Hill Cumorah pageant to take a final bow in 2020 — here's what to expect from other productions

The Church's Saturday, Oct. 27 statement on pageant productions explains that while “local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate” to celebrate and spread the gospel message, “larger productions, such as pageants, are discouraged.”

It continued: “As it relates to existing pageants, conversations with local Church and community leaders are underway to appropriately end, modify or continue these productions.”

Pageants currently produced by the Church:

The Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah, is held annually in June.The Castle Valley Pageant in Castle Dale, Utah, is held every other year on even-numbered years.The Clarkston Pageant — subtitled "Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew" — in Clarkston, Utah, is held every other year on odd-numbered years.The Mesa Easter Pageant in Mesa, Arizona, is held annually in the spring prior to Easter.The Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York is held annually in July.A pair of Nauvoo pageants — featuring early Church history in both the United States and British Isles, conducted on alternating evenings — in Nauvoo, Illinois, are held annually between July and August.The British Pageant in Chorley, England, was held in 2013, 2017 and will likely be held again in 2021.

Of the aforementioned seven pageants, two have announced official changes. The Hill Cumorah Pageant will be discontinued entirely following its 2020 summer production. Additionally, the Mormon Miracle Pageant will no longer be directly supported by the Church after its 2019 run.

Children from around San Pete county, Utah come to the Manti Utah Temple grounds early on June 21 to
Children from around Sanpete County, Utah come to the Manti Utah Temple grounds early on June 21 to clean up any leftover trash from the Mormon Miracle Pageant. | Savannah Hopkinson

President Mark Olson, president of the Manti Utah Stake, told the Deseret News that while the Church's direct support will no longer continue after its 2019 run, he believes local efforts by the community will be made to help a similar pageant continue in future years.

Due to renovations of the Mesa Arizona Temple and temple grounds, the Mesa Easter Pageant has been temporarily suspended. It is expected to resume production in 2021 following the completion of the temple renovations, with public renderings showing a pageant stage and seating accommodations.

In a statement released following the Church’s announcement on Oct. 27, John Ricks, president of the Nauvoo Pageants, indicated that no changes are anticipated for the Nauvoo pageants. The two "will continue in the future the same as it has in the past, being fully supported and funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said President Ricks in his statement.

Changes to the other pageants have not yet been announced.

In its Oct. 27 statement, the Church also acknowledged the impact of its growth globally. "As this occurs, local Church leaders and members are encouraged to focus on gospel learning in their homes and to participate in Sabbath worship and the Church’s supporting programs for children, youth, individuals and families.”

The statement aligns with other changes announced throughout 2018 that show an effort to simplify and reduce Church programs.

“The goal of every activity in the Church should be to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to share His gospel message throughout the world,” the statement concluded.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the British Pageant in Chorley, England was held annually. It has been held twice since its inception, once in 2013 and once in 2017.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified John Ricks as president of the Nauvoo Illinois Stake. Ricks is president of the Nauvoo Pageants.

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