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

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.

Will Run & Front of House volunteers needed, Hire an Apprentice (June 30)

Help with the 4th annual Will Run,  July 16th 

Will Run is the only 28-Furlong Race (that we know of) in existence.   Volunteers are needed to help support the run and the runners as they run or walk around beautiful Lake Winona.
Details and schedule
~ When: July 16, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.
~ Where: Begins at Lake Park Bandshell in Winona, and the track follow the path around the big lake.
~ 2 volunteers are needed for each position

  • Route Safety  –  Washington Street, 7:50 am
  • Route Safety  –  Huff Street, 7:50 am
  • Route Direction/cheerleading!  –  Curve by Hospital  –  8 am
  • Route Direction/cheerleading!  –  Curve by bridge  –  8 am
  • Route Direction/cheerleading!  –  Stay on bike path by tennis courts  –  8 am
  • Route Safety  –  Hamilton Street  –  8 am
  • Route Safety  –  Franklin Street  –  8 am

All volunteers are invited and encouraged to come for donuts, bagels, coffee… at the Bandshell after the last runner/walker goes by your station!!  Hats are provided for race participants as part of the race packet this year. Volunteers can purchase a hat for $10.00 just below actual cost!    To help and join the fun contact: Dee Cipov, deecipov@gmail.com
Or, register for the race. This is your chance for a personal best! Run 28 Furlongs (about the length of a 5K) with the GRSF Company and community

Front of House Openings
There are some open spots for ushers and ticket takers.  Visit Volunteer Local to sign up and check for openings. There may be last minute openings as people cancel. Sign up for a position at http://grsf.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/
Questions? Contact Sheri Grossardt, Front of House Team Co-Leader

Front of House Training Materials

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 education@grsf.org.

Thank you, Hospitality Team

GRSF company members love the Friends of Will Hospitality Team!  Special thank yous to Karin and Jim Worthley, team chairs, and Terry Hawkings who planned the menus and organized these very much appreciated tech week meals for hard-working company members. If you would like to help contact Karin or Jim. There are more meals ahead. And, thank yoiu to Steak Shop Catering for supplying a steam table, salad bar and commercial refrigerator, and to the many Friends of Will who are hosting each of the meals.

thanks_smallerThankyouFOW - 1 (1)ThankyouFOW eating