Utah Shakespeare Festival breaks ground on new stage

All the world may be a stage, but the Utah Shakespeare Festival is one step closer to its new stage — which will carry a very Vegas name.

Thursday at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, the first shovel broke ground on the planned Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, home to USF’s new Englestad Theatre.

In 2012, the Las Vegas-based Englestad Family Foundation made a $5 million gift to the festival (the largest in USF history at the time) and the new theater’s name honors that contribution.

In addition to the new Shakespeare theater (which will feature a flexible roof covering for inclement weather), the center will house a 200-seat studio theater for the Tony-winning Cedar City festival, along with a new artistic/production building.

The Southern Utah Museum of Art will share space in the new center, which will feature a tree-lined walkway and sculpture gardens.

Festival found Fred C. Adams, who spearheaded “the dream of a Shakespeare Center” for 25 years, called the groundbreaking “the fulfillment of that dream as we actually turn earth to signify that this will become a long-awaited reality.”

Construction on the new center is expected to get underway this summer, with completion in 2016. In the meantime, USF will launch its 2014 season in late June, presenting eight plays and a free nightly Greenshows, along with seminars, orientations and backstage tours, all of which will continue during construction.