Utah Shakespeare Festival Debuts a New Line Up of Leadership and Directors

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is returning with new leadership and a long line of accomplished directors for its 60th year.

Dan Giedeman, previous assistant professor of theatre at Saint Louis University, will join as the scenery director. This will be Giedman’s 17th season with the festival, having worked with it since 1997.

Richard Girtain, from The Juilliard School in New York, will be the new production manager. With 200 productions under his belt, Girtain brings plenty of experience to the festival’s staff.

Tanya J. Searle, the festival’s stage manager, has taken on the role of artistic association. As she begins her 15th season with the festival, she will be working closely with Brian Vaughn, the current supporting artistic director.

Cassie Abate, a first-time director for the festival, will be taking on “The Pirates of Penzance.” Her previous focus on choreography in plays such as “The Brain from Planet X” and “The World According to Snoopy” gives her a unique background as she prepares to lead a new cast.

Vincent J. Cardinal directed “Every Brilliant Thing” and “The Foreigner” in past years at the festival. This year he will be bringing laughter to the masses through Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.”

Britannia Howe will be directing Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline.” In past years, while working at the festival, she has directed both the preshow and “The Greenshow.”

Tasia A. Jones, a first timer at the festival, will be directing “Intimate Apparel.” Prior to working at the festival, she has had experience with both directing and acting across the country.

Cameron Knight, another newbie, will be taking on “Richard III.” Before his work with the festival, Broadway World nominated him for best director in Michigan while working on “Shakespeare in Love.”

Kent Thompson last directed at the festival in 2012 and is returning this year to take on Shakespeare’s “Pericles.” When not working with the festival, his work can be found across the nation.

Brian Vaughn will be directing “Ragtime” and “The Comedy of Terrors,” two award-winning plays. He has worked with the festival for 25 years.

This line up of experienced men and women will be bringing the Shakespeare Festival’s 60th year to life. For more information on the festival, visit their website.

Story by: Audrey Gee
Photo courtesy of: Utah Shakespeare Festival