Compared to the Festival’s existing Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre, the new playhouse would allow the Festival to extend its season and add additional performances, thus increasing the attendance by 25 percent, bringing an estimated 30,000 additional patrons to Cedar City annually.
“Given the far-reaching economic benefits the Utah Shakespeare Festival has had upon the state of Utah, we had hoped the Legislature’s support would have been closer to our request of $5 million,” said R. Scott Phillips, executive director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. “We are, however, very grateful for this consideration in helping to bring us closer to our final goal. We sincerely appreciate the support of the legislators in our area, Senator Casey Anderson (R, District 28) and Representative Evan Vickers (R, District 72).”
Phillips pointed to a recent economic impact study that revealed the Festival generates morethan $35 million annually in patron spending and tax revenues, including significant out-of-state patron revenues.
“The new theater will boost economic activity so significantly for the city, region and state by allowing more patrons to enjoy the Festival, and greater public funding of the new theater should be a foregone conclusion,” Phillips added. “This is an investment that will pay dividends to the state of Utah and its residents for years to come.”
Fred C. Adams, founder of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, said the current theater has served patrons well for more than 40 years. Yet, the aging theater is not sustainable and has become cost prohibitive going forward.
“It will be an uphill battle to raise the remaining millions of dollars needed for this theater,” Adams said. “We are committed to begin construction on the theater in late 2013 with completion by 2015. We continue to search for newsources of both public and private revenue to make the theater a reality.”
Slated to take up an area east of Southern Utah University campus on 200 West between Center Street and College Avenue, the new theater will include a retractable roof that will allow expansion of the theater season and the potential of year-round usage. It will also offer greater audience amenities, such as convenient public restrooms, ADA accommodations, and heating and air conditioning improvements. Additionally, an incorporated artistic center will provide necessary and functional facilities for a number of artistic, technical and administrative uses. The Festival currently attracts nearly 120,000 patrons annually, and one in three audience members travel from outside of Utah.
In addition to the overall patron spending and tax revenues, the economic impact study also revealed that the average nonresident audience member attending the Festival spent $106 per event above the cost of their admission ticket for lodging, transportation, restaurants and souvenirs.
About Utah Shakespeare Festival
The Utah Shakespeare Festival presented its first season in 1962 and celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year. The 2012 season runs from June 21 to October 20 and includes Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, Titus Andronicus, and Hamlet, as well as other classics from around the world: Mary Stuart, To Kill a Mockingbird, Scapin, Les Misérables, and Stones in His Pockets. Tickets are now on sale for the 2012 season at www.bard.org and 1-800-PLAYTIX (800-752-9849).