Shakespeare Festival seeks patron donations: ‘Countdown to Completion’

The new Englestad Theatre comes closer to completion every day, Cedar City, Utah, crica February-March 2016 | Photo courtesy of Utah Shakespeare Festival, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Utah Shakespeare Festival has launched another plea for funding of the multimillion-dollar Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts complex this month, asking patrons to contribute to the last $400,000 needed to complete the project.

The campaign, “Countdown to Completion,” is the first to be taken directly to the visitors who attend plays and events put together by the Tony Award-winning festival, Media Relations Manager Joshua Stavros said. To date, the festival has successfully raised $38.2 million toward the construction of the complex. Stavros said:

We have been raising money for years, but we’ve never actually put a grassroots-style request out to our guests. We have visited with people who are interested, and we’ve taken lots of large donations and some small … Now we’re turning to our loyal guests who have been coming to us for all these years.

Each dollar raised during the countdown to completion campaign will be matched with a grant from the Englestad Foundation, Stavros said.

The money will be used to purchase equipment and amenities for the new Englestad Theatre, rehearsal space, costume studio and offices, including items such as lights, speakers and a greenshow stage.

According to a press release from the Utah Shakespeare Festival this month, the money must be raised by May 1 to prepare in time for the season to launch.

Stavros said the plan was to have this completed by the time the structures are completed and the acting company arrives in May. This way the space can be occupied and utilized by the actors and staff in preparation for the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts complex grand opening on July 7.

Previews of Utah Sheakespeare Festival plays will begin earlier that same week, Stavros said, and take place in the new building prior to the grand opening.

Southern Utah University is handling the opening celebration, Stavros said, adding that he wasn’t sure yet what university staff have up their sleeves but that he knew it would be a grand occasion.

“It will start on July 7,” Stavros said, “but there will be ways to celebrate all year long; we do know that.”

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