Utah Shakespeare Festival's 'Shakespeare-in-the-Schools' Stages MACBETH; Public Performance Set for Today

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is once again hitting the road with its Shakespeare-in-the-Schools touring production -- this year performing the classic tragedy, Macbeth.

To kickoff the tour, the play will be performed for the public in the Auditorium Theatre at Southern Utah University tonight, January 21 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5 for general admission and may be obtained by calling the Festival's ticket office at 1-800-PLAYTIX or 435-586-7878.

From January to April, the Festival will take its production of Macbeth to more than 25,000 students in five western states. The tour will spend 14 weeks on the road visiting schools, community centers, and correctional facilities across Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Arizona with over 65 performances for 120 schools. Directing this year is Quinn Mattfeld, who has been as an actor on the Festival's stages for many seasons and directed last year's New American Playwright Project play, Breakout.

In its 17th year, this educational outreach program features a 75-minute version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, including complete costumes, sets, and theatrical lighting. Also included is a fifteen-minute post-show discussion with the actors and optional workshops in Stage Combat, Performing Shakespeare's Text, Technical Theatre and Developing Character through Improvisation.

"This is a play about a man who walks into the darkness and becomes it," said Mattfeld. "We all fear that the mistakes we make in our lives will come back to haunt us. For Macbeth and his wife, the haunting is literal."

When asked why perform Macbeth Mattfled said, "there is so much room for storytelling, I am interested in doing a theatrically dynamic production, that immediately engages the audience's imagination."

Scenic Designer and Props Director Ben Hohman was inspired by images of black and white birch trees for the set, which will create an eerie ambience for this play. Costume Designer Christina Leinicke is exploring the concept of light verses dark in the costumes, as well as incorporating images of the Three Fates into the witch's costume. Actors off stage will be creating the percussive scoring themselves as part of transitions, dramatic punctuations and the necessary sound effects.

Ten professionals from all over the country are coming together to bring this production to students. The company consists of seven actors, a company manager, a stage manager, and a technical director.

In addition to support from the Shakespeare for a New Generation program which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, this tour's school performance partners are the Utah State Office of Education: Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools, Mountain West Small Business Finance, Ally Bank, and UBS Bank. Mountain America Credit Union is serving as the community performance sponsor.

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