Season 14 (2017) Volunteer Opportunities

May 16 addition: Hire an Apprentice

We have apprentices who are interested in working and patrons who are interested in hiring apprentices. If any Friends of Will have a job for an apprentice, please contact Valerie Williams, GRSF Education Director.   Email her your name, phone number, email, and a brief description of the work involved. She will share this information with the Apprentices. It will be up to the Apprentice to make contact with the FOW if they are interested in working. Jobs can be emailed to

May 15: The news you have been waiting for!


Summer 2017 volunteer opportunities, (Front of house, knitting and more!)  FOW behind the scenes, meet the FOW team leaders and new GRSF Front of House staff.

Friends of Will can now sign up for specific Front of House volunteer positions.   Please read the information below before using Volunteer Local.

  • Season 14 opens June 21; closing is July 30.
  • Front of House positions include ushering ticket taking and accessibility assistance.
  • We are asking people to be flexible with the jobs. For instance, an accessibility usher may be asked to help with tickets in the lobby for a portion of their shift depending on how many accessibility tickets have been sold for that performance or if who is taking tickets some may need help.
  • We may add shifts as the season progresses.
  • Dress code is a SOLD WHITE TOP and a SOLID BLACK BOTTOM.
  • Because Callithump is a fundraiser FOH volunteers are asked to purchase a ticket if they wish to stay for the performance.
  • If you have not volunteered for more than 2 years or are a new volunteer please complete the FOW registration form. There is no need to register if you volunteered in any capacity in 2015 or 2016.
  • Training for new ushers/ticket takers and for returning Front of House volunteers
    who would like a refresher will be June 14, 6:30 PM and June 15, 1:00 PM at the WSU Performing Arts Center
  • Front of House volunteers will also be working with Front of House Manager Kayleen Berwick (left) and GRSF Marketing and Sales Manager Eileen Moeller

A recent graduate from Winona State, Kayleen  has enjoyed working with the arts and volunteers in a number of roles throughout her education.  Originally from Illinois, she is looking forward to another Minnesota summer and a great season with GRSF! Eileen is a 2010 graduate of the WSU Theatre & Dance Department, and ecstatic to return to GRSF as a full-time staff member after interning in 2007. She recently moved back to Winona from her hometown in Elgin, IL. She lives in Winona with her husband and many pets. 

FRONT OF HOUSE QUESTIONS?  Contact  Gretchen Erwin, Friend of Will Front of Volunteers House Chair


Do you like to knit?

The GRSF costume shop supervisor is looking for knitters who could  make chainmail for Richard III.  They are making 6 cowls and 4 sets of arms. Contact Stephanie Jones


Behind the Scenes

Many Friends of Will have been helping behind the scenes providing early housing, picking up arriving company members at area airports, and helping them move into their apartments, preparing food for the spring preview weekend, and helping with mailings. The hospitality team chairs are planning meals for the busy tech week rehearsal schedule; distribution team members are busy delivering brochures and posters throughout the region.  Contact a team chair if you have questions or would like to help more!


In the News

GRSF Recognizes Volunteers at Bard, Beer and Birthday
Winona Daily News, April 24, 2017


FOW Team Leaders

Please contact Mary Alice Anderson, FOW Steering Committee chair or a team chair: Tom Hoffmann, Move-In/Out; Patti Neal,Distribution; Rev. Jim Nelson: Transportation; Gretchen Erwin & Sharon Grossardt; Front of House; Brenda Terpstra, Volunteer Liaison/membership; Karin & Jim Worthley, HospitalityFood Team.


Back: Tom Hoffman, Gretchen Erwin, Jim Nelson Jim Worthley. Front: Marsha Yancy, Patti Neal, Brenda Terpstra, Karin Worthley, Mary Alice Anderson, Leslie Albers

May 4, 2017 Update

Winona Daily News stories of interest to Friends of Will

GRSF Recognizes Volunteers at Bard, Beer and Birthday
April 24, 2017

Above and Beyond: Winona Senior High student turns Life around after discovering Theatre|
April 23, 2017


Front of House sign up will begin the latter part of May
Front of House Training for new ushers/ticket takers and for returning Front of House volunteers who would like a refresher is planned for:
June 14, 6:30 PM and June 15, 1:00 PM
More information about will be available after mid-May.

Save the Very Special Date! (4/23/17)

Save the Very Special Date! 

GRSF is hosting a party to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday and to honor the Friends of Will. The celebration will be at Island City Brewing Company, downtown Winona Sunday, April 23, 3:00 – 6:00 pm.
Details available later!

Remembering Karen Fawcett (Jan. 2017)

Karen Fawcett, one of the founders of the Friends of Will and passionate GRSF supporter died unexpectedly January 7.  The following text is from a tribute to Karen in the Winona Daily News, January 29, 2017.

When the Great River Shakespeare Festival opened in 2004, Karen was instrumental in turning the passive experience of watching a play into community activity for a growing group of dedicated volunteers.  She and Kathleen Peterson started with a group of 15 volunteers, called themselves Friends of Will, and offered their services to the fledgling theater company to do whatever might need to be done. Within a year, their ranks grew to more than 300 volunteers, and the Friends of Will have been an integral part of the festival ever since.

In a letter to the editor published in 2004, Karen spoke how welcoming visitors to our community enriches all our lives: “Even though we are the local hosts, we are more so the guests of these visitors to Winona,” she said. “As guests, we are welcomed into their lives and perspectives, given expanded understandings of our humanity and graciously invited to see the world with new eyes.” “We who are leaders won’t have to worry that we’ll have to be around forever,” Karen said of the Friends. “This is not a project that will be owned by a few.”  The complete article covers Karen’s many other contributions to Winona,  Influence in many lives. 

Thank you, Karen, for leading the way.

Thank you FOW, Parking space needed (Nov. 2017)

Do you have a covered parking space to loan?

GRSF is in need of covered parking over the winter for a van and a
pick-up truck. The van has to be able to be moved for use in February by
actors coming for education programs in the schools. The pick-up is not
needed until spring. If anyone has such a facility, please contact Emily
at the GRSF office, 474-7900 or

Thank you, Friends of Will!

Thank you, Friends of Will, for supporting the Great River Shakespeare Festival in so many ways during the 2016 season. Over 200 FOW generously gave over 3000 hours of time to help the Festival.    Your generosity and time are sincerely appreciated.

Our largest group of volunteers, Front of House FOW, alone contributed 1200 hours of support. The generous hospitality team members who provided many much enjoyed meals to hungry company members during tech week follow their hourly contribution.   The transportation team made 30 trips to and from area airports before and during the season to bring help company members get to Winona.   Other FOW provided housing, inventoried and delivered housing supplies to company apartments, distributed information, helped with mailings, created the 6th annual Callithump raffle quilt and helped with organizing FOW volunteer activities of Will.  Learn what YOU did!   (FOW Annual Report, Season 13)

Getting Ready for Season 14

A small group of FOW helped GRSF prepare materials for a mailing this November. If you would like to help GRSF with off-season work such as mailings please contact Mary Alice Anderson, Friends of Will Steering Committee Chair,

Visit the Friends of Will online newsletter throughout the winter and spring to check for news and updates that may be posted.

End of Season Volunteer Needs (2016)


FOH Volunteers Needed

July 22 update: There are several remaining Front of House openings for Ushers, Ticket Takers and Quilt Raffle Ticket Sellers.
Visit to sign-up for additional volunteer positions.    

FOH volunteers are able to see the play if space is available. Email House Manager Samantha Heaver if you would like to be on an on-call list if there are last-minute cancellations.

Photo: FOW Margaret Kiihne visits with a raffle ticket buyer at a performance.

NEW! The season 13 MOVE OUT date is August 2.   Move out team members or other FOW who would like to help Company member bins be moved from East Lake to the Warehouse should contact Team Chair, Tom Hoffmann.

Use the link below to learn how to check your Front of House schedule
Volunteer Local Tips

Shakespeare Sewn With Love Winona Post, July 13, 2017.

Will Run.  Over 100 runners participated in the 3rd annual Will Run.   Thank you to the Friends of Will volunteers Leslie Albers, Shirley and Rick Twaddle, Tom Hoffman, Daryl Lanz who helped and Will Run chair, Dee Cipov.

FOW Helping Behind the Scenes

Tech Week Meals! Everyone is Happy. Thank you to the 40 GRSF hospital team members who kept company members were well fed during the hectic tech week rehearsals. Company members are always enjoy and appreciate the wonderful food; Friends of Will enjoy seeing them eat favorites such as the taco bar and turkey meals.   Team-Co chair Karin Worthley described ” a very nice connection between volunteers and the company.  The atmosphere is relaxed, happy and grateful. People who make food feel like they are feeding their guests.”  Thank you, Jim and Karin Worthley for creating another wonderful experience for so many.  It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

JohnBairdFun in the Costume GRSF costume shop. A small group of FOW helped with hand sewing and craft work in the costume shop throughout June. It’s a fun atmosphere! Sheila Cunningham said, “I love helping there; I’ve only missed one year of the 13 seasons.”

Photo: Crafts Artisan models a hat worn by Audrey in As You Like It.

Meet Samantha

House Manager Samantha Heaver graduated from WSU with a degree in Theater in 2013 and is a theatre instructor at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts. She previously worked in the GRSF box office

Thank you, Hospitality team (2016)

The Friends of Will Hospitality Team has again wowed GRSF Company members with  delicious and very much appreciated tech week meals.  There are a few meals to go! If you would like to join the team please contact Karin and Jim Worthley, team chairs!

Front of House Openings ~   Hire an Apprentice to help with summer chores!
Usher Training Handout

Up, Up and Away! Get Carried away with the Callithump Raffle Quilt.