In the forty-eight year history of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, we have offered over 245 different productions representing roughly 7,024 performances with attendance of over 3.7 million. That is a lot of people to inspire, challenge, make laugh, and excite to return year after year. But that is exactly why we do what we do, to make a difference in your lives and in all our neighborhoods and cities. That difference can be inspiring, challenging, entertaining, exciting, or—well, the list goes on and on.
Theatre makes this difference, first, by fostering connections between artists and audiences. The experience of going to see live productions is one where both the audience and the performer work together. The performer must be ready to deliver, and the audience must be ready to receive, offering feedback through laughter, applause, deep thought, and perhaps tears. When a true connection occurs, there is nothing more fulfilling than live theatre. Then, if both artists and audiences have been successful, connections are made between audience members and their family and neighbors, between one human being and another, connecting through ideas, emotions, thought, and entertainment.
Attending the theatre now, more than ever, is your opportunity to stay connected to those elements in your life that are real and lasting: your time spent with family and friends in enjoyable activity, re-discovering what it is about you that is of value, and connecting to the foundations of your own personality while watching the struggles, challenges, and joys of characters throughout history. Theatre can inspire us to excel. Theatre can make us come alive. It is an investment in ourselves and in others who feel as we do. If we experience great works of literature, we can learn and find ways to solve issues that face us today. Finally, laughter and quality performance can be a great healer. Escape and find the passion that is in you, and you will likely find that large ideas and complicated human issues are worth exploring.
As you watch our productions this season, I hope you will look deep into the characters of these plays and find out what motivates them to act as they do. Whether it is for good or bad, it is important that we look at them through our own lens. Ask the tough questions about them, and you will find positive, real and exciting new avenues for yourself.
I invite you to experience the magic of live theatre with us again for the forty-eighth time or for the first time. The Utah Shakespeare Festival can give you a vacation experience, which will last a lifetime. I look forward to seeing you this season.