Philip Margetts

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Philip Margetts was born in Kineton England on February 10, 1829. He is considered one of Utah's most important members of the theatrical community from 1850 until his death in 1914. When he was twelve, Philip and his family met Mormon missionaries and were baptized.

Philip Margetts
A month before his 21st birthday, Philip sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans on the Argo, and joined an ox train of Mormons at St Louis along with his mother, two brothers, and sister. On November 5, 1850, shortly after his arrival in Salt Lake City, he married Elizabeth Bakeman, daughter of a train captain. The couple had fourteen children: Philip Henry; Elizabeth M. Rudd; Parthenia M. Mulhall; Vilate, who died in infancy; George Bateman; Frederick Bateman; Julia Ann, who also died as an infant; Charles Pauncefort; David; Lottie, who died as an infant; Nellie, who died just before her fourth birthday; Minnie Isabelle Ross; Albert Edward; and Richard Bishop, who died at the age of eleven.

Philip was a member of the cast of the first play presented in the Old Bowery, which was the first structure in Utah territory to be identified as a real theatre. Some consider him to be the first main Mormon actor. His success in organizing the Mechanics’ Dramatic Association so impressed President Brigham Young that he made immediate plans for the construction of the Salt Lake Theatre. Philip became an outstanding figure in dramatics in Utah, performing leading roles in many plays, six nights a week for fifty years.

Always a dedicated Church member, he was one of the seventy missionaries sent by President Young from Utah to Florence, Nebraska to prove the efficacy of his handcart experiment. Without women or children, they made the trip in 48 days. Philip returned to London from Florence to proselyte from 1857-1858.

Margetts died, revered and respected, on September 1, 1914.

Named after this influential actor, the Philip Margetts Arena Theatre is located in the Harris Fine Arts Center and gives the director the flexibility of audience placement as well as actor placement. The seating may be arranged in any part of the theatre and in any relationship to the acting area as the director desires, thus allowing the director control of the audience-actor relationship.

The theatre, 30 feet by 50 feet, seats 125 people.


  • Special Program for Naming of Areas, Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center. Tuesday, November 23, 1965 at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.
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