Utah Shakespeare Festival appoints new leadership officials

On Sept. 6, 2023, the Utah Shakespeare Festival announced their new artistic director, John DiAntonio, and their new executive managing director, Michael Bahr. 

DiAntonio currently serves as the producing artistic director at Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colorado. During his years of service, DiAntonio generated financial and artistic success for the Creede Repertory Theatre. His efforts and the success of the theatre have been highlighted in The New York Times. 

“John has a wonderful balance of vision for USF, accompanied by proven administrative skills and artistic leadership,” said Bryan Watabe, past board chair and co-chair of the search committee. “I believe the festival will thrive with him as our artistic director.” 

Bahr served as the education director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival for twenty years and has been serving as USF’s interim managing director since November 2022. 

“I am so pleased Michael has accepted this important appointment. He has a long history of audience development, creative programming and cultivating connections to art not only within the community and on campus but with patrons, donors and those with whom he works daily,” said Southern Utah University President Mindy Benson. “As a result, I have confidence and optimism about the future of the Festival.” 

The Utah Shakespeare Festival continues to provide professional theatrical productions, as well as other experiences such as backstage tours, seminars and orientations. This season, the Festival is producing several of Shakespeare’s works, such as “Timon of Athens,” in addition to  other contemporary plays and musicals, including “The Play That Goes Wrong.” 

“What an honor to join the extraordinary artists of the Utah Shakespeare Festival,” said DiAntonio. “I cannot wait to connect with the Cedar City community, recruit more theatre lovers and bring the magic of the Bard to the stage as we embark on the 63rd season.” 

For more information regarding the Utah Shakespeare Festival, visit bard.org.  

Story by: Gracie Butterfield
Photos courtesy of: the Utah Shakespeare Festival