"Tuacahn" comes from a Mayan word meaning "Canyon of the Gods." Built in the shadow of 1500-foot spectacular red rock cliffs, the Tuacahn Amphitheatre and Center for the Arts was created to awaken the nobility of the human soul and transmit light and hope to people everywhere through the arts and education.
The theater brings "Broadway in the Desert" to southern Utah! Throughout the warm months, this theatre company features Utah's finest actors (new and seasoned), in some of Broadway's greatest productions! The intimate, outdoor theatre is always enhanced by the brilliant, natural redrock backdrop. A night out at Tuacahn is a night not soon forgotten.
Orval Hafen was awestruck upon first seeing the area that is now home to the Tuacahn Center for the Arts. He and his wife, Ruth, bought an eighty-acre parcel in the box canyon and built a cabin, the remnants of which can still be seen behind the Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts. He desired that others might one day share this beauty.
Doug Stewart, noted playwright and St. George resident, shared Hafen's vision. He had been hiking through southwestern Utah in search of a suitable location for an outdoor theatre, when he spied the spot that was once Orval Hafen's cabin. The plan was more than ambitious. Stewart planned to build a 42,000 square foot facility featuring a 330 seat indoor theater, a dance studio, a black-box theater, a recital hall, a costume shop and scene shop, studios and classrooms, and a gift shop, all of which were built to complement the jewel of Tuacahn - a 1920-seat outdoor amphitheatre, which was designed as the home of the original musical Utah! The grounds were landscaped to compliment the magnificence of the surrounding canyon.
Utah! ran for four seasons and was attended by over 250,000 patrons. However, in 1999, it became clear that Tuacahn needed to shift it's strategy and pursue a new direction. Ironically, "something new" came in the form of two musicals that have been performed throughout the state for years. Instead of offering just one production for summer patrons, Tuacahn created their first "Summer Festival of Theatre," which featured a double bill of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The shows ran from mid-June to Labor Day weekend, and the amphitheatre found itself in the enviable position of dealing with huge crowds and sold-out houses. Over 100,000 people from every state in the Union and twenty-five countries attended the festival's 70 performances.
The changes at Tuacahn weren't limited to the summer shows, either. On August 22, 1999, Tuacahn began operation of the Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts. The first charter school in the state of Utah, Tuacahn High School is a fully-accredited college preparatory high school with an emphasis on singing, dancing, acting, and instrumental performance.
Today, Tuacahn continues to thrill audiences with Utah's greatest productions. New performances, actors, and surprises await theatre-goers each year.
For those who have enjoyed this facility, Tuacahn has fulfilled the vision that left Orval Hafen awestruck over a century ago. It continues to grow and to thrive, as "others share this beauty and drink of the inspiration that is here."