THEATER: Bard fest gets a staff shift

Presumably pulled off without the palace intrigue of, say, "Macbeth," two new leaders have been named to guide the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City.

Today, the organization introduced longtime festival actor/directors David Ivers and Brian Vaughn as joint artistic directors, taking over leadership duties from associate artistic directors Kathleen F. Conlin and J.R. Sullivan. R. Scott Phillips remains as executive director.

“I was elated when I received the call from Scott offering me this position,” Vaughn said at a press conference in Salt Lake City. “The call came on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday, of all days, which is especially noteworthy and beautifully ironic.” Added Ivers: “This is literally a dream come true. Being an artistic director, especially at the festival, seems like a natural progression in the long history that I have had with the organization. I am extremely passionate about the festival and highly motivated.”

Both men have worked at the festival for more than 15 years. Ivers spent nine years as a resident artist at the Denver Center Theatre Company in Colorado, while Vaughn has been a member of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre since 1997. In their capacities in Utah, they will manage artistic programming, play selection and casting, and assist with fundraising and promotion.

Curtain goes up on this year's festival on June 28 for the summer season, continuing through Aug. 28. The fall season runs Sept. 16-Oct. 16.