Mission Statement: The Utah Shakespeare Festival presents life-affirming classic and contemporary plays in repertory, with Shakespeare as our cornerstone. These plays are enhanced by interactive festival experiences which entertain, enrich, and educate.
Shakespeare is kid friendly at the Tony Award winning annual Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. We took our kids ages 3, 8, 11 to the festival, exposed them to Shakespeare, talented performers, and had a great time.
Although no kids under the age are admitted to the plays, the festival does offer a free 40 minute Greenshow each evening for any age. The Greenshow stage is small, and the audience just sits on the grass. The show consists of a handful of performers singing, dancing, telling jokes, and using the audience where appropriate. We learned that audience volunteers provide good entertainment during the “stuffed sheep” bungee toss during the performer’s Scottish performance. My 3 year old sat contently through this performance, enjoying all of the music and dancing.
I took my 8, and 11 year old kids to the 2012 production of the “Merry Wives of Windsor”. Note that the production schedule changes each year. Therefore, I won’t critique the play other than mention that it was funny and fabulous. Instead, I will say that my 8 and 11 year olds sat through the play, understood the plot, laughed at the funny parts, and had a great time.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
• State-licensed childcare for kids up to age 10 can be arranged by the festival’s guest services. This childcare is only provided during play performances, not during other festival activities. The cost for this childcare is $20 per child.
• Read the play synopsis before you attend with kids. The flowery Shakespeare language can be confusing for kids. However, if the kiddos know the plot beforehand, it’s much easier for them to follow along.
• Attend the play orientation offered immediately before each performance. This also allows kids to better follow the plot during the performance.
• If kids are new to drama, I would suggest selecting a comical play to attend, rather than an intense drama.
• Performances are outside under a partially covered circular stage and seating area. If it does heavily rain, the performance will be moved inside. If the rain only lightly sprinkles, the show will go on as is. Be sure to keep your ticket stub because there is a rain-out seat number on the stub which coincides with the indoor stage. We got rained out (which is quite rare). I was surprised how quickly everyone was able to relocate to the indoor space.
• Snacks are sold nearby, but they are expensive. I would suggest packing a few snacks to enjoy during intermission. I noticed some families with picnics during the Greenshow, which I thought was a great idea.
• Bring a jacket or sweater for everyone. Once the sun goes down, the temperatures drop.
• Matinees are offered and evening performances begin a 7pm. Note that the 7pm shows end at approximately 11pm.
I would highly recommend the Utah Shakespeare Festival to families. Attending this festival is a wonderful way to expose kids to Shakespeare, and some gifted performers.
Disclosure: Although I received complimentary play tickets, my reviews are always my own opinions and are not influenced by festival staff or affiliates.