Fred Adams Honored for Service to Shakespeare Theatres Worldwide 4/24

The American Shakespeare Center today announced that it has selected Fred Adams, founder of the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, to receive the third annual Burbage Award for lifetime service to the international Shakespearean theatre community.

Adams has spent 48 years at the Utah festival as founder, producing director, and executive producer. In 2005, Adams stepped down from active company management to raise money and awareness for a planned $34 million theatre complex, the Utah Shakespearean Festival Centre for the Performing Arts.

In announcing the award, Ralph Cohen, co-founder of the ASC and Director of Mission, said, "Fred Adams has helped to make Shakespeare as American as apple pie. His joyful spirit and generous energy has made one of the great Shakespeare destinations in the world flourish in Cedar City, Utah. He's a hero to all of us who want Shakespeare in the national life."

He and his wife, Barbara, then a dean at Southern Utah University, formulated the idea to start a theatre festival that would provide an evening activity for tourists who flocked to Southern Utah's geological attractions, including Zion and Bryce Canyons. In 1962, Fred and Barbara Adams founded the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

Currently, the festival offers 10 productions including Shakespeare and contemporary plays, in a season running from June through October, attracting more than 150,000 visitors and injecting more than $64 million into its area's economy every year. In 2000, the festival received a Tony Award for America's Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Adams has directed 19 productions by Shakespeare and received awards including the Utah Theatre Association's Lifetime Service Award (2000), the Institute of Outdoor Drama's Mark R. Sumner Award (1998), and the first annual Utah Governor's Award in the Arts (1989). Adams received an M.F.A. from Brigham Young University, did doctoral work at the University of Utah and Catholic University, and received an honorary Ph.D. from Southern Utah University.

The Burbage Award is named after the famous theatrical family of James (1531-1597), Richard (1568-1619), and Cuthbert (1566-1636), actors and impresarios involved with Shakespeare's company of actors, including the opening and running of the original Blackfriars Playhouse in London. The first Burbage Award was given in 2008 to Bill Patton, for fifty years the executive director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., and the second award in 2009 went to Tina Packer, founder of Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Mass.

This year's Burbage Award will be presented at the ASC's 2010 Rough, Rude & Boisterous Benefit to be held at the Blackfriars Playhouse on Saturday, April 24, 2010. Information and tickets are available from the Blackfriars box office at 1-877-MUCH-ADO or

About the American Shakespeare Center

The American Shakespeare Center, located in Staunton, Va., recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare's theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC's Blackfriars Playhouse, the world's only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as "shamelessly entertaining" and by The Boston Globe as "phenomenal...bursting with energy." Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at

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