Front of House News, Celebrating Shakespeare’s Life (2016)

Front of House Scheduling
Front of House sign up will begin in early May. Mandatory training for all Front of House volunteers will be in May and  June. There will be at least two dates which will be announced later. Front of House positions are: Ushers, Ticket takers and Quilt raffle ticket sellers.

Donations still  welcome to restock company housing bins
The Company Manager has  most of the items needed to fill the apartment bins, but hand towels, potholders and washcloths are still needed. If you have gently used items to donate please bring them to the GRSF office.  Most items listed in the March 25  post (below) are in good-supply, but additional contributions are welcome for future needs.

A Celebration of William Shakespeare’s Life
William Shakespeare passed away in his home in Stratford-upon-Avon four hundred years ago this April 23rd. Please join Great River Shakespeare Festival in remembering this great man by celebrating his life on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

Please join GRSF for a celebration of William Shakespeare’s life and 400th anniversary of his passing at the Hoff Celebration of Life Center, 3480 Service Drive in Winona, on Wednesday, April 20th from 5-7p.m. Together with event sponsors at Hoff, GRSF wishes to celebrate this significant anniversary and formally launch the Season 13 Campaign by toasting and reflecting on how much this great writer has meant in all of our lives. There will be music, food, drink, and birthday cake (since his birth and death day are the same date). Winona Poets Laureate past and present Emilio DeGrazia and Ken McCullough, GRSF Artistic Director Doug Scholz-Carlson, and others will be reading from their favorite Shakespeare works, sharing remembrances of the Bard, and how his work has touched their lives. There will be a chance for others in attendance to share their experiences as well. For more information on this event visit or email

Getting ready for Season 13 (2016)

dont_forget_smallBookmark this permanent link for the FOW newsletter/blog! It’s always here. Updates are posted often during the season.

It’s that time of year when we get rid of stuff! (and donate it to GRSF)

Trenchcoats and overcoats.  The costume shop  is looking for classic men’s trench coats and wool overcoats in neutral colors…grey, khaki, olive…maybe navy,  not black. They can be long or long car length. Please bring to the GRSF office.
~ Thank you, Marci Franklin, GRSF  costume shop supervisor

BINSHousehold items.  The interim company manager is asking for donations of some basic kitchen items to help restock the apartment housing bins supplied to each apartment when the company arrives in May.   If you have something to donate please bring it to the GRSF Office on the corner of 3rd and Lafayette St.between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm weekdays by Friday April 8.  If we have extra items donated we will save these items to replace, and refill Company Bins in the future.
~ Thank you, Julie Fassbender, interim company manager

Dinner Plates (6) Small Dinner Plates (28)
Bowls (cereal size) (7) Coffee Cups (40)
Silverware Tray (15) Forks (set of 4) (3)
Knives (set of 4) 12 Sharp knives, big (12)
Sharp knives, smaller (7) Cutting Board (13)
Rubber spatula (7) Colander (17)
Can opener (26) Measure cup sets (20)
Measure spoons (21 Measure spoons (21)
Mixing Bowl, medium, large (22) Cooking pot, small (11)
Frying pan (medium) (3) Baking Pan (casserole) (4)
Cookie Sheet (23) Ice Cube Trays (3)
Pot holders (50) Wash clothes (140)
Kitchen towels (70) Floor lamps (17)

Do you like to cook?  Here’s a golden opportunity!

If feeding hungry, appreciative GRSF actors and crew members sounds like fun to you, here’s a golden opportunity. The hospitality team that provides good, healthy meals for those talented, hungry folks on long tech rehearsal days the last couple weeks in June is starting to assemble. We need food providers, cooks, hosts/servers, and clean up help for each meal. Please contact Jim and Karin Worthley,  507-474-4360 or with questions or to sign up.

Behind the Scenes with Friends of Will

IMG_0151Many FOW have been busy throughout the past months helping GRSF with projects and events. FOW have helped decorate the office windows for the Downtown Winona Holiday window contest, set up for the Valentine’s Bash at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, plan events, stuff envelopes for a mailing, and inventory the contents of the housing bins and create a quilt for the Callithump quilt raffle.

Would you like to be involved?  If you would like to assist with off-season events please contact Friends of Will Steering Committee co- chairs Mary Alice Anderson
( or Terry Hawkings ( )

Friends of Will Team leaders meet monthly to plan and stay in touch with GRSF staff. Team Leaders and FOW Steering Committee members are:

Mary Alice Anderson: Co-Chair, Communications
Terry Hawkings: Co-Chair, Special Projects
Dee Cipov & Tracy Morgan: Distribution Team
Jean Hayes: Volunteer Liaison, Hospitality
Tom Hoffmann: Move-In/Out Crew
Rev. Jim Nelson: Team Chariot (Transportation)
Judy Rusert and Gretchen Erwin-Front of House Team Coordinators
Karin & Jim Worthley: Hospitality
Marsha Yancy: Recording Secretary

shakespeare_book_smallWant to learn more about Shakespeare?

Will Power.  Can’t Kill Bill: 400 years after his death William Shakespeare has Kept his Cool. (Star Tribune, March 27, 2016)

How did people die in Shakespeare’s plays? This chart explains.
Can you identify the play or person?

Shakespeare Documented is an  Exhibition of documents related to Shakespeare.   The exhibit hosts manuscripts, books, plays and more from the Folger Shakespeare Library, Bodleian Library, the British Library, The National Archives, and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.



Thank you Friends of Will for your contributions throughout Season 12 (2015)


Over 200 active Friends of Will contributed 3800 volunteer hours to the Great River Shakespeare Festival throughout Season 12. Front of House volunteers, the FOW in black and white who work at each performance, are the largest and most visible FOW team. Other teams worked behind the scenes providing Festival support, Company support, and Community outreach throughout the season and calendar year. The large hospitality team prepared and served very much appreciated meals to the company during June tech week. Other teams provided assistance in capacities such as transportation and housing, distributing Festival brochures, assisting in the costume shop, creating the raffle quilt, helping at events, helping with special projects such as building the Steamboat Days float and communicating within the Friends of Will and with the company. The Friends of Will volunteer organization has over 300 members including many new members who volunteered for the first time in 2015, and Friends of Will-Rochester. Calculated at the Corporation for National and Community Service hourly wage ($24.83) for Minnesota, the Friends of Will contribution is more than $90,000.00.

Read the complete report

Thank you from Lee Gundersheimer and Doug Scholz-Carlson

In my two years of working at GRSF, nothing yanks harder at my heartstrings than working with our volunteers in FOW. Whether it is building a float with Bob Hawkings, serving meals with the Worthleys and many others, attending board meetings with Terry Hawkings, watching the work of the quilters led by Mary Alice Anderson, seeing Rev Jim pull up with another car load of company members, Judy Rusert tirelessly guiding some new ushers, Jean Hayes sudukoing a schedule of serving food, the mover and shaker Tom Hoffman, Dee Cipov gathering the troops to Will Run or to poster up the region- you name it, and I have had the pleasure of witnessing the hard work across countless areas being carried out with such expertise and ability it often brings tears to my eyes.

And here I am with the chance to say a bit of thanks. How does one show the gratitude for all that the FOW accomplish? How can one thank each of you enough for making this festival possible, year after year? How can one possibly say enough for the many tireless years of outstanding service from Terry Hawkings? She embodies so much of the simple dignity, passion, joy, and discipline that are the key ingredients of our volunteer spirit. She has co-chaired for several years and has assured us she is still ready to roll up her sleeves and contribute as co-chair and in other roles. Each of us that have had the pleasure of collaborating with her understands just what she means to GRSF and to Winona itself.

I deal in numbers a great deal in my job, both quantifiable and those not as easy to pin down. Simply put, $90,000 this year is what the FOW saved GRSF, if you use the government statistic for counting the cost of their service. But truly, we who work in the arts know this is not an easily countable sum. It is impossible to say what the FOW actually add, but I will leave it to Shakespeare, who has a way with words, to sum up what might be at the heart of all in our beloved FOW.  Their spirit to forever pitch in to build a better Festival (and perhaps a bit of essential madness- if one factors in the original quoted context) is at the heart of Ophelia’s lines from Hamlet: We know what we are now, but know not what we may be.”   ~ Lee Gundersheimer, Managing Director
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Great River Shakespeare Festival exists thanks to the generosity of our community. Nowhere is that more clear than in the generosity of the Friends of Will. Thank you for giving the most precious thing you have to GRSF: your time.

While it is easy to quantify how much money your donation of time is worth to GRSF, the Friends of Will give something even more important. You create our community. At its heart, the Great River Shakespeare Festival exists to bring us together, to challenge us with great plays, and to spark the conversations that make our community our home. The Friends of Will lead the way in helping our community engage with GRSF in a meaningful way.

The Friends of Will meals during tech week certainly brighten the day for a weary company and saves money for GRSF, but they also cement the bond between the patrons and the artists, the volunteers, the paid staff and everyone else who is part of the company of the Great River Shakespeare Festival. It matters when our patrons are welcomed into the theater by an usher who truly loves the plays. It matters when our out of town company members are met at the airport by someone who values the their work. It matters when the rest of the community comes to an event and sees people they know giving their time to a cause they believe in.

We couldn’t do this work without the Friends of Will. Logistically and financially, it just wouldn’t be possible. But maybe more importantly, without you, without our community, we wouldn’t want to. Thank you for all you do.
~ Doug Scholz-Carlson, Artistic Director

Friends of Will Annual Reports

Letter to the Editor (Winona Daily News)

Congratulations to Mary Lee Eischen! (2015)

Congratulations to Mary Lee Eischen, winner of the 2015 Great River Shakespeare Festival raffle quilt! Mary Lee lives in Winona and won the quilt at Callithump 5, the annual GRSF benefit.


Designing and Creating the Quilt and its Symbolism

Thank you Hospitality Team! FOW Activities, Check your Volunteer Status (2015)

Kudos to the Hospitality team

Eating2The hospitality team has outdone themselves again! Throughout the two weeks of tech week FOW served 580 separate meals at 8 different times.
47 Friends of Will contributed food. Two groups led by Dee Cipov served 130 meals; an Exchange Club group chaired by Terry Hawkings  provided 60 Apprenticesmeals and a Rotary Club group led by Terri Sim served 40 meals. Other FOW who hosted meals are Kris Blanchard, Martha Langowski, Bea Hoffmann, Mary Alice Anderson, Caroline van Schaik, John and Grace Marter, Kathy and Greg Peterson, Debbie Sheets, Ray and Carolyn Felton, Pat Berkley, Bob Hawkings. Guest hosts Heidi Ryan, Margie Glynn and GRSF staff Lee Gundersheimer and Marci Franklin, offered help at the last minute when we really needed it.  Thank you!


Karin and Jim Worthley, on-site hospitality chairs and coordinators, helped at every meal and coordinated in-between meal needs.   A HUGE thank you goes to Jean Hayes for extensive months-long menu and logistics planning.
Special thanks to
* Daryl Reidel, Steak Shop Catering for providing and delivering a commercial warming table, salad bar and large refrigerator free of charge. This was a tremendous help!!!
* Winona Bread and Bagel, Blue Heron and Bloedows for donating bread
* Pete Suardi, GRSF Company Manager who helped at every meal took care of so much else.
*Terry Hawkings for her tremendous support. She pitched in with everything where she was needed.
* WSU Arts Administrator and FOW Kathy Peterson who helps GRSF with all facilities needs.

Company members look forward to these wonderful meals; they spread the word to incoming company members who are eager to see what it’s all about!


MaryAlice-PattiQuilt Raffle Tickets For Sale

FOW Patti Neal purchased Raffle Ticket #1 from Mary Alice Anderson.  Raffle tickets are available in the lobby during all performances through Callithump, at Concerts on the Green, from FOW, and in the GRSF downtown office. Raffle tickets are just $5.00 and a wonderful way to support GRSF.


Steamboat Days Parade

GRSF was well represented in the Steamboat days Parade with assistant director Stephen Miranda and SYA actor Lauren Callahan as Romeo and Juliet.  FOW Bob Hawkings created the float which received an award in the novelty float category.  FOW Dee Cipov, Maggie Lambert, Raelynn Peter, Kathy Benke, Michelle Langowski walked the parade route with GRSF staff.


Front of House Team

Thank you for all of the excellent Front of House work during the start of Season 12.  Judy Rusert, Team Chair

Reminder!  Check your Volunteer Status and for open positions in Volunteer Local.  Select the Volunteer Local check your status link;  enter your email address.  A list of what you have volunteered for will arrive in your email.

You may also cancel a shift online.
If you need to cancel the week of the event please contact Judy Rusert,

Ushers, ticket takers and quilt raffle ticket sellers working during each performance will receive an email confirmation reminder the week they are working.


Volunteer Local Tip, Front of House Openings (2015)

updateD June 29

There are a few Front of House volunteer shift openings.  Select  Volunteer Local to review these positions. and sign up for those that you are interested in.

Check your Volunteer Status

Front of House ushers, ticket takers and quilt raffle ticket sellers working during each performance will receive an email confirmation reminder the week they are working.

Want to check your Front of House volunteer status now?   Select the Volunteer Local check your status link;  enter your email address.  A list of what you have volunteered for will arrive in your email.

You may also cancel a shift online.
If you need to cancel the week of the event please contact Judy Rusert, Front of House Chair.


Season 12 begins in 3 weeks! Steamboat Days, Training Dates, Volunteer Needs, the Callithump Raffle Quilt! (2015)

Front of House Training & Openings

Thursday, June 11, 2:00 pm, WSU Science Laboratory Center Atrium
Thursday, June 18, 7:00 pm
, WSU Science Laboratory Center Atrium
Pre registration is NOT required   ~   WSU Campus Maps

VolunteerLocalThere are still a few remaining FOH positions. Visit Volunteer Local for specific dates and positions.
FOH waiting list:  If you would like to be on the standby list for assisting with Front of House positions please contact Judy Rusert, Front of House Co-Chair.


Hospitality Training & Needs

Hospitality Training, Tuesday, June 9, 5:30 pm,
WSU, Minne Hall, room 104   ~   WSU Campus Maps
~ Registration.

There are a few openings for FOW who would like to contribute food for company meals during tech week. Helping is a great way to interact with other FOW and GRSF Company members who LOVE the hospitality team. Please review the pre-planned menus to see what is needed by clicking the Doodle Links. You may also sign up to contribute using the Doodle.
Questions? Contact Jim or Karin Worthley, or call 474-4360. They will be happy to answer your questions.


Steamboat Days 2015

GRSF will have float in the Steamboat Days Parade, June 21. Shakespeare for Young Adult actors will portray Romeo and Juliet.   Lee Gundersheimer, GRSF managing director, would like 4-6 FOW volunteers to walk along the float to hand out information about the Festival and Will Run.   The float is #33 in the parade; walkers will need to arrive at 11:45 for the 12:31 start.   Needed! One large plant (can be artificial) or garden statue for Romeo to hang onto.  ~ If you would like to walk in the parade or have a plant/statue to loan please contact Lee Gundersheimer.


Callithump Raffle Quilt

The Festival season theme and the season poster designed by Wisconsin artist, Pete Sandker were the inspiration for the 2012 Callithump raffle quilt. The Will Quilt team created a quilt featuring costume shop fabrics in an abstract tree in the quilt’s center. 10 solid roots pay tribute to the first decade and artistic director Paul Barnes. 12 branches represent growth and Season 12. A heart in the root mass represents the season theme, What love dares. A piano key border, made largely from costume shop fabric, honors the music that contributes so much to many of the plays and the Festival.  Winona’s Knitcraft Corporation also donated several fabrics for the quilt. All FOW are invited  to sell raffle tickets to family and friends. Stop by the Box office to get them; it’s a great way to support GRSF!


Will Quilt team members Connie Lrson, Dee Cipov, Lori Krumholz, Mary Alice Anderson, Mary Kaser and Ann Kendrick sewed the binding on the built June 2.