Preview Week, Shakespeare for Young Actors 1

Preview Performances
Season 15 opens June 22 with a preview performance of Shakespeare in Love. Previews continue through June 28 and a wonderful opportunity for FOW to get an early start and spread the word to friends and family. All performances are Pay what you Will. More information.

Shakespeare for Young Actors  GRSF Managing Director   is asking the Friends of Will to help spread the word to friends and family that there is room in the Shakespeare for Young Actors 1 workshop.   SYA- 1 is for first-time Shakespeare students from those entering 7th grade through those who have recently graduated high school. The two-week program is July 17 – 29. Classes are Tuesdays – Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.   A final public presentation os Sunday, July 29, 7 p.m. Tuition is $350 with scholarship money available. Aaron said d his daughter took the class last year. Loved it. Students have a great time in class, they form great relationships, AND get unlimited free admission to the festival performances from the start of classes through the end of the festival.   The instructors this year are Benjamin Boucvalt and his wife Valerie. Both are excellent instructors who fully understand both the theater and the film industry and are expert in connecting kids with this art form and helping them learn more about themselves in the process. Registration and more information is available at




Help Build a Doublet a Day: June news for Friends of Will

The GRSF company and staff are in high gear getting ready for an exciting season.  Friends of Will can help in many ways.

Help the costume shop build a doublet a day!

Costume shop supervisor Stephanie Jones said We can use all the help we can get this year. Starting Thursday, May 31. With 4 shows opening before the end of June, the needs are enormous! Things you may be asked to do . . .
– Hand sewing, snaps, buttons, and labels, trim.
– Alterations or sewing a costume if you are comfortable with a sewing machine
– Painting, jewelry making
Shop hours: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm. Tuesday – Saturday.  New  location: WSU Performing Arts Center, Room 124. Please park in the purple lot east of the Performing Arts Center. (Summer patron parking lot). Just drop by to offer your help Stephanie Jones, the shop supervisor will help you get started.

Tech Week Meals

Hops3Hospitality team chairs, Jim and Karin Worthley, along with assistance from Company Manager Victoria Esquibell have planned another series of delicious tech week meals. If you have not helped in the past but would like to help this season contact (Ph: 507-474-4360) for details about specific needs, amounts and dietary restrictions.

Shakespeare in Love
Sat, 6/9: 4:00-6:00 pm (Taco & Taco Salad bar)
Sun, 6/10: 4:00-6:00 pm (Pulled Pork sandwiches)
Tues, 6/12: 4:00-6:00 pm (Noodle, Rice, Grain Bowls)

Midsummer Night’s Dream
Thurs, 6/14: 4:00-6:00 pm (Taco &Taco Salad bar!
Friday 6/15: 4:00-6:00 pm (Baked Potato Bar & more)
Sat, 6/16: 4:00-6:00 pm (Picnic Time – Brats, etc.)

All’s Well That Ends Well
Tues, 6/19: 4:00-6:00 pm (Late Brunch)
Wed, 6/20: 4:00-6:00 pm (Noodle, Rice, Grain Bowls)
Thurs, 6/2: 4:00-6:00 pm (Pot Luck)

Usher and Ticket Taker Training

Thursday June 14 – 6:30 pm
OR Friday June 15 – 1:30 pm
WSU Performing Arts Center, Room 224

Training is highly recommended for new Front of House volunteers
or for or those Beccwho have not ushered during the past year. Others are encouraged to attend as there are some changes and new guidelines are in place.
Pre Registration
is appreciated!
Many Front of House positions are unfilled, especially in July.  Becca Borchardt, Front of House manager will provide training.

Exciting and new!

  • Banners and signs throughout the campus featuring the new logo
  • A satellite box office and gift shop with many new items at the Winona Visitor Center on Huff Street starting June 1. The downtown box office and Performing Arts Center box office before performances remains open. (PAC office open 90 minutes prior to performances.)
  • Pay what you will previews are June 22-28. Bring your friends; help spread the word. There are two preview performances for each show.
  • Music and food on the green before every performance
  • There are 23 dual performance times (performance in both the Dorothy Magnus Black Box Theater and Vivian Fusillo Main Stage Theater.)   This means more volunteer opportunities for Friends of Will. Front of House Volunteer openings
  • Be watching for some fun public advertising!



Welcome to Season 15

The Friends of Will team leaders are thrilled to be working with our many dedicated volunteers and especially want to welcome new Friends of Will.  Team leaders are busy behind the scenes preparing for this special anniversary season. The Early House chair found homes for 14 people and two cats with welcoming volunteer hosts.  The Move in team will soon be delivering housing supplies to the East Lake apartments;; Team Chariot people will be picking up company members at area airports, and the Front of House co-chairs have created hundreds of volunteer positions for ushers and ticket takers. Exciting!

Front of House

Sign up for Front of House (FOH) positions opens May 14.  There are more performances this year and the season is longer, which means GRSF needs you! Volunteers will also be able to sign up to help with concessions during the Apprentice production and to help with the Will Run Race.   Season calendar

FOH Training

  • Thursday June 14 – 6:30 pm
  • Friday  June 15 – 1:30 pm
  • Refresher training session on Thursday July 12th at 1:30 pm

Becca Borchadt, Front of House Manager, will provide the training. Becca worked in the GRSF box office during the 2017 season. Training will be at the WSU, Performing Arts Center.

Hospitality Team Tech Week

The hospitality team will once again be providing meals to company members during the busy tech week.  Nine meals will be provided  June 9 – 27.   This is a fun opportunity to feed and get to know company members who are very appreciative of the wonderful meals and people who provide them.   The hospitality team needs new members. If you would like to join the please contact Victoria Esquibell, Company Manger.   

Help with Will Run – Sunday July 15

I go, I go – swifter than the arrow from the Tartar’s bow!”
Puck, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

15 volunteers are needed on race day from 7:00 am. – 9:30 am. Volunteers need to be able to stand or bring a chair, stop/direct traffic, give directions to the runners/walkers, etc.  Some may be asked to use a stopwatch to some to call out times, and of course cheer people on throughout the race!  It is really an enjoyable morning.  The weather is almost always great and there are awards. Company members often run and it is fun to see them in a different atmosphere.   Select Volunteer Local to sign-up.   Questions? Contact Pearson-Langowski.

Help spread the word with the distribution team

The FOW Distribution Team would appreciate your help in placing Season 15 brochures and posters throughout our region, wherever potential theatre goers might be found. Just stop by places where people gather or information is shared – like coffee shops, community centers, bulletin boards, libraries, etc. – and ask if we can leave some brochures or put up a poster. If you can help, please stop by the GRSF office to pick up some brochures and/or posters. Out-of-Winona volunteers can contact Leslie Albers  or Mary Alice Anderson  to arrange for materials. The 2018 company is in town and starting their work, so let’s do our best to fill the theatre with audiences.

More to know. . . .

The GRSF Employee, Contractor, & Volunteer Policy Handbook has information on costumer service, safety and a few other items of interest to Friends of Will. Click the link to view the manual. It is also linked in the section of this blog.

New volunteers are always welcome. Please share the registration form with people who might like to  Join the Friends of Will.   FOW who have not volunteered for two or more years should also use the form to we have your current contact information and you’re your areas of interest.   Volunteer Local is used only for specific Front of House or Will Run positions.

Friends of Will Team Leaders

Mary Alice Anderson: Chair, Communications
Leslie Albers: Distribution
Tom Hoffmann: Move-In/Out
Rev. Jim Nelson: Transportation
Gretchen Erwin & Sharon Grossardt; Front of House
Mary Polus: Early Housing
Brenda Terpstra: Volunteer Liaison
Karin & Jim Worthley: Hospitality Food Team.  Contact: Victoria Esquibell, Company Manager and Acting Chair
Marsha Yancy: Recording Secretary

Visit GRSF.WORDPRESS. COM throughout the season for news and updates about how you can help our Great River Shakespeare Festival!



Celebrating the Bard and FOW (2018)

Friends of Will were recognized at the Bard’s Birthday celebration April 22. 
Thank you, GRSF staff!

Front of House: Sign up for specific shifts begins early May.  Check this site for links and additional information.

Hospitality Team Tech Week: June 9 – 27
The hospitality team will once again be  providing meals to company members during the busy tech week.  Meals will be provided several days starting June 9 and continuing through June 27.

Season 15 previews: June 22-28.  Opening weekend is June 29-30 – July 1.


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Celebrate the Bard & FOW April News

Please join us Sunday, April 22nd (3:00 pm)  at Island City Brewing Company in Winona. Enjoy some snacks, grab a beer, and help us celebrate spring, Shakespeare, and Season 15. We’ll be acknowledging the Friends of Will for their volunteer service throughout the year – and if you’re not already a Friend of Will, you will have an opportunity to learn about what they do and sign up to help for Season 15. Learn more about Bard, Beer, Birthday here

Behind the scenes with the Friends of Will
Friends of Will have been helping behind the scenes with mailing projects and providing food for a small group of company members who attended the March Design Conference.  Team Leaders are meeting  with GRSF staff to plan season Friends of Will activities.  Please check this blog throughout the spring and summer for updates.

Save the Date!April 22
The GRSF second annual Bard, Beer, Birthday celebration will be Sunday, April 22nd at Island City Brewing Company. There will be snacks, music,  and recognition of the Friends of Will.

Front of House
Signing up for specific times and positions for Front of House Volunteers (ushers, concessions during the Apprentice production) begins early May.  Check this newsletter for updates.ates.

Hospitality Team Tech Week is  June 9 – 27
The hospitality team will once again be  providing meals to company members during the busy tech week.  Meals will be provided several days starting June 9 and continuing through June 27.

Winona arts thriving because of community’s great people
Winona Daily News, March 9, 2018,  River Arts Alliance column by Eileen Moeller, GRSF  Sales and Marketing Director

Season 14 (2017) Friends of Will Annual Report

Thank you Friends of Will
(A short video from the 2017 Apprentice Acting Company)

Join the Friends of Will

(General FOW registration for new FOW or FOW who did not volunteer in 2017 or 2016.)

Thank you, Friends of Will

Many of you worked with the Hospitality Team bringing wonderful meals to the company during the hectic tech week.  100 Friends of Will greeted and assisted patrons as Front of House ushers, ticket takers or at the concession stand. Many other FOW worked behind the scenes providing transportation to and from area airports, hosting company members during the early housing period, helping them move in and out of their apartments, or distributing  Festival brochures throughout Winona and the region.  Your work is sincerely and gratefully appreciated by Great River Shakespeare Festival staff and company members.

Select the link below to view a delightful  video thank you from the Apprentice Acting Company.

Thank you, Friends of Will

Friends-of-Will-logoThe Friends of Will leadership team welcomes new steering committee members. We are inviting other FOW to become part of the leadership team.  If you want to learn more about this fun and rewarding leadership opportunity, please contact Mary Alice Anderson, FOW Steering Committee chair.  You may also contact other team leaders or Aaron or Eileen at the GRSF office.  While you are at the office enjoy the ghosts of King Richard’s victims.

ghosts - 1





Creative Dramatics for Grownups

Finally an acting class for adults!

Have you ever wondered what goes into making a play come to life, or how actors begin their training? Would you consider trying (testing?) out your own talents? Would you enjoy playing fun, interactive dramatic games and exercises? This evening is open to anyone: novices, experts, shy folk, public speakers, teachers, retirees and anyone that wants to laugh. Participation is always optional creating a safe space to explore the dramatic arts.
Kacie Mixon instructor
Fee: $20 for a one hour sessionTo learn more and to register , please follow this link.