FOW Annual Reports: 2010-2016

Season 13, October 2016 (Narrative) 
Season 13, October 2016 (Team Hours)

Season 12, October 2015

Season 11, October 2014

Season 10, October 2013

Season 09, October 2012
Friends of Will are volunteers who support the work of the Great River Shakespeare Festival.  Friends contribute their time and resources to sustain the high standards and beauty of the GRSF performances and programs.  All Friends of Will are GRSF ambassadors to theater patrons and the community.

The 2012 Friends of Will Steering Committee oversaw approximately 350 volunteers through a variety of projects during Season 9 from planning to the final performance and more.  Committee members were Mary Alice Anderson, Blandine Berthelot, Kris Blanchard, Ruth Charles, Tom Hoffman, Michelle Kline, Tracy Morgan, Rev. Jim Nelson, Judy Rusert, and Co-Chairs Dee Cipov and Terry Hawkings.

The Hospitality Team provided food for 8 tech week lunches and dinners plus 1 dinner during the apprentice project for a total of 17 meals and over 1040 individual meals.  Menus emphasized healthy foods, balanced meals and consideration of special dietary needs.  660 volunteer hours were contributed to complete this task plus HyVee, Midtown, and Jefferson made generous donations.

159 Front of House volunteers provided 2293 hours of valuable support to the Great River Shakespeare Festival.  The Front of House team consisted of Will Guides; Accessibility, inside, lobby, and head ushers.  63 new Front of House volunteers were trained.  Online scheduling was used almost exclusively during the season with very satisfactory results.

The Education Committee worked closely with the staff Education person to coordinate 3 successful Will Reads events.  They also continued outreach to teachers, schools, and students prior to the season with Facebook working well as a recruitment tool.  Several hours were devoted to the Shakespeare for Young Actors project.

Over 30 FOW regularly distributed brochures and rack cards to local businesses plus areas up and down the Wisconsin and Minnesota sides of the river.   Posters were distributed and prominently displayed in local and regional businesses.  Volunteers actively canvassed Lacrosse and areas in Iowa from Decorah to Des Moines.   All Southeastern Minnesota libraries were provided with brochures and posters as well as in the Eau Claire and Menomonie Wisconsin area.   Volunteers attended several local events including the Farmer’s Market, band concerts, WSU activities and area races to promote the Festival.   New to marketing this year was printing the “This Week” in the Winona Post and Rochester Post-Bulletin.

From the preview in March until the last GRSF company person left Winona for their next production, FOW “Team Chariot” transported them and visiting artists to and from area airports.

Several FOW spent regular hours assisting where needed in the costume shop before the regular season plus during preparation for the apprentice project.  9 volunteers also gave generously of their time and talent to create the GRSF quilted wall hanging which was raffled off during Callithump.

6 e-newsletters were sent out to FOW volunteers during the year and these newsletters are added to the GRSF volunteer blog 2-3 weeks after FOW receive them.  The newsletter editor has gathered and maintains a file of photos of FOW.

A core of strong volunteers moved bins loaded with living necessities into the East Lake apartments in May and moved the bins into storage in August.  All in record time thanks to the Bunge truck.

During the performances of the apprentice project, FOW sold concessions and assisted in the park lot.  FOW created a GRSF themed Christmas tree for the annual Fantasy of Trees, an event for the benefit of Winona Health Auxiliary projects.

FOW-Rochester remains active in distribution of GRSF materials and assisting in educational opportunities for Rochester patrons.  They were instrumental in promoting a bus of Rochester patrons to see a production this summer.  FOW-Rochester also helped to promote an event at the Plummer House in Rochester which featured GRSF company members.  The event was attended by many Rochester area citizens who had never attended a GRSF production.  Through regular communication and cooperation, we hope to see growth in their membership and visibility.

The FOW Steering Committee is actively working on updating the volunteer data base through the work of Terry Hawkings, Mary Alice Anderson, Jean Hayes, and Irene ErkenBrack.  As the Steering Committee wraps up the year’s evaluation, we enthusiastically look forward to the 10th Anniversary season with plans to recognize volunteers who have been active through the years.

Jane Bartz of the WOW Committee and Diane Stevens from Concerts on the Green have joined the FOW Steering Committee.  This will bring all volunteer projects under the same umbrella for better coordination and communication.

Dee Cipov has stepped down from co-chair of the Friends of Will and has worked closely with Mary Alice Anderson who will assume her responsibilities.  Mary Alice has been an active volunteer since the start of the Great River Shakespeare Festival and has volunteered on the majority of FOW projects.  Mary Alice will continue to serve on the Advancement Committee and will regularly attend GRSF Staff meetings.  Terry Hawkings will continue as Co-Chair and will also serve as a GRSF Board member and Chair of the Board’s Volunteer Committee.

Thanks to the GRSF Board, artistic and administrative staff, and the GRSF Company for their support.

Co-Chair Dee Cipov and Terry Hawkings,  October, 2012


2011 Annual Report: 400 Friends, 7000 Hours


2010 Annual Report
Friends of Will are volunteers who support the work of the Great River Shakespeare Festival. Friends contribute their time and resources to sustain the high standards and beauty of the GRSF performances and programs. All Friends of Will are GRSF ambassadors to theater patrons and the community.

The 2010 Friends of Will Steering Committee member were Mary Alice Anderson, Laura Armstrong, Blandine Berthelot, Ruth Charles, Karen Fawcett, Kathie Geiger, Michelle Kline, Jenni McHugh, Kim Mills, Tracy Morgan, Rev. Jim Nelson, Judy Rusert, Debbie Sheets, and Co-Chairs Dee Cipov and Terry Hawkings.

Over 400 volunteers worked throughout the season from production through the final performance of Season 7.

The Hospitality Team provided food for tech week snacks, tech week breakfasts, lunches, and dinners plus between five double performances on Saturdays. Menus emphasized healthy food, balanced meals, and consideration of special dietary needs. Three double performance meals were organized and provided by Central Lutheran Church, AAUW, and Bluff Country Coop. If all the meals had been only one meal, it would have fed over 1000 people.

The Front of House Team ushered and greeted during performances and special events throughout the season. Community groups also provided full evenings of ushering: Winona County Historical Society, Target, Winona Rotary Club, Merchants Bank, Wolter and Raak Ltd, and Winona Agency. Volunteer training has been strengthened, an additional team co-chair was added, usher staffs expanded, and recruitment of volunteers made more inclusive. Greeters were renamed and trained Will~Guides which added strength and visibility to those volunteers providing support and hospitality to theater patrons.

The Education Committee did a significant amount of personal outreach to teachers, schools and students prior to the season. Visiting many individual schools within a 50 miles radius, they provided flyers to English, Drama, and History teachers via both hard copy and email. Outreach was extended to middle and high school students in different ways. Some Shakespeare for Young Actors (SYA) alums did outreach at a summer camp fair in Winona in March 2010, promoting both the full season and Shakespeare for Young Actors camp. Another student took flyers for the season and SYA to the MN One Act competition to promote the school. They also used Facebook to recruit other friends and fellow high school actors to attend. The Education Committee is going strong and only getting stronger.

From the preview in March until the last GRSF company person left Winona for their next production, FOW “Team Chariot” transported them and visiting artists to area airports. Several FOW spent regular hours assisting where needed in the costume shop. FOW volunteers assisted in the GRSF Office and participated in mass mailing throughout the year. Friends assisted with the “Grill with Will” on the Green and became apprentices for the apprentices selling concessions during the apprentice performances. They organized and greeted at AfterWill parties. Over 25 FOW regularly distributed posters, brochures, and This Week at GRSF from April until the end of the season to local and area communities plus throughout the Tri-state area and beyond. Over 40 bins of essential apartment supplies were quickly moved into and out of the East Lake Apartments by the Friends of Will.

Showing great improvement this year is the FOW newsletter. Monthly letters including pictures were sent out to all volunteers enabling them to stay current with events and opportunities to become involved throughout the season.

Special activities included again staffing a table at Earth Day at Winona State University. FOW were valuable assistants in prepping, selling tickets, and serving at the GRSF Chicken Q which was co-sponsored by the Winona Veteran’s Center. FOW created a themed Christmas tree for the annual Fantasy of Trees, an event for the benefit of Winona Health Auxiliary projects.

We continue to work on expanding the role of FOW-Rochester. They have been active in distribution of GRSF materials and assisting in educational opportunities for Rochester patrons. Through regular communication and cooperation, we hope to see growth in their membership and visibility.

Our generous volunteers gave over 6,200 service hours during the past 12 months. They donated over $5,000 to meet a $5,000 anonymous match donation and these funds sponsored the Comedy of Errors performance on Sunday, July 25th. We celebrated by bringing picnic suppers to the prelude entertainment on the Green following the matinee.

In August, the Steering Committee members and GRSF office staff enjoyed a potluck dinner at the river home of Kim Mills. Since then, we have been wrapping up the year’s evaluation and enthusiastically anticipating 2011. The Steering Committee plans to expand volunteer recognition by adding a volunteer coordinator to the team. Move In/Out Committee member, Kim Mills, has asked to be replaced and the position of Managing Secretary (former recorder) needs to be filled.

The Steering Committee will continue to be led by Terry Hawkings and Dee Cipov. Terry will also serve as a GRSF Board member and Chair of the Board’s Volunteer Committee. Dee has joined the Marketing and Outreach Committee of GRSF.

Thanks to the GRSF Board, artistic and administrative staff, and GRSF Company for their support.

Co-Chairs Terry Hawkings and Dee Cipov
October 2010

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One response to “FOW Annual Reports: 2010-2016

  1. Pingback: Thank you Friends of Will for all of your contributions throughout Season 12 | Great River Shakespeare Festival Blog

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