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Cedar City – Dignitaries from around the state and Southern Utah University representatives broke ground last week on the on the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts.
It will serve as the home to the new Shakespeare Theatre and a new studio theatre for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, an artistic/production building for the festival, and the Southern Utah Museum of Art. It will feature a tree-lined walkway and sculpture gardens as well as large public gathering spaces.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, the Utah Shakespeare Festival revealed that the new outdoor Shakespeare Theatre would be named after the Engelstad family. The Englestad Family Foundation donated $5 million to the theater company in 2012, the largest in the its history.
The Englestad Theatre will have updated amenities and accessibility, including an elevator and increased ADA seating. It will also have a flexible roof covering for inclement weather.
The Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre was also announced during the ceremony. This new 200-seat studio will allow production of small, intimate plays.
“For a quarter of a century the dream of a Shakespeare Center has been in the planning and fundraising stage,” said festival founder Fred Adams. “The new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts will be a lasting gift to the Festival, Cedar City and Southern Utah University."
Included in the groundbreaking program was information about the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA). It will feature approximately 5,300 square feet of exhibition space composed of four galleries. SUMA will exhibit international and regional art, as well as art by SUU students and faculty.
The museum will have dedicated space for collection storage, care and research. The building design will allow visitors to witness the behind the scenes operations in the Maud Trismen Mason Collection and Conservation Studio. The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Education Suite includes 1,000 square feet and will provide classroom space for hands-on educational activities for K-12 school groups, and workspace for the SUU graduate and undergraduate students who will operate the museum.
Construction on the center is expected to begin this summer, with completion in 2016.