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Utah's Shakespeare Festival Connecting With Audiences Through Virtual Seminars


Theaters all across the nation have had to shut their doors due to pandemic. The Utah Shakespeare Festival has created a virtual seminar which helps maintain some connection between artists and audience members during this time.


The morning after every play, the Utah Shakespeare Theater would host an outdoor seminar where the audience could discuss the show.  

Michael Bahr is the education director. He said even though there aren’t any productions at the moment, they still wanted to continue having the conversations online.

“One of the things I enjoy about both the online format that we're doing and what actually happens during the regular season, is there's an intimacy that you get when you're sitting with a number of other patrons or people who have just seen the performance and you get to talk about what you liked, what you didn't like, what you understand what you want to seek more clarity from and finding out," Bahr said. "There's just a whole marketplace of ideas that are shared within these seminars.”

Brian Vaughn is the artistic director at Utah Shakespeare Festival. He said the seminars occur every Thursday and Friday until the end of July. Thursday sessions focus on the actors and actresses. 

“Both from what it's like to be an actor inside them to play certain roles, potentially roles that some of these actors have been yearning to play their entire life, as well as some inside dramaturgical of, of what makes these plays tick, why they're conversational, and why we keep investigating them over time," Vaughn said.

And Friday sessions focus on the production aspects. 

“Usually it's inside from everything from props, scenery, costumes, lighting, stage management, all the things that really bring these plays together," Vaughn said.

The seminars also include discussions on women playing Shakespeare role and on suicide prevention and depression in schools.