Hill Cumorah Pageant to Take a Final Bow in 2020—Here’s What to Expect from Other Productions

Contributed By Aubrey Eyre, Church News contributor

  • 1 November 2018

Cast members fill the stage and the grassy area in front while singing “I know He lives!” during the finale of the Mesa Easter Pageant.  Photo by Scott P. Adair.

Article Highlights

  • The Hill Cumorah Pageant will close after its summer 2020 production.
  • The Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah, will no longer be directly supported by the Church after 2019.
  • No changes are expected for the Mesa Easter Pageant, after its temporary suspension, or the Nauvoo pageants.

The Church’s Saturday, October 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 include the following:

  • 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 the 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 and 2017 and is likely to be held 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.

President Milt Olsen, president of the Manti Utah Stake, told the Deseret News that while the Church’s direct support will no longer continue after the Mormon Miracle Pageant’s 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 October 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 October 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.

Performers on stage at the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Utah. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

The Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York.

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. Photo by Savannah Hopkinson.