“We are planning on having a season in 2020 but it’s going to be delayed," said Frank Mack, the executive producer of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. "We're going to start later and it's going to be modified. We're going to produce it differently, and we're going to, hopefully, have a wonderful season for our patrons.”
While there is much uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, Mack said the idea of not trying to continue the tradition was worse.
“It is an enormous part of the summer for a lot of people here in the state of Utah and beyond. And while we don't know what things will be like in July, if things are substantially improved, it would be awful that we could have performed some shows and we weren't," Mack said. "So, we are making sure that we're in a position to have a season to present if we can, and I think that'll make a wonderful difference for folks in Utah, especially having spent a long period in hibernation and in quarantine. It's something to look forward to.”
Instead of the typical nine shows produced for the festival, there will only be five shows this season, starting with “The Pirates of Penzance” on July 9. Due to the short notice, Mack said the costuming and stage production for the season will be less elaborate this year.
“But that was a way we could make the season possible," he said. "And we definitely prefer to try to have a season even with some reduced technical elements versus not having a season at all.”
Some of the precautions the festival will be taking include increasing sanitizing stations and cleaning efforts, limiting seating to no more than 50% of occupancy, and quarantining company members for two weeks as they arrive in Cedar City.
And later, if it’s decided by the festival or local health department that it’s unsafe for the festival to go on as planned, the usual box office fees will be waived and full refunds provided for ticketholders.