Multi-Part Project to Enhance Shakespeare Guest Experience

The Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) recently broke ground on a multi-part project meant to enhance the guest experience at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts on the campus of Southern Utah University.

The project includes a new gift store, a concessions stand, a clock tower, an outdoor gathering area, and landscaping and seating upgrades at SUMA.

“Festival guests are in for a wonderful surprise when they visit this summer,” said Frank Mack, executive producer. “We are adding a new gift shop in the Engelstad Theatre, a new concessions stand, and beautiful new lawns and gardens that include a colonnade of trees with new outdoor seating to form a new gathering place for guests to visit, relax, sip refreshments and enjoy the serenity of the Beverly Center for the Arts.”

“Generous donations from the Gardner and Adelman families have made these improvements possible, and I’m grateful for their support,” he concluded.

In addition to private donors, Iron County has awarded the overall undertaking a grant from the Iron County restaurant tax. Southern Utah University also contributed significantly to enable the construction of the new gift shop.

The biggest four projects are meant to enhance the Festival experience by providing shopping, concessions, and gathering space to the area east of the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre.

The new Festival Gift Shop will be built into the east lobby of the Engelstad Theatre. The 1,200 square foot shop will be filled with souvenirs, clothing, books, programs, and more and will be operated by the Southern Utah University Bookstore. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the days of plays. The current Randall Gift Shop will still be open, but its footprint will be slightly smaller.

The outdoor gathering space, or “outdoor living room,” is just to the east of the new gift shop and will provide an inviting and comfortable space for guests to meet and mingle, relax, have a snack or lunch, and enjoy their time at the Festival. For guests attending morning discussions in the seminar grove, Ellen’s Sweet Shoppe will be serving coffee and light breakfast items. Much of the concrete will be removed and replaced by lawn areas, Victorian gardens, a colonnade of shade trees, and seating and tables.

Between the Engelstad Theatre and the Ticket Office will be the new Ellen’s Sweet Shoppe and the Gardner Family Clock Tower. The sweet shop will be open from 8:30 a.m. until intermission of the evening play and will sell candy, ice cream, prepared food, snacks, and drinks. For guests attending morning discussions in the seminar grove, Ellen’s Sweet Shoppe will be serving coffee and light breakfast items. It is named for Ellen Adelman whose family and friends provided the funding. The new clock tower is named for Ella Gardner who generously provided the funding for it.

In addition, two projects will be completed around SUMA.

Pathways, landscaping, and seating will be added to the Stillman Sculpture Court on the east side of SUMA adjacent to the Ashton Family Greenshow Commons. This will enhance the ambiance and comfort of guests as they wander through this outdoor collection of sculpture. In addition, seating will be added to the Stewart Family Foundation Plaza which serves as SUMA’s front door.

Construction is scheduled to be finished by the first week of June, before the first Festival production on June 27. Concurrent with the Festival’s opening is a related exhibit in SUMA, Karl Momen, Homage to William Shakespeare, running through October 5.

The 2019 lineup of plays at the Festival include four by Shakespeare: Macbeth, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and the Festival’s four and one-half hour finale of the King Henry VI plays dubbed The Conclusion of Henry VI: Parts Two and Three. In addition, the season will include The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Price by Arthur Miller, and Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan MacMillan with Jonny Donahoe.

Tickets for the season are now on sale: visit the Festival website at, call 800-PLAYTIX, or visit the Ticket Office next to the Anes Studio Theatre.

Story and Photography Courtesy of: Utah Shakespeare Festival
Original story can be found here.