Fred C. Adams

From MormonWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Fred Adams.jpg

Fred C. Adams was the founder of the Utah Shakespeare Festival held on the Southern Utah University campus (formerly Southern Utah State College and College of Southern Utah) and has also served as producing director, executive producer, and director of the Festival Capital Campaign.

Adams moved to Cedar City in 1959 as an assistant professor of theatre arts, and noticed the influx of thousands of tourists each summer coming to visit the state’s national parks. He figured these numbers represented audience potential for a theatre festival. He brainstormed with his future wife, Barbara and his class thesis was the design of a summer Shakespeare festival. The festival was founded in 1961, with its first two-week season in 1962. He presented The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and The Merchant of Venice and directed all three.

The festival has grown to producing eight or nine plays over a sixteen-week season, and a touring production plays to schools throughout the West during the winter. The festival earned a Tony Award in 2000 for Outstanding Regional Theatre, equal to an Academy Award for film. The festival also was honored with the 2001 National Governors Association Award. In 2011, The festival’s fiftieth anniversary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream garnered a regional Emmy Award for a live broadcast by BYUtv (Best Special Event Coverage, Live or Edited). This was the first live broadcast of a performance in the Festival’s history. The festival has also been the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Best of State Award in arts and entertainment. Adams was named Utah’s 2003 Entrepreneur of the Year for Community Enrichment by Ernst & Young, and in 2010 received both the Utah Governor’s Award in the Humanities and the Burbage Award for a lifetime of service to the international Shakespearean theatre community.

Adams was a professor of theatre at SUU from 1959 to 1997 and was named professor emeritus upon his retirement from teaching. He retired from the leadership of the Festival in 2005. Since that time, he has kept active in a variety of activities, including directing, acting, fundraising, and coming to his office nearly every day. He sustained warm relationships with the entire staff and board and throughout the community.

He was honored for his contributions in several ways. He is the recipient of the prestigious SUU Presidential Medallion of Service (2019), Shakespeare Theatre Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), Burbage Award for Lifetime Service to the International Shakespeare Community (2010), the Utah National Guard Bronze Minuteman Award (2010), the Governor’s Award from the Utah Humanities Council (2010), the Pioneer of Progress Award for the Days of ’47 in Salt Lake City (2005), the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2003), the Utah Theatre Association’s Lifetime Service Award (2000), an honorary doctorate degree from Southern Utah University (1999), the Institute of Outdoor Drama’s Mark R. Sumner Award (1998), Brigham Young University's Distinguished Service Award (1995), Geneva Steel's Modern Pioneer Award (1994), the Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce Arts Contribution Award (1992), Southern Utah University's Outstanding Alumni Award (1991), the Citizen Meritorious Service Award from the American Parks and Recreation Society (1991), Utah Business Magazine’s Outstanding Business Leader recognition (1989), the First Annual Governor's Award in the Arts (1989), and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Brigham Young University (1984 and 1987). He was also honored to carry the Olympic flame in Cedar City during the 2002 Winter Olympic Torch Relay.

Adams was born in Cedar City, Utah on January 30, 1931, and moved with his family to Delta, Utah, where he graduated from Delta High School. He served in the United States Army (NSA) during the Korean War from 1952 to 1954, stationed in Washington, D.C., and served a three-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Finland from 1955 to 1957.

He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Brigham Young University in theatre arts and Russian. He did his pre-doctoral studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and the University of Utah.

Adams was the father of four children.

He passed away on February 6, 2020. His wife, Barbara preceded him in death.