Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred C. Adams dies at 89

Fred C. Adams (1931-2020). Photo: www.bard.org

CEDAR CITY, Utah, Feb. 6, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred C. Adams died Thursday, nearly six decades after he created the Cedar City Festival with a $1,000 budget.

“It is with deep sadness that the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University share the news that Fred C. Adams, founder of the Festival, passed away early today in Cedar City, Utah,” says a statement released Thursday by 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. Words can’t express our sorrow or grief at this time.”

The announcement continued with tributes.

“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.”

This photo 1970s-era shows Fred C. Adams and his wife, Barbara Gaddie Adams, in the then-new Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre. Photo: www.bard.org

Festival executive producer Frank Mack also paid tribute.

“Fred Adams was a visionary leader, one of a handful of great artistic geniuses that helped create the regional non-profit theatre movement,” Mack said in the prepared statement.

“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. I got to know Fred not only as a mentor and an organizational leader, but as a friend who I’ll miss profoundly.”

Adams founded the Utah Shakespeare Festival in 1961 with his late wife Barbara Gaddie Adams, and served as its leader until his retirement in 2005.

Evan J. Vickers, Utah Senate majority leader, also shared a tribute.

“Fred Adams is a true hero, not only to me personally but to the state of Utah as a whole,” he said. “”He has done the work of ten men and managed to accomplish it in just one lifetime. We are all indebted to him for the amazing things he has done for us. He will truly be missed, but his memory and legacy will last forever.”

The family has not yet announced funeral plans. A celebration of his life will be scheduled for sometime in the near future. Adams wishes were that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Utah Shakespeare Festival.


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