Utah Valley University professor to be literary seminar director at Utah Shakespeare Festival
University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 | LShumway@uvu.edu
Written by: Barbara Christiansen | 801-863-8208 | BarbaraC@uvu.edu
Utah Valley University professor of English and literature Kate McPherson has been named the literary seminar director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer.
“I will be leading all of the play seminars in the month of July,” she said. “We have discussions of the plays with patrons the morning after the play. My job is to answer their questions, stimulate discussion, help bring them to an understanding of the production process. That includes the director’s vision and interpretive choices by the actors.”
In addition, the discussions may address the use of costumes, the set design and music, and how they affect the overall performances.
Along with leading those discussions, McPherson is in charge of getting other experts on Shakespeare to fill in later in the season, after classes have begun at universities. “Many of the people who are qualified for this position are academics who will be back at their institutions,” she said.
One individual she has already recruited is Kate Moncrief, professor and chair of the English Department of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. The two have had a shared love for Shakespeare and have worked together through the years. They are co-editors of “Shakespeare’s Life and Times,” Internet Shakespeare editions.
McPherson will head to Cedar City for the festival for the first play, which opens June 29. During her time there, the festival will present “Romeo and Juliet,” “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” “As You Like It,” all written by William Shakespeare. Additional performances will be the regional premiere of “Shakespeare in Love” by Tom Stoppard, “Guys and Dolls” and “Treasure Island.”
While McPherson is an expert on all things Shakespeare, she doesn’t have the same background on the others.
“I have to bone up a little on ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘Treasure Island,’” she said. But her projects won’t stop there. She plans on seeing each show three or four times in the first couple of weeks so she can better address the aspects of the individual production.
McPherson is looking forward to immersing herself in the festival.
“I feel like Shakespeare offers an amazing opportunity for people to engage their creativity as artists and as viewers,” she said.