David Ivers, artistic director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival since 2011, announced recently that he will leave the festival later this month to accept the role of artistic director at another regional theater.
Ivers described his departure as bittersweet.
“I have so many memories and inspiring events associated with the Utah Shakespeare Festival that I’ll remain forever grateful to the artists, staff, and guests that make the festival what it is,” he said. “Everything I know about cultural literacy, everything I know about challenges and rising above them, everything I know about incredible work on incredible stages, I learned at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.”
Ivers did not say which theater he is headed to but said that leaving was right for him professionally as well as for his family.
“This new position is a thrilling professional opportunity, and it dovetails with the needs of my family,” he said. “I am eager to embark on this next adventure, even as I say goodbye to this amazing theatre and company of gifted and dedicated artists and staff.”
Ivers will help in welcoming the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2017 company to Cedar City this week before departing May 16. He will return to Cedar City to direct the world premiere of “How to Fight Loneliness,” opening Aug. 26.
“David has significantly influenced the development, growth, and progress of the festival as an actor, artistic director, and innovator,” said Jeffery R. Nelson, president of the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s board. “We will always be grateful for his energy, passion, and many contributions, and we wish him and his family nothing but success in his new role.”
Ivers acted and directed at the festival since 1992. He was hired as co-artistic director along with Brian Vaughn in January 2011. Festival founder Fred C. Adams has worked with Ivers throughout that time.
“David has been a much-loved talent here at the Utah Shakespeare Festival,” Adams said. “Under his co-leadership with Brian Vaughn, the festival has accomplished remarkable things. Of course, we will miss him and hope to get him back to act or direct festival productions when his schedule allows. We will always consider him a valued member of the festival family.”
Co-artistic leader Brian Vaughn has worked with Ivers at the festival on a nearly daily basis for over six years and was quick to point out the many changes in that time.
“David and I started our leadership tenure at this organization over six years ago,” he said. “It is amazing to think of the things that have happened in that time: a new brand, a new logo, the 50-year anniversary celebration, building new theatres, the Complete the Canon initiative, and the new play program Words Cubed. I will cherish our shared artistic learning and growth. He is a dear friend and will be greatly missed.”
“While we will miss David, we are grateful for his passion for great theatre, his dedication to our art, and the artistic leadership he and Brian have given over the past years,” added Zachary Murray, interim executive director. “I am grateful for his work and know any organization will be lucky to have him.”
Tickets are now on sale for the festival’s 56th season, which will run from June 29 to Oct. 21. In addition to “How to Fight Loneliness,” this year’s plays are “Romeo and Juliet,” “As You Like It,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Guys and Dolls,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Treasure Island,” “The Tavern,” and “William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged).” More information and tickets are available at bard.org or by calling 1-800-PLAYTIX.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts at Southern Utah University, which also includes the Southern Utah Museum of Art.