Getting Ready for Season 12


Great River Shakespeare Festival invites the Friends of Will to join them in celebrating William Shakespeare’s 451st birthday and the summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, April 23 from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm at The Bookshelf/Blue Heron in downtown Winona.

While Great River Shakespeare Festival celebrates Shakespeare all year long, they’re especially excited to celebrate his 451st birthday! Join GRSF friends and fans at The Bookshelf/Blue Heron on Thursday, July 23 for cake, celebratory remarks, and general revelry from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. If you missed the Spring Preview, this is your chance to hear about cast lists and the latest information on the upcoming season.

Front of House
Friends of Will are invited to sign up for Front of House volunteer slots beginning the first week in May.  Please revisit this page in May to select your Season 12 usher positions.

Friends of Will will again provide meals for the GRSF Company during Tech  Week.  Some positions are filled, but we need additional volunteers to:
1. help serve midday (10 am – 12N)or evening (4 pm – 6 pm) June 14-23, 2015 (excluding Mondays & Thursdays)
2. prepare food during the week
3. prepare and freeze soup, cookies, bars ahead of time

If you can help, please contact: or 507-454-3895

If you are not a Friend of Will or have not volunteered as a FOW since 2012 please complete the FOW registration form.

FOW Behind the Scenes

Many Friends of Will have been helping The Great River Festival throughout the past several months and are busy with pre-season support.
~ Transportation and Early Housing teams  provided assistance during the March spring Preview.  They will be cheerfully helping again when Company members arrive early May.
~Will Quilt team members are completing the 5th annual Callithump Raffle Quilt Raffle highlighting costume shop fabrics.  This year’s quilt is once again inspired by the Season poster design.
~ FOW assisted at the GRSF/Minnesota Marine Art Museum Valentine’s Day  Bash at the Marine Art Museum and helped with a GRSF Development mailing.


FOW Ray Felton, Naomi Thye, Jennifer Georgieff, Lou Gillou and Linda Wilfahrt helped with a development mailing in April.

Friends of Will Steering Committee
Mary Alice Anderson and Terry Hawkings, Co-Chairs.
Blandine Berthelot, Dee Cipov, Jean Hayes, Tom Hoffmann, Tracy Morgan, Rev. Jim Nelson, Judy Rusert, Marsha Yancy

Friends of Will are encouraged to visit this page throughout the spring  for updates and to watch for information via email from team leaders.

Bookmark the Permanent Link for the FOW Newsletter

Season 11 FOW Annual Report

Over 200 active Friends of Will contributed 4200 volunteer hours to the Great River Shakespeare Festival throughout Season 11. Members include 47 new Winona and Winona area FOW who joined in 2014 and 32 Rochester Friends. The Friends of Will provide Company and Festival support, Front of House support, and Community outreach. A new initiative this year was using Volunteer Local a web based scheduling system for all Front of House volunteer scheduling. Click here view the full report!

Thank you, Friends of Will!

Thank-YouDear Friends of Will,

I cannot begin to thank you enough for everything you have done for GRSF this season. We simply could not exist without all of your work. I hope you are taking great pride in the many accomplishments of Season 11.  We started the season talking about how the simple, mundane things we do every day in the theater can become an invitation for us and for our community to experience more fully what it is to be human. Whether passing out programs, cooking meals, giving rides, or playing Hamlet, we need every member of this company to put these plays on stage and to invite our patrons to see them. Once inside the theater, I believe we have opportunity to start a conversation that can help make our community the place we want to call home – and I believe that is exactly what we have done this season.

Thank you for being a vital part of this company.

Doug Scholz-Carlson, Artistic Director

Friends-of-Will-logoDear Friends of Will,

It was a year of great change this season and so many of us had to trust and adapt to the new personalities, programming, and procedures. From Front of House to Hospitality to Chariots- every single department and almost all of you had to work with a new point person or within a slightly changed system. And you rose to the occasion and then some. Thanks so much for all you did to make these changes and this season such a success. And I can only thank each of your personally for your faith and support. We are truly privileged to have you an integral part of GRSF. And a special thank you to all the department heads and to Mary Alice and Terry for overseeing it all. We look forward to your comments and thoughts as we make our way forward.

On to the great work of Season 12!!!!

~ Lee Gundersheimer, Managing DirectorFriends-of-Will-logo

Thank you from Mary Alice and Terry

It was a successful season for the Friends of Will as hundreds of Friends helped GRSF throughout  Season 11.  Front of House volunteers, our largest group, worked 1480 hours!  Many other teams and individuals worked behind the scenes at company events and to help company members. We are beginning to compile information for the FOW annual report that celebrates the continuing success of the Friends of Will.  The report will be available here this fall.

Thank you!

Mary Alice Anderson and Terry Hawkings, Friends of Will Steering Committee Co-Chairs Friends-of-Will-logoJennifer and KelleyGaby Peterson, co-owner of Yarnology in Winona won the Callithump quilt raffle.   FOW Jennifer Georgieff and Yarnology co-owner Kelly Momsen proudly hold the quilt now on display at Yarnology, 65 East Third, Winona.  Gaby’s Yarology Post!



Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 1.04.14 PMRadio station KQAL program archives include interviews with several GRSF company members and other Festival information.

Front of House Volunteer Openings

Cdont_forget_smallheck volunteer local throughout the remaining weeks of season 11

There are few open positions for some of the remaining plays.  You can also sign up to substitute. Peope who sign up to substitute will be called if you are needed.

Visit Volunteer Local to learn more about these these positions (click the view job description link)  or sign up for other Front of House vacancies.
Questions: Contact Gretchen Erwin  or Mary Alice Anderson

StatusCheckForget what you volunteered for?
Visit Volunteer Local
and select the check status button. Submit the email address you used when you signed up; a confirmation of your volunteer schedule will instantly arrive in your email

CANCELNeed to Cancel?
Click cancel in your confirmation. That’s it!


Meet Annika, Quilt Raffle Tickets Available, July Volunteer Opportunities

dont_forget_smallThe final Usher and Will Guide Training is Wednesday, July 9, 6:30 pm at the WSU Performing Arts Center.   All Ushers and Will guides are welcome.  New ushers & Will Guides who did not attend earlier training sessions are especially encouraged to attend!  There are additional announcements for Front of House Volunteers throughout this post.

Meet House Manager Annika Gunderson!

AnnikaI have returned to my hometown, Winona, after five years of living in Minneapolis, MN, as well as studying extensively throughout Latin America. Living anew in Winona has gifted me with much exploration of and participation in the arts. Soon after my homecoming, I produced Winona’s first burlesque show Speakeasy Mississippi Burlesque (Oct. 2013) and danced in both WSU’s Dancescape 2014 and SEED’s Blank Page (March 2014). These experiences led me to work with Mid West Music Fest 2014 as the fest’s coordinator of marketing/publicity, hospitality, and merchandise.  I am so grateful to Winonans for their continuous support and collaboration, and I am equally thrilled to be a part of Winona’s expanding arts community! Some of my other identities include…entrepreneur, Global Somatics Practitioner, and, importantly, a lover of kale and coconut water. Outside of GRSF, I can be found working at Infinity Chiropractic Wellness Center, practicing yoga and walking my dog, Raleigh.I welcome getting to know as many GRSF patrons as possible, and I very much look forward to promoting joy and comfort for patrons in the theater. Please feel free to say ‘hello!’ I can be easily spotted in the Performing Arts Center’s front of house with my watch and short (sometimes funky) blonde hair. :) Annika

Friends-of-Will-logoThere are some Front of House spots needing volunteers.  We suggest checking Volunteer Local  often for additional openings that may come up throughout July.   Front of House job descriptions and expectations

Concession/parking shifts start July 22nd

Learn more about Concessions and Parking. It’s another fun way to help the festival and interact with patrons. Sign up using Volunteer Local.

Tuesday 7/22 7:00pm performance
Wednesday 7/23 7:00 performance
Thursday 7/24 7:00pm performance
Friday 7/25 7:30pm performance
Saturday 7/26 2:00pm performance
Sunday 7/27 2:00pm performance
Wednesday 7/30 7:00pm performance
Thursday 7/31 7:00pm performance


The Shakesepare for Young Designer project need soda cans, any color, as many as we can get! Energy drink cans would work too, as well as beer cans. Probably around 50-100 if I had to put a number on it, as it will be used to make the top halves of armor for 5 people. If they could be rinsed off, that would be great! Drop off items at the PAC production office or with the Box Office staff at the downtown office.  Contact: Lauren Smith, GRSF Education Coordinator.

Quilt Raffle Tickets available


The 2014 quilt was created by Mary Alice Anderson, Dee Cipov, Mary Kaser, Lori Krumholz, Connie Larson, and Kathy Seifert. Sherry Brickner, Creative Quilting by Design, did the quilting.

The 2014 quilt design was inspired by Julia Crozier’s Get Carried Away poster. Our own imaginary forces inspired the “Will Group” volunteers to select unused costume shop fabrics in the poster’s color palette and design a quilt reflecting the poster’s flying birds theme and Get Carried Away tagline. Fabrics ranging from brocade and silk to tapestry fabrics were combined with quilt cottons to create a traditional “Birds in the Air” design. The costume shop fabrics were originally used in Season 1-10 plays such as The Winter’s Tale, King Lear, King Henry V, Macbeth, and Othello.

RRAFFLETICKETaffle tickets are $5.00 and available in the Theatre Gift Shop and at the GRSF downtown office.  All Friends of Will are invited to help sell tickets. Stop by the GRSF downtown office to get some to sell.

Thank you, Hospitality team!

A huge thank you goes to the hospitality team for all of the delicious and very much appreciated lunches and dinners served to 100 busy and hungry company members during the June 15-22 tech week!
Lee Gundersheimer, GRSF Managing Director and Hospitality Team Chairs Terry Hawkings and Kris Blanchard




Hospitality Host Debbie Sheets and GRSF set designer Eric Stone; Company members Mathew Tibbs and Jenn Barnick.
 Frodont_forget_smallnt of House team members are encouraged to review the Winona  State Emergency and Evacuation Procedures Complete evacuation procedures and recommendations are listed within this  WSU document
Dear Front of House Volunteer Friends,
When an opportunity came up to take a tour with my husband and Texas family I was thrilled! England, Scotland, Stratford on Avon, and the thrill of a trip enticed me beyond reason…. Then I realized it was July 14-24!!!   But travel won! While I am tripping my dear friends, Gretchen Erwin and Mary Alice Anderson will pitch hit for me. You will still use the email… I’ll have them forwarded to Gretchen so she can respond to your needs. Everything else will continue on the path to success, thanks to your fine volunteering and Miss Annika’s direction. Mary Alice will also be there to serve your needs. Please think of me as July 17th…. I will be at Shakespeare’s home!  I promise to share some photos. Keep on keeping on!!!!
Judy Rusert, Front of House Team Chair

Visit this newsletter & Volunteer Local throughout the Season to check for updates! Friends-of-Will-logo


Season 11 begins in 10 days!

Volunteer Local Tips

StatusCheckForget what you volunteered for?
Visit Volunteer Local
and select the check status button. Submit the email address you used when you signed up; a confirmation of your volunteer schedule will instantly arrive in your email

CANCELNeed to Cancel?
Click cancel in your confirmation. That’s it!

Questions: Contact Judy Rusert, Front of House Team Chair.

Check volunteer local throughout the next few weeks for additional volunteer openings.


Volunteer opportunities

The WOW team needs help at June 28 and 29 WOW events.
Details about help needed are in the May 28 post.
Contact Laura Feller, WOW committee member:

WOW-button-2014-21Show your WOW spirit!
Be sure to purchase and wear a WOW button. Buttons are available at the GRSF office; just $10.00 is your ticket to three WOW parties, including great food!
FOW are also invited to help sell WOW buttons. Pick up a handful to sell when you purchase yours!

NEEDED:  Wheelchair Wheels and a refrigerator

Properties Manager Nikki Kulas needs a wheel chair, or at least 2 wheelchair wheels. “I’m hoping one of the Friends of will might have one lying around they don’t use anymore or know a place that might have one. We are planning on altering the wheels so it’s not something I intend to be able to return.”
Contact: Nicki Kulas,

Packed frigThe hospitality team needs another frig to store some of the food FOW are generously bringing for this week’s tech week AND the next group of hospitality team meals in July.  The frig need not be new or huge, just working! Contact: Rob Thomas, Company Manager.


June 25 – Merry Wives of Windsor preview
June 26 – Hamlet preview
June 27 – Merry Wives of Windsor opening
June 28 – Hamlet opening
June 29 Merry Wives of Windsor matinee
June 27-28 –WOW festivities and Carlyle Brown Front Porch event

WOW Weekend Concerts
June 27 – Annie Mack Band, at the Levee, 5:30 pm
June 28 – Dixieland Jazz Festival, On the Green. Noon – 7:15
Full  Concerts on the Green performance schedule and performer information ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

450 for the 450th

450-logo-colorGRSF is celebrating Will’s big birthday!! One way you can help GRSF celebrate Will’s Birthday and GRSF is by becoming a donor.
Learn how you can help light 450 candles

Such a Deal!

“Told You So” pricing will be in effect for limited amounts for each show subject to availability (and not for $10 priced shows). The deal is this: if you bring someone new to GRSF- not in our ticketing system- and they must register with name and contact info- then the tickets are either 2 for 1 or your guest comes free, whichever works best for you. If you recommend others but they wish to bring a guest and attend another performance all they have to do is mention your name (or be at the box office with you) and they will get 2 for 1 pricing subject to availability and for a limited time only). This pricing has two purposes: drive new patrons to the plays (and word of mouth and recommendations are the key motivator) and to have full houses as often as possible.  Questions? Contact the GRSF Box Office, 507 474 -7900 or



What: Front of House Training
Where: WSU/ PAC
: Tues, June 17; Thurs June 19; 6:30 pm
Why: Meet Annika Gunderson, our new House Manager; refresh your knowledge and be aware of changes that might be in store under Annika’s direction. Kate Carlson from Visit Winona will provide special training for Will Guides at the June 17 session from. We look forward to greeting our experienced volunteers as well as any new folks. Preregistration is not required, but will be appreciated. 
The season is soon ready to begin! Let’s be sure we are ready as well!
Contact: Judy Rusert, Front of House Team Chair



















One Month Until Season 11!

Friends-of-Will-logoFront of House Volunteer positions and Training

There are positions open for Front of House volunteers. FOH includes ushers, Will Guides, and assisting with parking and concessions (during the Apprentice production).   Front of House training is June 17, 19, and July 9.  New and returning Front of House Volunteers are encouraged to attend to learn what’s new and meet Annika Gunderson, the new House Manager.  Kate Carlson from Visit Winona will provide additional information for Will Guides at the  June 17 session.  Sessions begin at 6:30 PM at the Winona State Performing Arts Center (PAC). Park in the Main and Mark St. lot.

Meal Hosting during tech Week

The Hospitality Team that provides meals to cast and crew during their grueling “Tech” week is looking for additional volunteers! This is one of the most fun ways to volunteer for the Festival and interact with company members. Select the Volunteer Local link below to learn more and sign up.

VolunteerLocalRegister for FOH positions and volunteer training, and hosting meals using Volunteer Local.

Help at WOW

WOW-button-2014-21The Will’s Opening Weekend Committee (WOW) needs volunteers to help with WOW events.   There are two WOW weekends this year to celebrate the opening of three plays. WOW Events.  WOW Volunteer opportunities are:

Friday, June 27, Merry Wives of Windsor opening. Reception at Winona Public Library, post-show, and Parade from Levee pre-show.
Greeting; Directing; Parade Route Guides; Selling WOW buttons, pre- and post-show; and other tasks as needed.
Saturday, June 28, Hamlet opening. Directors’ Reception, 4:30 – 6 PM, help needed 4:00-6PM.
Greeting; Directing Attendees from Green and to event in Kryszko Commons; Selling WOW buttons at name tag table; and other tasks as needed.
Saturday, July 5th, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead opening, Post-show party at the Carriage House.
Selling WOW buttons; and other tasks as needed.

Want to volunteer?  Please contact Laura Feller,

WOW buttons are for sale in the GRSF office.
A $10.00 button is your “ticket” to all three parties.

Like to sew?

The GRSF costume shop could use more volunteers for hand-sewing and other miscellaneous tasks.  If you are interested in assisting contact Marci Franklin, GRSF Costume Shop Supervisor,

Do you Have? 

GRSF office staff are requesting in-kind donations to help provide company members with supplies for their East Lake apartments.  They are especially looking for new or “like new”

  • Flat-screen TV’s
  • Bikes
  • Pots and pans
  • Kitchen towels
  • Hot mitts
  • Small cutting boards
  • Glass drinking glasses (not juice size)
  • Plates and bowls

If you have any of these items to donate please contact Rob Thomas, Company Manager.

Do you have a vintage wooden scooter or scooter parts?
Nicki Kulas, GRSF Properties Manager is looking for a vintage scooter. Staff will likely be building scooters, “but we need parts like handles, wood bottoms, old wood skateboards, and wheels. Contact Nicki Kulas,

Hire an Apprentice!

GRSF Apprentice company members are once again available to help you with house and yard projects.  Apprentices are generally available on Mondays. The rate that most people tend to pay is around $10, although it has certainly varied from time to time.  If you would like to support these hard working College and University students please send the required information to Lauren Smith, Education Coordinator. Send the information listed below in an email message to      Include:

Best time to call:
Email address:
Date (s) work desired (REMINDER: Most apprentices are only available on Mondays):
Description of Job (nature of work, special requirements):
Location of Job: Is transportation available to this location?
Time Commitment for Job (number of hours):
Number of Apprentices requested:
Amount Paid per Hour:


Supporting the GRSF company throughout Spring

Team Chariot members provided transportation for several company members from area airports to Winona   or from the Amtrak station to their Winona homes. Move in/Out team members assisted with moving housing items Move in /Move Out team members from the GRSF warehouse to the Winona State University East Lake Apartments.


Team Chariot member Ron Stevens with John Maltese, GRSF actor at the Rochester airport.


Move in /Move Out team members Dale Newcomb, Bob Williams and Vicki Englic



Visit this blog throughout Season 11 for updates!


Get Carried Away with the Callithump Raffle Quilt

The Will Quilt team is completing this season’s  queen size quilt for the Callithump raffle. Tickets will be available in the gift shop and from FOW.


The Friends of Will welcome new Friends!

Friends-of-Will-logoIf you are not a Friend of Will or if you did not volunteer in 2012 or 2013 you can join the Friends of Will using this easy form.  Questions: Contact Mary Alice Anderson, or Terry Hawkings,, FOW Steering Committee Co-Chairs.