Utah Shakespeare Festival Presents The Romeo and Juliet Education Tour

The Utah Shakespeare Festival has sparked off their year with their public performance of “Romeo and Juliet” on Thursday, Jan. 30. The Shakespeare-in-the-Schools tour presented their own spin on the classic Shakespeare play. 

From January to April, the Utah Shakespeare Festival will bring this production to over “25,000 students in the West,” according to their website. They will be traveling all over Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado and will perform for over 120 “schools, community centers and correctional facilities.” 

The touring company will not only perform, but will give students the chance to engage in a “post-show discussion and workshops in stage combat, performing Shakespeare’s text, technical theatre and developing character through improvisation.”

Directed by Jason Spelbring, the play itself consisted of seven actors, four of which are Southern Utah University alumni. This meant that six actors played more than one role, with SUU student Kenna Funk playing four. 

Playing the roles of Tybalt, Lady Capulet, Peter and Friar John, Funk is currently the only member of the company who is still attending school. She is a senior working towards her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Classical Acting with a minor in French. 

“This is my first touring production and I’m thrilled to be a part of it because we focus on the intense themes of Romeo and Juliet and put the passion at the forefront of our production . . . In the words of our inspiring director, [we want others to] ‘witness the effects of violent passion that Shakespeare intended to explore,’” Funk said. 

Their version of Romeo and Juliet consisted of a 70 minute production set in a classroom. It was directed to show high school students acting out the play when their teacher doesn’t show up to class. 

“Our director, along with our entire team, felt passionately about setting our production in a classroom in 2020 with the idea in mind that those watching the show can see themselves in the characters and relate to their passions, fears, strengths and flaws.”

Over the course of four months, the touring company hopes to inspire, educate and encourage students from all over. 

For more information about the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the staff, and the touring company putting on this show, click here.


Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: Karl Hughes