Those who have read the publicity releases and reviews for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s touring production of "Macbeth" (which plays to the public 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Cheyenne College of Southern Nevada’s Nicholas Horn Theatre) may have not even noticed that the troupe’s name has undergone a major change: the word "Shakespearean" has been dropped in favor of "Shakespeare."
At first, I was as perplexed as you probably are, good reader. I had earlier received a press statement which read, in part, "Utah’s Tony Award-winning Shakespeare festival recently made an exciting announcement … The organization formerly known as the Utah Shakespearean Festival is now the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The festival’s name change is accompanied by a new logo.
"’We feel that the new name more clearly reflects our history and aligns succinctly with our organizational mission,’ said R. Scott Phillips, festival executive director. I didn’t understand the necessity for the change, or the reason for the "excitement." So, I contacted media rep Amanda Caraway, who offered this:
"We believe that by changing our name to ‘Shakespeare Festival’ versus ‘Shakespearean Festival’ we are presenting a cleaner, more direct and bold way to describe the organization and what we do. We present Shakespeare plays, not necessarily Shakespearean plays. In the course of almost 50 years, we have presented only two plays by contemporaries of Shakespeare.
"The name change does not mean there will be a change in the way we present Shakespeare. This is particularly true in the outdoor Adams Shakespearean Theatre. However, in the (indoor) Randall L. Jones theatre we will continue to present Shakespeare in a way that we feel is relevant to 21st Century audiences.
"We may use a traditional setting, or we may set the plays in various time periods and locations.
"The name change does not represent a change in our mission and core values."
The festival’s home is Cedar City, where they offer a variety of productions throughout the summer and fall months. A big percentage of their audience is made up of Las Vegans (bard.org).