Funeral announced for Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred C. Adams

Southern Utah

Utah Shakespeare Festival

CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Funeral plans for Fred C. Adams, the founder of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, has been announced.

An obituary posted for Adams, a viewing is being held on Thursday, February 13 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., and again the next morning from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Southern Utah Museum of Art in the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts.

Adam’s funeral will be held following the second viewing on Friday, February 14 at 11:00 a.m. in the Randall L. Jones Theatre.

Those attending are asked to wear something with a little sparkle to honor Adams. Donations to the Utah Shakespeare Festival is being requested in lieu of flowers. 

According to his obituary, Adams was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and a sister. He leaves behind four children, fourteen grandchildren, one great-grandchild; and “too many friends to count.” 


CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The founder of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Fred C. Adams, passed away on Thursday at the age of 89.

Adams and his late wife Barbara Gaddie Adams founded the Utah Shakespeare Festival in 1961 with just a budget of $1,000. It grew from 3,000 paid admissions in 1962 to an annual attendance today of approximately 100,000 and an annual budget of more than $8 million, according to the festival.

“The state’s most prominent arts leader, Adams made a deep and lasting impact on everyone he met, and it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our leader and friend,” stated the festival. “Words can’t express our sorrow or grief at this time.”

The Festival, considered one of the most prestigious theatres in the United States, has received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, an Emmy Award, and the Utah Best of State Award.

Utah Shakespeare Festival is expected to sell 100-000 tix_29410820

“Fred Adams was a visionary leader, one of a handful of great artistic geniuses that helped create the regional non-profit theatre movement,” added Frank Mack, executive producer. “His invention of the Utah Shakespeare Festival is a great innovation that forever changed the destiny of the state of Utah, Cedar City, and the country.”

The opening season of the festival in 1962, Adams directed all three plays: The taming of the Shrew, Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. He remained active in the leadership of the festival until he retired in 2005.

“Fred was a genius,” said Governor Gary R. Herbert. “He truly was the visionary behind the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which is beloved by both our state and our nation. Fred was one of a kind, and he will be sorely missed. We join with all Utahns in expressing condolences to his family.”

You can read more about Adams’ life and his accomplishments at bard.org.

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