The annual Utah Shakespearean Festival Production Conference will be held March 15-20 on the Southern Utah State College campus.
Producers, directors, designers and performers for the 1989 season will converge on Cedar City from locations across the United States to finalize plans for the summer."The importance of this conference cannot be stressed too much," said director R. Scott Phillips. "The plays and events we present during the festival season take tremendous planning and coordination. Most of our patrons aren't aware that it takes more than a year of planning to do what they see in six or seven weeks."
At an earlier design conference in Los Angeles, Phillips continued, directors discussed their initial ideas for the 1989 plays with the design staff. The designers then developed preliminary sketches for sets, costumes, lighting, sound, music and choreography.
The March production conference allows directors and designers to refine their plans for each play, explained Phillips. The directors' ideas are shared with the entire staff, and festival producers make certain the mechanics of the season are coordinated.
"Working in repertory presents special problems," he added. "People can get in each others' way. Costume fittings for one play might conflict with rehearsals for another, and sets for one play need to rotate with sets for the others. We plan very carefully to make sure that doesn't happen."
Approximately 90 percent of the acting troupe has already been hired. Some have already been cast in certain roles. The remaining performers are hired, and casting is completed at the conference. Some performers will have roles in both theaters, and some will alternate plays with Greenshow or Feaste assignments. These decisions will be made at this week's conference.
"This year's planning is even more crucial than ever," Phillips noted. "We are producing six plays instead of three and we are opening a brand new theater, along with our regular schedule of Greenshows, Royal Teas and Feastes."
"But as in other years," he concluded, "the overriding goals of the conference are to visualize the entire season and to ensure that everything that happens supports the basic goals and philosophy of the Festival."