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No Utah Shakespeare Festival this year

The 2020 Shakespeare Festival in southern Utah has been canceled.

SALT LAKE CITY — The directors of the Utah Shakespeare Festival (the Festival) announced on Tuesday that they have canceled the Festival’s 2020 season.

Directors cite the safety and health of the Festival’s staff, artists, audiences, and the southern Utah community as their reasons for the unprecedented cancelation.

“This is a direct result of the devastating impacts of COVID-19 in performing arts,” said Frank Mack, executive producer, in a statement released to media.

The Festival had announced a revised season on April 13. But Festival officials say now that there are too many obstacles to overcome.

“When we announced our revised season, we indicated that we would cancel our season if we had to, and sadly, it has come to that,” Mack said.

One obstacle is a requirement from the Actor’s Equity Association (AEA), the union of professional actors and stage managers. 

The AEA said they would not offer contracts to professional theatres until the theatres had new safety protocols written and implemented.

The Festival says they support this decision by the AEA.

The cancelation has the potential of greatly impacting the economy of Cedar City, the host city, as well as the entire southern Utah region.

According to an economic impact statement provided on the Utah.gov website, “the total economic impact of the Utah Shakespeare Festival is estimated at more than $35 million annually.”