The fourth annual Mormon Arts Festival, scheduled March 25-28 at a variety of venues throughout St. George, will include guest appearances by LDS humorist John Bytheway, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Marvin Payne, Johanne Frechette Perry, James Arrington, visual artists Gary Smith and Dennis Smith, and others.

The festival, founded by Doug Stewart (author of "Saturday's Warrior" and founder of the Tuacahn Center for the Performing Arts in nearby Ivins), is designed to provide a forum where professionals and new artists can join together to help participants "know they can be committed Latter-day Saints as well as compete with the best artists in their field."According to Robert Paxton, the event's director, "It is our desire to encourage and assist LDS artists in the creation of a glorious body of work envisioned by our latter-day prophets."

Stewart sees the festival, which was moved this year from Tuacahn into St. George, as "eventually maturing to an event lasting several weeks, drawing patrons from around the world to enjoy a smorgasbord of artistic works created exclusively by Mormon playwrights, musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, choreographers and other media professionals."

Among this year's presentations will be a special screening of Bonneville's new feature film, "Summer of the Monkeys," based on the book by Wilson Rawls, who also wrote "Where the Red Fern Grows."

In addition to four days of performances, workshops, seminars, panel discussions and other activities, there will be fully staged productions of Marvin Payne and Guy Randle's "The PlaneMaker" (performed by Payne); Steven Kapp Perry's "Polly," starring his wife, Johanne Frechette Perry; Eric Samuelsen's new drama, "Without Romance," and Robert Paxton's new play, "What Wondrous Things," currently being performed now through March 30 in the historic St. George Pioneer Opera House.

Other highlights include a keynote address by John Bytheway ("Humor as Art: A Time for Laughter"), an address by Hatch on "LDS Art, Music, Politics & the NEA," and a video presentation by Elder Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The festival, centered around the theme, "That They Might Have Joy," will end on Saturday evening with an all-star music concert at 8 p.m. in the Dixie Center's Cox Auditorium, featuring John By-the-way, Peter Breinholt, Brett Raymond, Felicia Sorensen and Nancy Hanson, along with new works composed by Hatch and Janice Kapp Perry.

Fees and ticket prices are $70 for all four days of workshops and seminars; $45 for students or spouses; $30 each for a single-day ticket; $7 for the festival plays and dance concert; $12 for a "lunch and laughs" event, $18 for the annual recognition banquet, $4 for the screening of "Summer of the Monkeys" and $10 for the all-star concert finale.

There is also a $15 late registration fee (early registration cutoff was March 13).

To register by phone, call 1-435-634-8047. General information is also available via e-mail at ([email protected]), or the Web page site: (http://www.thewatchmen.com/ma).