CEDAR CITY — The National Endowment for the Arts awarded 12 Utah groups over $1 million in funding, with the Utah Shakespeare Festival receiving $35,000 for its production of William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV Part Two.”
NEA awarded 1,023 grants totaling $74,326,900 to nonprofit arts organizations in all 50 states plus five U.S. jurisdictions.
“The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States,” Jane Chu, NEA chairman, said. “Funding these new projects represents a significant investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”
In an effort to explore and exemplify all of William Shakespeare’s works, “Complete the Canon” was launched in 2011 by the festival. Within the Complete the Canon project sits an additional undertaking to produce all of Shakespeare’s history plays in chronological order.
Beginning with “King John,” the history cycle will play out over the course of several seasons, concluding with “Henry VIII.” Currently three plays into the cycle, the 2015 offering will be “Henry IV Part Two;” a play produced only once within the festival’s 53-year history.
“The generous support we received from the NEA makes such initiatives possible,” Brian Vaughn, festival artistic director, said. “As we continue to bring the work of William Shakespeare to the forefront of the world’s ever-expanding entertainment options, it is crucial that our commitment to classical theatre continues to be enriched by such important programs.”
“Henry IV Part Two” is the second installment in the three-play trilogy that is being produced throughout a three-season period, using a select group artists and designers. The festival has created elements of consistency within each production to further establish a common thread from one show to the next. Performances will be accompanied by discussion events produced by the theater’s education department.
“It is important to present Shakespeare’s theatrical chronicle of England and its kings in order,” Vaughn said. “It’s a big family drama that spans a long length of time. Telling the stories in order gives familiarity to audience members and helps people stay connected to these characters and their journeys. Presenting Shakespeare’s less frequently produced plays is the festival’s purpose with this charge: to reveal to the audience the scope and power of these magnificent works, that currently sit on the periphery of public awareness.”
Tickets are on sale for the festival’s 54th season, which will run from June 25 to October 31. The eight-play season includes Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Henry IV Part Two” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” The season will also include Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” “Charley’s Aunt” by Brandon Thomas and Steven Dietz’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”
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