The Cathedral of the Madeleine, 331 E. South Temple, is sponsoring its second annual Madeleine Festival of the Arts and Humanities, a month-and-a-half-long series of music, drama and other arts. The festival begins March 31 and continues through May 14.

According to Matthew Knip, cathedral organist and publicist for the festival, the Arts and Humanities Committee is "committed to re-introduce the traditional role of cathedrals as educational, intellectual and artistic centers for the community.""The cathedral is a unique architectural and aesthetic setting, and is already being used by many community groups for concerts, lectures and other events," said Knip. "Our festival is an attempt to provide the Salt Lake community with cultural events that are consistent with the cultural tradition of cathedrals."

Opening the festival will be five performances of "Sister Beatrice - A Miracle Play," adapted and staged by Salt Lake playwright Robert Bruce Smith from a play by Maurice Maeterlinck.

The story, taken from an English legend originally based on a Dutch folk story, takes place during the 13th century in France. It concerns a young nun who leaves the convent, strays from virtue and returns to the cloister to seek spiritual refuge and salvation. Within the tale are elements touching upon the miraculous. The festival's presentation has been designed to challenge the audience to join in the mystery and discovery.

The cast includes Mary Jane Palm, Mary Amanda Fairchild, M. Theresa Rockwell, Brenda Bensch, Stu Falconer, Moyne Sheeran, Skip Francone, Michele Bonacci and Linda Brimmer.

Performances will be Friday, March 31; Saturday, April 1; Sunday, April 2, and April 7-8 at 7:30 p.m. in the cathedral's social hall.

The play will utilize authentic period costuming and sets.

Knip notes that "Medieval drama flourished around cathedrals. It is therefore highly appropriate for players and audiences at the Cathedral of the Madeleine."

Other events (all at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted) during the Madeleine Festival of the Arts and Humanities include:

-APRIL 9: "The American Cathedral: A Union of Two World-Views," a lecture by Dr. Martin Larrey, vice president for academic affairs at Ursuline College in Ohio, dealing with the social history of American cathedrals and an analysis of modern cathedral styles and their underlying liturgical principles.

-APRIL 15: "The Christian Cathedral As a Work of Art," a slide lecture by Dr. Mary Francey, assistant professor of art at the University of Utah.

-APRIL 16: "Songs of the Easter Season," a concert by the Jay Welch Chorale, including works by Victoria, Bach, Handel, Brahms and Verdi.

-APRIL 21-22: "The Great Stage of the World," a Spanish liturgical drama produced and performed jointly by members of the University of Utah theater and Spanish departments. Pedro Calderon de la Barca's drama, "El Gran Teatro del Mundo," was originally written for the feast of Corpus Christi about the year 1633. The allegorical play portrays human existence as a theatrical production in which God, as author/director, appoints a specific role to each of the "actors," and rewards them according to their performances. Those who have played their parts well are invited to share in the eucharistic feast of the Kingdom of God.

-APRIL 23: The Madeleine Award Dinner at the New Yorker Club. The first annual Madeleine Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts and Humanities will be presented. Advance tickets are available from the cathedral rectory office, 328-8941.

-APRIL 30: "Willa Cather's New World Divine Comedy," a lecture by Dr. John Murphy, professor of English at Brigham Young University, who will focus on the writings of the 20th century author, noteworthy for reflecting medieval cosmology and the great themes of Dante's canticles.

-MAY 7: "Music for a Great Space," a concert by the Salt Lake Vocal Ensemble. The program will feature Victoria's "Missa Ascendens Christus," a piece resounding with "alleluias" proclaiming the Easter message. Works by LeJeune, Janequin and Durufle will also be included.

-MAY 14: Vivaldi's "Gloria," performed by the Choir of the Cathedral of the Madeleine and members of the Utah Symphony, directed by Mark Pearce. In addition to the Vivaldi work, considered his most sacred, there will also be works by Palestrina, Byrd and Faure, and organ selections by Lubeck and Mendelssohn, performed by Knip. The concert is being cosponsored by the Salt Lake City Arts Council.