Letter: Utah Shakespeare Festival sells out to popular culture

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Michael Doherty plays Dromio of Syracuse in "The Comedy of Errors" at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

How tragic that the Utah Shakespeare Festival has sold out to cultural politics of the day (The Tribune, July 11). In sending their message that the festival is under new management with a new vision since the death of founder Fred Adams, current leadership betrays the organization’s origin, history and future, by apologizing for assumed acts of exclusion and discrimination, and committing to societal equity moving forward.

In his day, William Shakespeare secured popularity and patronage by writing against popular culture and politics -- not pandering to them. Nearly 500 years later, that wisdom seems to be of little interest to the festival as it strives to erase its unique character as a leader in legitimate theater and re-create itself into yet another indistinguishable follower of the crowd, with everything from programming and casting to production and direction being politically and culturally co-opted.

As it does so, it will be without the largesse of those who enthusiastically built and sustained it for 60 years -- patrons and donors who do not deserve to be hit over the head with a club of guilt wielded from atop a moral high horse for sins they did not commit.

Mark Edwards, Salt Lake City

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