Shakespeare Fest Brings Play With Suicide Prevention Message To Utah Public Schools

Oct 15, 2019, 10:29 AM | Updated: 10:34 am
"Every Brilliant Thing" will be performed at public schools across Utah through February 2020. (Pho...
"Every Brilliant Thing" will be performed at public schools across Utah through February 2020. (Photo: Utah Shakespeare Festival)
(Photo: Utah Shakespeare Festival)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In an effort to tackle the issue of suicide among youth, the Utah Shakespeare Festival is offering a play to every public high school and university in the state of Utah.

According to a statement from the Shakespeare Festival, the play, “Every Brilliant Thing,” by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, has a life-affirming message: Life is worth living.

The show “… is an ingenious, heartfelt, highly theatrical one-person show wherein the narrator interacts directly with the audience,” according to the statement.

It focuses on a narrator who, as a child, had a parent attempt suicide. The narrator then decides to make a list of all the things that make life worth living, starting with “ice cream” at No. 1. The list continues on to 1 million.

“This inventive, beautifully rendered theatrical experience is unique in the way the audience becomes a support community for the narrator and gains rich insights along the way about the things hiding in plain sight that make life worthwhile and wonderful,” according to the Shakespeare Festival.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who has discussed his own struggles with suicidal thoughts as a young man, said he is proud of the festival for its efforts to perform the show at public schools throughout Utah.

“Many youth today do not have adequate support structures and demand our attention and the encouragement from efforts like this,” he said. “I believe this production will save lives.”

Two separate touring companies will be taking “Every Brilliant Thing” across the state from October to February 2020, presenting more than 160 total performances to more than 75,000 students.

“Taking two tours of ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ around the state of Utah is a public service effort the Festival is proud of,” said Donn Jersey, director of development and communication. “The hope is this endeavor starts a conversation and removes the secrets that can cause suffering so healing can be a real possibility for those affected by depression and suicidal thoughts. We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors for making this dream a reality.”

"Every Brilliant Thing" will be performed at public schools across Utah through February 2020. (Photo: Utah Shakespeare Festival)

“Every Brilliant Thing” will be performed at public schools across Utah through February 2020. (Photo: Utah Shakespeare Festival)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah has the highest rate of suicide for people ages 10 – 24, and it ranks sixth highest in the nation.

“This is some of the most important work we, as a theatre company, can do,” said Frank Mack, executive producer of the Festival. “While it’s not treatment, artistic experiences that so powerfully say ‘yes’ to life can have a profound impact. When we see someone else’s story, it can help us reflect on our circumstances in completely new and different ways. When young people see, in a marvelously creative and theatrical way, one million reasons to live, it will help shed light on what’s most positive. Live theatre can do this like nothing else.”

The production will be performed at no cost to the schools, thanks to the support of the state, the Department of Heritage and Arts, the Utah Department of Arts and Museums, Rural Health Division of Southern Utah, Southern Utah University, the Ashton Family Foundation, and the Hemingway Foundation.

For showtime information and to request the show be performed at a school, go to bard.org/brillianttour-info.


KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Follow @https://twitter.com/jellis9...
Josh Ellis

South Salt Lake police searching for two accused of robbing bank, brandishing firearm

South Salt Lake police are asking the public for help in identifying two suspects officers say were involved in an aggravated bank robbery.
8 hours ago
A Utah Highway Patrol car that was hit by a speeding car. (Credit: UHP)...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Dashcam video shows distracted driver plowing into UHP patrol car, hurting trooper

New dash camera video shows the scary moments a distracted driver slammed into a Utah Highway Patrol car on I-215 Tuesday, injuring the trooper and others. 
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)...
Debbie Worthen

SLC replaces fireworks with laser light displays for July holidays

Salt Lake City residents will get a laser show instead of fireworks for the Independence and Pioneer day weekends.
1 day ago
File photo of a Unified Police Department squad vehicle. (KSL TV)...
Eliza Pace

Kearns shelter in place lifted, suspect in custody

A shelter in place has been lifted after it was issued around 7 p.m. while police searched for an armed teen.
1 day ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Memento of slain son stolen from car, heartbroken mom wants it back

The stuffed elephant, that she slept with every night, is the only toy of her son's she has left.
1 day ago
The McFarland family farm in Weber County is dealing with rising costs for fuel, chemicals and mate...
Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Weber County family farm fights through herbicide shortages, drought, rising costs

A shortage of chemicals found in herbicides is putting even more rising costs on the backs of Utah farmers, in an already difficult year.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Shakespeare Fest Brings Play With Suicide Prevention Message To Utah Public Schools