Charter High
Ensemble Third Place: American Leadership Academy 

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Valentina Duarte-Torres, Hazu Indish, and Miah Lamere-Zuniga (DaVinci Academy)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Georgia Gottfredson, Katya Baxter, and Scout Jones (Karl G Maesar Preparatory Academy)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Ty Parkinson, Grace Egbert, and Abbie Nelson (Karl G Maesar Preparatory Academy) 

Monologue First Place: Aj Slee (DaVinci Academy)
Monologue Second Place: Quinlan LaMarch (DaVinci Academy)
Monologue Third Place: Roslyn Nielsen (American Leadership Academy) 

Ray Jones Award: Hazu Indish (DaVinci Academy)
Barbara Barrett Award: Valentina Duarte-Torres (DaVinci Academy)
Larry Lott Acting Award: Tamara Castillo (American Preparatory Academy) 


Sweepstakes First Place: Maesar Preparatory Middle School
Sweepstakes Second Place: Lake Mountain Middle School
Sweepstakes Third Place: Liahona Preparatory Academy 

Ensemble First Place: Maesar Preparatory Academy
Ensemble Second Place: Vista Heights Middle School
Ensemble Third Place: DaVinci Jr. 

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Ruby Call and Noah Johnson (Karl G Maesar Preparatory Academy)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Tie between Enoch Mefford and Dallin Gulledge (Karl G Maesar Preparatory Academy) and Paydence Brooks, Avry Slee, and Christian Anglesey (DaVinci Academy Jr.)

Monologue First Place: Kysen Fowler (Lake Mountain)
Monologue Second Place: Serenna Ihrig (Liahona Preparatory Academy- Middle)
Monologue Third Place: Shirley Ann Leavitt (Liahona Preparatory Academy- Middle) 

Barbara Barrett Award: Kysen Folwer, Noah Johnson, and Ruby Call (Lake Mountain)
Larry Lott Acting Award: Kylie Priday (Vista Heights Middle School) 


Sweepstakes First Place: Youth Theatre–University of Utah
Sweepstakes Second Place: Utah COPA
Sweepstakes Third Place: Youth Leaders for America 

Ensemble First Place: Liahona Prep Academy (Elementary)
Ensemble Second Place: Youth Theatre–University of Utah
Ensemble Third Place: Logan Youth Shakespeare 

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place:  Eliska Kondel and Ethan Devery (Utah Center of Performing Arts)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Solana Cordova and Jason Hogue (Youth Theatre–University of Utah)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Karla Marsh and Molly Pearson (Encore Performing Acts)

Monologue First Place: Hanna Hobson Rohrer (Youth Theatre–University of Utah)
Monologue Second Place: Afton Higbee (Utah Center of Performing Arts)
Monologue Third Place: Mylee Robbins (Utah Center of Performing Arts) 

Ray Jones Award: Hannah Hobson-Rohrer and Eliska Kondel (Youth Theatre–University of Utah)
Barbara Barrett Award: Mylee Robbins (Utah Center of Performing Arts)
Larry Lott Award: Ander Davis (Liahona Preparatory Academy) 


For the dance portion, students were able to compete in duo/trio or ensemble groups. In the duo/trio competition, two or three dancers presented a three- to six-minute interpretation of a Shakespeare play or sonnet. In the ensemble competition, a group of dancers from a school interpreted a three- to six-minute Shakespeare play or sonnet.



Ensemble First Place: Skyridge High School
Ensemble Second Place: Lone Peak High School
Ensemble Third Place: Mountain Ridge High School

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Hannah England, Chloe Church, and Ellie Snow (Lone Peak High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Reagan Rowley, Emma Rose Barnes, and Maile Edwards (West Lake High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Alice Porter, Natalie Rindlisbacher, and Emmi Carson (Pleasant Grove High School)


Ensemble First Place: Jordan High School
Ensemble Second Place: Lehi High School
Ensemble Third Place: Orem High School

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Janehlla Torres and Elise Skarda (Orem High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Lead Ahlander and Ava Trembley (Hillcrest High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Madilyn Robison, McKlayee Hortin, and Nesi Mckenzie (Crimson Cliffs High School)


Ensemble First Place: Desert Hills High School
Ensemble Second Place: Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts
Ensemble Third Place: Pine View High School

Duo/Trio First Place: Jenessa Ihrig and Alaina Hall (Liahona Preparatory Academy)
Duo/Trio Second Place: Olivia Day, Lainee Chase, and Ashlee Chadburn (Pine View High School)
Duo/Trio Third Place: Jaeda McCurdy, Ava Lunt, and Tanley McCurdy (Canyon View High School)


Ensemble First Place: Utah Arts Academy
Ensemble Second Place: American Leadership Academy 

Duo/Trio First Place: Sean Treshman and Clover Carter (American Leadership Academy)
Duo/Trio Second Place: Audrey Weiss and Natalia Black (Providence Hall) 


Ensemble First Place: Vista School
Ensemble Second Place: Timberline Middle School
Ensemble Third Place: Viewpoint Middle School

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Mylie Makin, Sage Sallenback, and Savannah Roger (Mountain Ridge Jr. High School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Mckenna Summerhays, Sadi Breinholt, and Leera Sainsbury (Vista School)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Jersey Schaugaard, Kambree Wride, and Andie Hideroa (Vista Heights Middle School)


Ensemble First Place: Canyon View Arts Center
Ensemble Second Place: Youth Theatre–University of Utah

Duo/Trio Scenes First Place: Reese Wheeler and Sloane Griffith (Encore Performing Arts)
Duo/Trio Scenes Second Place: Megan Allen and Julianne Lewis (Canyon View Arts Center)
Duo/Trio Scenes Third Place: Brennan Houge and Koda Long (American Heritage Academy


The music competition encouraged students to explore and develop a relationship with the music of the Renaissance (music prior to 1650). Students were encouraged to utilize creative combinations of instruments; however, no instrumentation was required. The competition was split into four divisions: Troubadour (1-5 participants), Minstrel (6-10 participants), Canzonetta (6-16 participants), and Madrigal (17 plus participants). Choral pieces could be up to ten minutes in length. 



First Place: Tie between Skyridge High School (Westminster) and Jordan High School (Buckingham)
Third Place: Pine View High School (Buckingam) 


First Place: Utah Arts Academy (Westminster)
Second Place: Corner Canyon High School (Buckingham)
Third Place: Pleasant Grove High School (Buckinham) 


First Place: Salem Hills High School (Oxford)
Second Place: Corner Canyon High School (Buckingham)
Third Place: Jordan High School (Oxford)


First Place: Pleasant Grove High School (Buckingham)
Second Place: Jordan High School (Oxford)
Third Place: Corner Canyon High School (Buckingham)


First Place: Jordan High School (Oxford)
Second Place: Pleasant Grove High School (Buckingham)
Third Place: Corner Canyon High School (Buckingham) 


The final competition was in the technical theatre area for students who work behind the scenes creating sound, lighting, props, scenery, and costumes. In the portfolio area, students were given the chance to have their technical and/or design portfolios evaluated by professionals in technical theatre. Technical theatre students were able to compete in Tech Olympics, with winners named in costumes, lighting, make-up, props, rigging, set construction, sound, and stage management. Overall school winners were also named. The best portfolio and runners-up were also recognized.


Costumes: Kylie Christensen (Liahona Preparatory Academy) (Buckingham)
Lighting: Joseph Digerness (Hillcrest High School) (Oxford)
Make-up: Colin Johnson (Corner Canyon High School) (Buckingham)
Props: Fischer Coleman (Hillcrest High School) (Oxford)
Rigging: Regan Danielson (Mountain Ridge High School) (Buckingham)
Set Construction: Beau Tippetts (Provo High School) (Oxford)
Sound: Landon Parry (Mountain Ridge High School) (Buckingham)
Stage Management: Joseph Milligan (Riverton High School) (Buckingham)


First Place: Hillcrest High School (Oxford)
Second Place: Salem High School (Oxford)
Third Place: Riverton High School (Buckingham)


Overall Winner: Jenessa Ihrig (Liahona Preparatory Academy) (Cambridge)
Runners-up: Tobey Bohun and Lio Campbell (Hillcrest High School) (Oxford) 

For more information on the Shakespeare Competition, visit

Festival Executive Producer Frank Mack to Pursue New Opportunities

Frank Mack

After leading the Utah Shakespeare Festival for five years, Executive Producer Frank Mack has announced he will leave the Tony Award-winning theatre company at the end of this season to pursue new opportunities.

“I love everything about the Festival,” said Mack. “The past five years have been incredible. The Festival is an extraordinary organization, and it has been a privilege to serve in this role. I now look forward to new opportunities that I hope will be as exciting and satisfying as working at the Festival.”

During his five-year tenure, the Festival’s budget grew from $6.5 million in 2018 to approximately $9.5 million in 2022. The organization had four consecutive years of operating surpluses from 2018 to 2021 and contributed income increased 188 percent from 2017 to 2021. This enabled the Festival to restore its reserves and improve equipment and facilities while advancing equity and diversity.

“We appreciate Frank’s leadership and dedication to the Festival,” said Southern Utah University President Mindy Benson. “He’s been a passionate advocate for the arts, and we wish him well on his next creative endeavor.”

Other professional highlights include forming a strategic partnership with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, increasing compensation for full-time and seasonal employees, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Festival, and introducing a statewide tour to Utah high schools of the play Every Brilliant Thing, a show intended to help prevent youth suicide.

“Frank Mack has made significant contributions to the Festival since arriving in 2017,” said Utah Shakespeare Festival Board of Governors Chair Bryan Watabe. “His work in helping stabilize and grow the Festival’s financial picture and raising our profile with his leadership in equity, diversity, inclusion, and access was outstanding. We thank Frank for his dedication to the organization and extend well wishes to him on his next chapter.”

Mack oversaw the problematic year when the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 epidemic, but he also shepherded the Festival’s reopening in 2021 with a full successful season. During his tenure, he has been committed to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, working on expanding the Festival’s pool of actors, artists, technicians, staff, and board members. As part of that commitment, he led a partnership with West Valley City, where the Festival produced the world premiere of Gold Mountain, a musical about Chinese workers on the transcontinental railroad. He also worked closely with the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah to include members of the tribe’s youth music and dance ensemble in The Greenshow.

In 2021, the Festival joined the League of Resident Theatres, a prestigious group of top professional theatres nationally. It also rejoined Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for professional theatres

“I will miss the excitement and joy of the Festival, the wonderful company, staff, board and generous donors—all of whom, taken together, make great theatrical art in southern Utah possible,” said Mack. “At the same time, I am enthused by the prospect of new creative opportunities.”

Before his work at the Festival, Mack served as an associate professor of arts administration at the University of Connecticut. Mack has also worked as managing director at the California Shakespeare Theatre in Berkeley, California; Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York; and Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Mack has served as a management consultant at Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland; the African Continuum Theatre Company in Washington, DC; the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; and many others.

The Festival and Southern Utah University are making plans for an interim executive producer and will follow that up with a nationwide search to fill the position.

The Tempest: Sophia K Metcalf as Ariel

Sophia K Metcalf

By Liz Armstrong

This is the 10th time the Utah Shakespeare Festival has produced The Tempest, and Sofia K Metcalf’s vivacious and whimsical energy has contributed to bringing the 2022 production to life.  

Metcalf discovered their love for theatre at a young age, acting in their first play in elementary school. Their mom used to play Broadway cast albums in the car, and Metcalf adored it.

“My first play I was in fifth grade and I played the fortune teller in The Wizard of Oz, which began my career of playing men,” Metcalf laughed. 

Well-traveled, the actor is from New Jersey but attended undergraduate school in Montreal, Canada where they double-majored in classical voice and drama. Metcalf also studied abroad in Munich, Germany and received a masters degree from the University of California, Irvine in acting. 

Several of their UCI peers had been hired at the Festival, and so Metcalf was excited about the idea of also securing a role. After visiting Zion and Bryce National Parks in 2020, they drove back through Cedar City, and that’s when the actor put the Festival on their actor vision board. 

Two years later, Metcalf’s dreams came true, and they are especially excited about their roles because Ariel is such a fun and tender character 

“I love the sprites and clowns in Shakespeare’s canon,” Metcalf said. “And Ariel is really exciting for me. You get to be a magical, infinite, genderless sprite, it’s crazy!”

Ariel hasn’t always been portrayed as genderless. In fact, most of the past roles at the Festival were traditionally filled by men. In 1967, Sabin Epstein was cast, followed by Robert Metcalf in 1971, Ray Dooley in 1976, Mark Guerette in 1984, Richard Hill in 1989, Benjamin Cherry 1995, and Michael Brusasco in 2007. 

The first woman to be cast as Ariel at the Festival was Rachel Mabey in 2001, followed by Melinda Parrett in 2013. Metcalf is the first nonbinary actor to be cast as Ariel.

Metcalf thoroughly enjoys playing Ariel through their elegant movements, humorous language, ethereal singing and playful personality captivating audience members throughout the season. 

There are seven performances remaining before the play closes at 2 pm on October 8. Go to to purchase tickets. Don’t miss out on this imaginative and mystical play!

People in Our Neighborhood: Farmer's Market Owner Heather Carter

Heather Carter

By Liz Armstrong

Heather Carter has been running the Festival City Farmer’s Market and Nature Hills Farm full time for 12 years.

The business owner moved from Nevada to attend Southern Utah University when she was 18 years old and has lived in Cedar City ever since. Carter graduated from SUU with a Master’s of Education.

The business owner met her husband, Travis, at school, and the couple now have four kids, ranging in age from 12-20 years old.

Carter and her family attend plays at the Festival almost every season. Some of Carter’s favorites include The Taming of the Shrew and Mary Poppins, while her daughter enjoyed last season’s The Pirates of Penzance.

In addition to enjoying the Festival personally, Carter appreciates the positive impact the Festival has on her business.

“Because we are a year-round farmer’s market, we definitely notice a difference when the Festival starts and ends. We plan our busy season around Festival season,” Carter said.

With actor housing right across the street from the farmer’s market, Carter has noticed a lot of actors and Festival staff that attend from June to early October.

“We have a lot of actors come to support the farmers market, and that’s always so fun,” Carter said. “We get to know them there, and then we get to watch them in the plays.”

Carter stays busy between running the farmer’s market and her farm. She grows produce to sell and makes breads and jams.

Nature Hills Farm is located at 4326 2100 E Circle in Enoch. On October 1, 5, 8, 10, and 15, the Harvest Fest is open, where visitors can enjoy hay rides, feed animals, walk through the sunflower maze, pick out a pumpkin from the patch, drink apple cider and pumpkin hot chocolate, and much more!

From October 1-31, the Pumpkin Patch and self-guided tours will be available. Tickets for these fall festivities range in price from $4-$11.

During the winter, Carter hosts cheese and sourdough making classes. There is also Christmas on the Farm and a live nativity. For more information on Nature Hills Farm, visit their website at or follow Nature Hills Farm on Instagram and Facebook.

For a fun-filled weekend, visit the farmer’s market from 9-1 pm on Saturdays on 45 W Center Street in Cedar City and then attend a play! The Festival’s season includes Clue, The Tempest, The Sound of Music, and Thurgood and closes Oct. 8. Purchase tickets at

Festival to Host 46th Annual Shakespeare Competition

Shakespeare Competition

By Liz Armstrong

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce the 46th annual Shakespeare Competition. Held September 29 to October 1, schools from across the country are invited to network and compete with one another in Cedar City

Students between sixth and twelfth grade will participate in acting, dance, music, technical and theatre competitions and have the opportunity to earn scholarships. 

The mission statement found on states that the goal of the competition is to “cultivate the art of theatre, dance, and music, by providing active observation of peer and professional performance, educational creations based on Shakespeare’s plays and poems, and personal evaluation by working theatre and dance professionals.”

The largest of its kind in the country, the Shakespeare Competition began in 1977. This year, 106 schools from Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin will be participating this year.  

Many members of the 2022 performing company will serve as judges for the competition, including Chris Mixon and J Michael Bailey, who played Sweeney Todd this season. 

Interim Education Director Stewart Shelley loves the Shakespeare Competition mostly for the sense of community it gives participants. 

“Yes, they may be siloed in their own high school as the ‘drama kids,’ but when we get 3,500-4,000 students on campus who all share the same passion, it really is magic to see them start networking,” Shelley said.

Although this is Shelley’s first time on this side of the competition – organizing and directing – he was once a participant himself in high school. As a former teacher, he’s also spend the past 20 years bringing his own students to the Shakespeare Competition. 

“Teachers should bring their students because it’s an incredible opportunity for students to get professional feedback from our company members and professional judges to improve their own performance,” Shelley said. 

Although the competition side of the event is exciting and motivating, Shelley pointed out that that’s not what the Shakespeare Competition is entirely about. It’s about networking, learning, and giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Shakespeare. 

“Whether you hate or love competition, it’s irrelevant. If you hate competition, don’t come to compete, come and participate,” Shelley said. “If you love competition, use that as a springboard to drive your students to higher levels of performance.”

Groups will also have the opportunity to see professional performances from the Festival’s current season, such as The Tempest and Clue. 

The dance, tech, and theatre portions of the competition will be held on Southern Utah University’s campus, while the music portion will be hosted at the Heritage Center Theater.

For teachers and coaches, access required forms, judging forms, schedules, rules and regulations, and more, can be found here

To find out more information about the Shakespeare Competition, visit**

Let’s All Be Help-Fall: The Festival Hosts 18th Annual Fall Food Drive

Fall Food Drive

By Liz Armstrong

The Utah Shakespeare Festival will be holding its annual Fall Food Drive from September 12 to October 8. 

The Festival has partnered with the local Iron County Care and Share to give back to the community by providing food to those in need. 

By donating five items of non-perishable food items, those participating in the food drive will receive a half-price ticket to the play of your choice. 

This promotion replaces the standard local discount, but there is no limit to the amount of half-price tickets given. Premier Seating is excluded and the promotion is unavailable Sept. 29 and 30. 

Local residents of Iron, Beaver, Washington, Kane, Garfield, Piute, and Lincoln counties are eligible for ticket discounts. Please bring proof of residency to the ticket office. 

Iron County Care and Share is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to providing compassionate assistance and resources to individuals and families in need, offering them exits from crises and pathways to increase their stability and self-sufficiency. 

It was founded in 1984 by local churches to address hunger in the community, and almost 40 years later, the Care and Share is still working to help those in need.

This year, there is a special need for canned meat, peanut butter, stews, soups, canned fruits, and vegetables. 

The  Festival typically receives over 3,500 pounds of food each year for the Iron County Care and Share. Hosting its 18th annual Fall Food Drive, the hope is to gather just as much - if not more - to contribute. To participate, bring food items to the barrels located outside the Festival ticket office when purchasing tickets. 

This offer is not available online. For questions, call 800-PLAYTIX.

Monetary donations are being accepted as well. Click here to donate to the Iron County Care and Share.

Jeanie and Roland Squire: Area Reps for Over 40 Years

Jeanie and Roland Squire

By Liz Armstrong

Jeanie and Roland Squire have been area representatives at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for 43 years. The couple began volunteering in 1979 and have been loyal patrons and volunteers ever since. 

Jeanie started attending the Festival the summer out of high school.

“I’ve only missed two seasons in 53 years,” Jeanie noted. “I saved money as a student to go, and then I took Roland to the Festival our second year of marriage.”

Roland was hooked and has been going with his wife ever since. They began taking their children, who are also lifetime fans of the Festival. All four sons became area representatives. 

“It started out to be an escape away from our kids, but then we started taking them, and they’ve been going since they were around five,” Jeanie said. “Now they bring their own children.”

It’s become a family affair. The couple has 14 grandchildren, ranging in ages 16 months to 19 years old, and those that are old enough to attend love going to the plays. 

“It’s become a tradition for our family that we just love,” Jeanie said. 

Jeanie and Roland live in northern Utah near Logan, but fulfill their duties by dropping off brochures and representing the Festival in a positive way. They make a trip down to Cedar City every season, eating at their favorite restaurants, attending the prop and actor seminars, going to the Greenshows, and, of course, attending all of the plays. 

“The arts are important and they have value – they build us up and lift us,” Jeanie said. “I come [to the Festival] and I feel like it feeds my soul.” 

Jeanie started attending plays at the Festival when it was just a platform stage with folding chairs. It’s been a lovely experience for her to watch the company grow. 

“We loved Fred, and I think it takes a special person to have that kind of passion,” Jeanie said. “When you look at the size of Cedar City and what they’ve built, it’s really amazing.”

The couple said they’ve always liked the traditional productions but have come to appreciate the modernization of Shakespeare. 

“You have to be open minded. When they started playing with the time period, I realized sometimes it helps me understand the show better,” Jeanie said. “ I might have seen the show eight times, but I’ll come away with something new.” 

Jeanie and Roland have many favorites, and it was hard to name a few after going for so many years. However, one of their most memorable plays was the 2002 production of Man of La Mancha.

“It’s hard for me to even talk about that show . . . it was magical,” Roland said, starting to get emotional. “There were two standing ovations during the first act.” 

Other favorites include productions of The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, Coriolanus, and The Spitfire Grill. This season, Jeanie’s favorite is King Lear while Roland’s are Clue and The Sound of Music. 

No matter what show is on, the family continues to return for the atmosphere and experience. 

“The Festival has such a standard of quality that they’ve maintained since the beginning,” Jeanie said. 

We thank Jeanie, Roland, and their four sons for the time and dedication they have contributed to the Festival. The Squires are simply invaluable to the Utah Shakespeare Festival family.

Honoring Festival Patron Linda Adams

Linda Adams

By Liz Armstrong

Distant cousin of Festival Founder Fred Adams, Linda Jones Adams was a longtime supporter and fan of the Festival. Her memory lives on, and a bench dedicated this year in her name can be found outside the Engelstad Theatre near the Green. 

Born on January 9, 1964, Adams immediately had a connection with the Festival, raised only a few blocks away from the grounds. In high school, Adams volunteered for three summers, as she and her friends sold tarts during the Greenshow.

Adams attended shows every year with her family, and later began taking her own children and grandchildren. Adams favorite shows included Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing. 

Heather Bess, Adam’s daughter, noted that she watched shows starting as a teenager all the way up until 2021, which means her mother attended the Festival for over 40 years. 

“My siblings and I grew up going with my mom to see the Greenshow, then later to the plays when we were old enough,” Bess said. 

When Adams passed away, her family decided to raise and donate money to the Festival to honor her. A bench was purchased with the phrase; “I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest,” from Act 4 Scene 1 in Much Ado About Nothing.

“It’s a place we can go and remember the memories we shared with her at the Festival,” Bess said. 

This is the perfect tribute to Adams because of how much she loved the Festival, and now her friends and family can enjoy the Greenshow from that very bench, forming a love of their own for the Festival like she had.

It is with much love that we will remember and honor Adams. It is patrons like her that keep the Festival producing plays year after year. Adams longtime support of the Festival is inspiring and humbling, and it is with much gratitude that we too, will sit at the bench and honor her.