The Utah Shakespeare Festival is continuing its 50th Anniversary celebration with a film festival highlighting the Bard’s work. For six Thursdays, beginning February 24 until March 31, the Festival, in partnership with Southern Utah University’s College of Performing and Visual Arts, will show classic film versions of six Shakespeare plays at 7 p.m. at SUU’s Sharwan Smith Student Center movie theatre.
“We invite the campus and community to this free event, in which we celebrate the work of Shakespeare through the world of cinema,” said Charles Metten, the Festival’s director of the New American Playwright Project and coordinator for this event.
Metten explained that producing Shakespeare is a major undertaking for filmmakers around the world, now and over the last century as filmmaking has developed. Film can provide opportunities to explore “new interpretations, bolder treatments, and experimental methods” of storytelling.
For each film showing, local experts will host and provide context and insights and direct a question-and-answer session. Also, in connection with the Festival’s upcoming season, three of the six films to be shown are set to be performed this summer in the outdoor Adams Shakespearean Theatre: “Richard III,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
To kick off this event on February 24, the first film is the 1956 version of “Richard III” starring Sir Laurence Olivier. Michael Bahr, Festival education director, will be the host.
On March 3, enjoy the 1935 version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Max Reinhardt and starring Mickey Rooney as Puck and Olivia de Havilland as Hermia.
Fred C. Adams, Festival founder and director of this summer’s production, will host this evening.
For the following Thursday on March 10, the incredibly popular 1968 version of “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Olivia Hussey, is set to be shown. David Ivers, co-artistic director and director of this summer’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” will host.
Another Shakespeare film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, “Hamlet” (1990) starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close, will be presented on March 17. Brian Vaughn, co-artistic director, who also starred in the Festival’s 2006 production of “Hamlet,” will serve as host.
For March 24 the 1948 version of “Macbeth,” directed and starring Orson Wells, is next on the schedule. This film originated as a stage production with Roddy McDowell at the University of Utah Pioneer Memorial Theatre in the 1940s. Utah Valley University professor Chris Clark will host the evening. Clark is the director of this year’s Festival education tour of “Macbeth,” which is currently touring schools and communities throughout the region.
To conclude the film festival on March 31, be sure to catch the 1971 version of “King Lear,” directed by internationally famous Peter Brook and starring Paul Scofield. SUU theatre arts professor, Richard Bugg, will host this final evening.
The film festival takes place in the Sharwan Smith Center movie theatre on the SUU campus, beginning at 7:00 p.m. each night. Admission is free of charge and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 435-586-7880 or visit bard.org.
Tickets are on sale now for the Festival’s 50th anniversary season, which will run from June 23 to Oct. 22, 2011. The eight-play season includes Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Richard III,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “The Winter’s Tale.” The season will also include Meredith Willson’s great American musical “The Music Man,” Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off!” and the mystery thriller “Dial M for Murder” by Frederick Knott. For more information and tickets visit www.bard.org or call 1-800-PLAYTIX.
Media Contact: Kami Terry, 435-586-1970 or Marlo Ihler, 435-865-8632
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