WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
TUACAHN CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Tuacahn Center for the Arts is a non-profit 501(c)(3) arts center.
LOCATIONTuacahn Center for the Arts
1100 Tuacahn Drive
Ivins, Utah 84738
Tuacahn is located in the mouth of the Padre Canyon, adjacent to Snow Canyon State Park, in Ivins, Utah.
DESCRIPTIONThe 42,000-square-foot facility includes a 1,920-seat outdoor amphitheater, a 328-seat indoor theater (the Hafen Theater), a black box theater, a dance studio, a costume shop, a scene shop, a gift shop, and Tuacahn High School.
HISTORYTuacahn was founded by Utah playwright Doug Stewart. Partnering with philanthropist, and creator of the Franklin Planner, Hyrum W. Smith, he planned the creation of a setting where the story of the founding of southern Utah could be told. The two, using a plot of 80 acres owned by Orval Hafen, set to building this dream. Tuacahn opened in April 1995 with a dedication by Gordon B. Hinckley and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The venue presented the musical, "Utah!", a telling of Jacob Hamblin's story of the founding of southern Utah, and the peace established between the Mormon settlers and the natives in the area. The show took advantage of the amphitheatre's setting and the impressive technical aspects by recreating a flash flood on stage.
In 1999, the decision was made to switch to a so-called "Broadway in the Desert" format and away from the "heritage arts" format. The first season of this new format consisted of a double bill of "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", both of which were wildly successful with visitors from all United States and 25 other nations. It was decided that this new format would continue.
Also in 1999, Tuacahn began operation of Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts, a high school that combines a college preparatory curriculum and an arts focus in music, dance, theatre, or visual art. Through the years it has been awarded with many accolades including first place at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Over 80% of graduates from Tuacahn High continue on to earn college degrees.
In 2002, productions of "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" broke all previous box office records. This occurred again in 2003 when The "Wizard of Oz" broke all box office records at Tuacahn. In 2005, Tuacahn decided to commemorate their tenth season with "Beauty and the Beast" and a third production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". These two shows once again beat all previous ticket sales by a dramatic margin.
In 2006, MTI selected Tuacahn as one of eight regional theaters in the United States to present the first post-Broadway professional productions of "Les Misérables".
In June 2009, Tuacahn was awarded rights to present the post-Broadway regional-theatre premiere of Disney's "Tarzan". Due to this success, Disney awarded them the rights for the post-Broadway regional premiere of "The Little Mermaid".
REFERENCESWikipedia article on Tuacahn