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Festival founder dies at 76

Barbara Adams, who in 1961 co-founded the Tony-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival with husband Fred C. Adams, died Wednesday at her home in Cedar City, Utah. She was 76.

“Barbara was a tireless supporter of the festival, the arts, and all that is good in our community,” R. Scott Phillips, the festival’s executive director, stated in a news release. “For 47 years Barbara’s gentle hand guided all of us in making the festival stronger.”

Born March 13, 1932, in Garland, Utah, Adams received a bachelor’s degree in theater from Utah State University, then taught drama in Cedar City, after which she earned a master’s degree in speech and audio pathology from the University of Washington.

Returning again to Cedar City, Adams established speech and audio pathology programs for Utah’s Iron County School District and in Lincoln County, Nev.

She also served for two years as the dean of women at Southern Utah State College, which is now Southern Utah University.

She married Fred Adams in 1963.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival, which debuted in 1962, has grown into one of North America’s largest theater companies. It won a 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Adams started the festival’s music department by playing the recorder, then spent 20 years as music coordinator.

In addition to her husband, Adams is survived by children Dorcas Woodward, Glynis Neves, Addison Adams and Josh Adams; sister Dixie Morrell; and 12 grandchildren.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Monday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 16th Ward chapel, Cedar City.

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