Utah Shakespeare Festival offers Austen and Shakespeare event in SLC

By Erica Palmer

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 7 2014 12:00 p.m. MDT

Cassandra Bissell (left) as Elinor Dashwood, Eva Balistrieri as Marianne Dashwood and Kathleen Brady as Mrs. Jennings rehearse for the Utah Shakespeare Festival's 2014 production of "Sense and Sensibility." Actors from the festival's company will be in Salt Lake City on June 9 for a Q-and-A session.

Karl Hugh

The Utah Shakespeare Festival and KUED are teaming up to offer “Sense and Sensibility: An Evening of Austen and Shakespeare" on June 9.

The event, which will be held at the Salt Lake City Library, 210 E. 400 South, will allow attendees to get better acquainted with classic literature.

"Having this library event allows us to engage with Austen and Shakespeare enthusiasts in an intimate, intellectual dialogue," said Nikki Allen Koontz, media and public relations manager for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. "Participants at the event will learn about the importance of this work and the time period in which Austen lived."

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a book signing with Jennifer Adams, author of the BabyLit book series. The series consists of primer books that help introduce children to the world of classic literature, including counting primers based on “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen and “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare.

The event will continue with a Q-and-A session with Utah Shakespeare Festival actors from 7-8:30 p.m. to provide a behind-the-scenes perspective of the festival and to introduce the festival’s upcoming season, which will begin June 23 in Cedar City.

In addition to plays authored by its namesake, the Utah Shakespeare Festival will also feature a world premiere of a stage adaptation of Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” by playwrights Joe Hanreddy and J.R. Sulllivan.

Koontz said Shakespeare and Austen make a good partnership because their works examine similar themes.

"Even after hundreds of years, Shakespeare and Austen are still incredibly popular authors," she said. "They are literary geniuses writing about themes that resonate with any audience in any time period. Their stories transcend time by examining what it means to be human."

The event is free and open to the public.

For additional information about “Sense and Sensibility: An Evening of Austen and Shakespeare,” call 801-585-3523.

Visit bard.org for additional information about the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Contributing: Whitney Butters

Erica Palmer is a writer for the Mormon Times and Features department. Email: epalmer@deseretnews.com

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