Changes To The Utah Shakespeare Festival Focal Point

Nov 9, 2017

The Englestad Theatre before a show.
Credit Alyssa Robinson

 

The new Englestad Theatre looks very similar to the Adams Theatre, except a lot bigger. Both theaters were designed to look like the famous Globe Theatre in London, the stage where a lot of William Shakespeare’s plays were performed.

 

During its time, the Adams Theatre served as the focal point for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Now, after the festival received a number of grants, the activity has moved across the street where the new Englestad is now located, leaving the Adams relatively quiet.

 

Josh Stavros, the media and public relations manager for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, said because of the likeness, guests felt at home in the new space almost immediately.

 

“Coming into the theater and seeing how similar it felt to the Adams it was really, really fun to watch guests experience that and say, ‘Oh, I know this place. Oh, I’ve been here’ and be able to sort of sit down and experience great Shakespeare or outdoor theater just like they did for many years across the street," he said.

 

Stravos said while the new theater is where the majority of the festival’s plays are performed, the retired theater is still used during the day for some of the educational workshops and high school summer camps.

 

Tiger Funk, the executive director of facilities management at Southern Utah University, said the building’s future is in question but will likely be torn down and replaced with a performing and visual arts facility for the university.

 

“We don’t take the removal of old buildings lightly on campus," Funk said. "We try to make sure that they’ve truly lived their life and we’ve been able to utilize them to their fullest. However there just comes a point that from a functional and the standpoint of managing risk and also from an economic standpoint that the building be removed and replaced.”

 

The festival decided to build the new complex across the street from the Adams Theatre because of many building-code shortcomings, including the unmet standards for the Americans With Disabilities Act.

 

But regarding the new facilities, Stravos said there were a few glitches that needed to be worked out.

 

“There were some sound issues the first year that we had, the building was kind of close to some of the air moving and electrical equipment next to the theater and so between last year 2016 and this year 2017, we built some bafflers and built a wall that doesn’t affect the viewing or outdoor experience but really blocks the sound,” said Stavros.

 

Kelly Rogers started working for the festival as an actress during the Adams Theatre’s last season in 2015.

 

“Well the Adams is such a special place.There’s so much history in those boards," said Rogers "It’s a really intimate space.It’s quiet and there’s many many years of theater behind it. And also there’s just a lot of love in this community for that space. But also I think at the same time there’s a new excitement about opening a space. And of course it has it’s glitches and you know they’re working tirelessly to make this space the precious space that the Adams is. I think there’s something very special and new about the Engelstad as well."

 

The festival is currently raising money to move the gift store, which is located in a classroom by the old Adams theater, across the street so it can be by the new theaters.

 

Building the whole Beverly Sorenson Center for the Arts cost around $39 million and includes the outdoor Englestad Theatre , the indoor Randal L. Jones Theatre, the Eileen and Allen Anes box theatre, and the Southern Utah Museum of Art. Other aspects of the new space include the festival’s offices and the outdoor space for the festival’s Green Show.