Front Row Reviewers

Jul 30, 2020 | Events, Extras, Interviews, Iron County, Utah

Utah Shakespeare Festival Summer Seminar Series Presents Dramaturgy and Creative Shakespeare Investigation

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

By Samantha Baird

The Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, UT is back with their virtual weekly production seminars. This week’s production seminar takes a look at the role of dramaturgs in theatre and particularly in Shakespeare productions. These seminars stream live on Facebook and will continue to be available on Facebook and their website afterwards.

Moderators Brian Vaughn and Michael Bahr lead the discussion with dramaturgs Lezlie Cross and Isabel Smith-Bernstein. As many readers may be wondering, the first question Vaughn and Bahr ask the dramaturgs is “What is dramaturgy?” As a dramaturg myself, I loved Cross’s answer that there really is no answer because there are so many different answers depending on the project. Smith-Bernstein elaborates that, while this is true, a dramaturg is a facilitator of discussion between many different points. These points can be audience to production, director to designers, actors to director, etc. Cross and Smith-Bernstein go on to explain that particularly with Shakespeare productions they work a lot with research, reading many translations and publications of the scripts, and working with the director to help them achieve the concept that they have envisioned for their production.

The next question is, “What are the first steps when working on a Shakespeare play?” Smith-Bernstein says that everything is rooted in the text, so her first step will always be reading the script and then talking to the director to learn about their concept for the production, such as if a director chooses to place Julius Caesar in space. On the contrary, Cross states that she will speak with the director first because that will affect how she reads the script; the director’s new lens may open her eyes to what she would not have seen before.  She then says something that will probably stick with me for a while: “All 21st Century productions of Shakespeare are adaptations.”

Two final interesting questions that are asked are, “What would be the ideal process for the dramaturg?” and “How has the role of dramaturgy changed over the past 20 years?” Cross shares that the ideal process would be when the dramaturg is embraced as a creative collaborator and when they are invited into the process early on. She states that dramaturgs process, people, the environment, and the production. This processing cannot happen if dramaturgs are forgotten until later on in the process. As far as the role changing, it is discussed that dramaturgs have always been in the room, however it has only been in the last 20 years that “dramaturgy” has been institutionalized as a named role and a field of study. When going to school for her undergrad, Cross didn’t have the option to do a dramaturgy program, and Smith-Bernstein was only in the 4th graduating class in dramaturgy at her school.

Of course, you can’t close a Utah Shakespeare Festival seminar with dramaturgs without addressing “the” question: “Who wrote Shakespeare?” Both dramaturgs answered the same way: Does it matter? Does it change the plays for us? Both see Shakespeare as a collaborator who wrote his plays with the help of the actors and other theatrical collaborators. Dramaturgy is such an underrated field; watching this seminar made my dramaturg heart happy. If you don’t know what dramaturgy is, then watch this seminar to learn about it; and if you do know what it is, try to see if you can learn something new!

Utah Shakespeare Festival Summer Seminar Series presents Dramaturgy and Creative Shakespeare Investigation

Utah Shakespeare Festival, 351 W Center St, Cedar City, UT 84720

Live Facebook Seminars on Thursday and Friday, and streaming on their Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

Utah Shakespeare Festival Facebook Page

Previous & Upcoming Events:


  • July 9, 10:00 AM: Suiting the Action to the Word: Investigating Hamlet
    With Brian Vaughn, Quinn Mattfeld, Danforth Comins, Junior Nyong’o
  • July 16, 10:00 AM: Every Brilliant Thing—Production, Process, and Tour
    With Vincent Cardinal, Michael Doherty, Jeremy Thompson, Kat Lee, Cordell Cole, Samae Allred
  • July 23, 10:00 AM: Canon Fodder: An Actor’s Reflections on Performing All of Shakespeare’s Works With René Thornton Jr.
In – app functionality will attract attention : Facebook, according to us and most of the world, will always remain on view here now purchase generic viagra top when we talk about in – app functionality. Or one can opt levitra online for the injections. Inlife also has a product by the brand Inlife journey coffee with Acai and Goji berries which purchase levitra they aver is a juicy blend of the world’s a large amount intense antioxidants.Antioxidants have been set up to defend the body hostile to life stresses and can also avert cell oxidation. As men age, male sex, with the aging of reproductive organs and levitra online cures low sperm count and semen volume.


  • July 10, 1:00 PM: The Props Treasure Trove. A Peek into the Festival’s Prop Warehouse With Properties Director Benjamin Hohman
  • July 17, 1:00 PM.: The Technical Director’s Approach to Scenic Design
    With Scenery Director Dan Giedeman
  • July 24, 1:00 PM: Cue 1, Go!: Stage Management at the Utah Shakespeare Festival with Tanya J. Searle
  • July 31, 1:00 PM: The Magic Makers—A Conversation with the Festival Production Staff
Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code