New York, Los Angeles and London are renowned for their refined theater productions. While theater in these cities may be excellent, inexpensive and award-winning theater is also located here in Utah.
For over 50 years, the Utah Shakespeare Festival has brought local communities and visitors together for an unforgettable theater experience. This year, the festival, located in Cedar City, has announced the return of Student Access cards, giving students on a budget more opportunity and reason to take advantage of this historical festival.
The Student Access card allows any current, ID-holding student to see any and all of the festival’s productions for only $35, during August 15 to October. Most of the tickets are $30 or more per show so with the card, students get a generous discount.
“People in Utah don’t realize that there is a Tony Award-winning theater three hours south,” said Kym Mellen, an actor at the festival who also teaches at BYU. “We have excellent artistic directors who want to make the festival part of Utah.”
Mellen started performing in elementary school and has not stopped since. She currently has roles at the festival in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” “Les Miserables” and “Hamlet.”
David Ivers, one of the two artistic directors who has also been an actor in more than 30 productions over 16 seasons at the festival, described the Shakespeare Festival as “a totally inspiring place to be.” As an artistic director, he is in charge of casting, scheduling, and running an organization of over 400 people.
“It’s an all-inclusive arts journey down here in southern Utah,” he said. “It’s not just the festival — it’s the environment. There are literally things going on from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ”
Mellen and Ivers suggested that students see the Festival’s production of “Scapin” and “Titus Andronicus.” “Scapin” is full of contemporary music and crazy, bright costumes while “Titus Andronicus,” a rarely produced Shakespeare play, is packed with blood, gore and epic twists and turns. This Shakespearean day blockbuster includes 14 murders, chopped arms and decapitations.
“You have no idea what’s going to happen next,” said Mellen. “The fact that it’s rarely produced gives you bragging rights for you date,” added Ivers.
Ivers pointed out the climate of the Festival produces an atmosphere of learning for all ages.
“There is something about coming here and having a communal experience with storytelling,” he said. “You’re in the midst of discovery. There is nothing more rejuvenating.”
Students must present their student ID and another form of ID to purchase the Student Access card at the festival’s ticket office. For more festival details, visit www.bard.org.