"We are such stuff as Dreams are made on..." The Tempest
Authentic Shakespeare and the Classics - - intriguingly presented, all year round!




 Over a Decade of producing all the Classics you remember; 

Over a Decade of award-winning theatre you'll never forget

Honored by the presentation of the 2016 Metro Arts Alliance AWE Award for his work in founding our agency to:

Dr. Bruce Hughes (check out the Award video below!)

VIDEO: ISE founder Bruce Hughes Wins Metro's AWE Award particulary for his role in founding ISE!  HUZZAH!  




2016-2017 has sure been an award-winning year for ISE!

In addition to our Founder's 2016 AWE award, and to our Artistic Director's election as Dimmit Fellow and also a Humanities Iowa Fellow for scholarship in his field... 

ISE's 2016 FREE summer al fresco show

was listed at



! ! ! !   HUZZAH!  ! ! ! !

(Lots more info below!)




Yep - its FREE summer Shakespeare season again! 


These Nights Speak to You!

SEE FINAL UPDATED RAIN PLAN BELOW, for July 12 Wednesday show!  Updates made 5:45 pm on day of show. 




2017 DATES:

Sunday July 9 - 8 pm Curtain

Mon July 10 (Rain show only)

Tuesday July 11 - 8 pm Curtain

Wednesday July 12 - 8 pm Curtain

Doors open at 7 pm for

Picnics and Wine Bar



Lady Macbeth and her Pal, Megan


Currently it is 5:45 pm on Wednesday July 19. While the weather may be easing off a bit, unfortunately the chance for rain around showtime tonight still looks somewhat substantial at the time of this writing.  But we have GREAT NEWS!

We've worked with the Social Club all afternoon and we've succeeded in moving the show indoors on a moment's notice.

The show will be held at the Kum and Go Black Box Theatre INDOORS at the Des Moines Social Club.  Curtain remains at 8pm. 

You will find much more information on the Iowa Shakespeare Experience Facebook page, especially about picnics.  

Thanks for your support - this show is amazing and you simply do NOT want to miss it!  It will be even amazing in the intimate environment we have worked hard today to provide, in order to quickly move the show inside!

Don't Thou Miss This!  When ELSE are ya gonna see a LIVE Edinburgh Fringe Fest show without having to buy a ticket to Scotland! 

You say you can't make it to Scotland's world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?

THE largest and edgiest Arts Festival in the entire world?

Well - ISE has got Thou covered!  This summer only, you can get a FREE slice of the world's largest - and edgiest- theatre arts festival - - right here in Des Moines!  And did we mention? It's FREE!

In a one-of-a-kind unique summer season, before this funny, funny show crosses the ocean for Edinburgh this August, ISE proudly presents Lady Macbeth and her Pal, Megan!

Voted June 2017 as the winner of the "Audience Choice" of the Cincinatti Fringer Festival, read what the critics say about this remarkable play, below!

Co- produceed with the Des Moines Social Club, the PG13 show will unfold in the heart of downtown Des Moines in "under the stars" style - - right on the picnic-friendly ROOFTOP of the Social Club for 3 comedy-filled nights Sunday July 9 through Wednesday July 12. (Monday July 10 reserved as a raindate.)  

Some of Shakespeare's most famed characters will wander into this show which is presented with "stand-up comedy" flair. When a wholesome Iowan meets Lady Macbeth, what would Shakespeare say? Spoiler: She'll slay ya! 

Limited chairs are provided - reserve your seat with optional FREE Registration by going to the Des Moines Social Club Facebook page - click on "Events".  www.IowaShakespeare.org

There won't be another ISE summer season like this one!

Don't Thou Miss It!

(And see FAQs below for parking, weather, and other detailed information!)



Lady Macbeth and her Pal, Megan

on the Rooftop of the Social Club


Tell me more about this unique show!

What's the scoop about the plot this year?

Mixing in a bit of edgy flair with fine and funny writing, with the "Lady Macbeth" show, this year Iowa Shakespeare presents a unique way for audiences to "dip a toe" into Shakespearean waters and COOL off!  This way COOL show (-which still manages to stay "PG13"-) helps ISE meet part of our mission: to each year, find ways to help more and more audiences get introduced to Shakespeare- AND for experienced Shakespeare fans to find fresh, new ways to enjoy his works.  So you will meet up with several of Shakespeare's most famous characters this year!  And have a lot of laughs mixing it up!

The play asks the question: What happens when a sunny, wholesome Iowa girl is told she simply isn't "darkly moody" enough to be cast as Lady Macbeth?  Well- its murder!  Told with stand-up comedy verve, award-winning actress and stand up comic Megan Gogerty learns she must redefine a lot - for herself AND for us!

Mixing in classic comedy with feminist wit, the show also provides social commentary about our own times, just as Shakespeare did about his!  

What are the critics saying about "Lady Macbeth"? 

Actress and Playwright Megan Gogerty, of the University of Iowa's lauded Playwright's Workshop, is a winner of 3 (count-'em THREE!) New York City "Talkin' Broadway' awards, and a host of other awards on the New York Musical Theatre scene, too.  

Megan herself will star in this one-woman show about which critics are saying:

"Chock full of jokes... AND insight!"

Iowa City Little Village

"Come for the comedy, and stay for the life-changing moments... Trust me- this is a show you do not want to miss. It's powerful, and empowering, and poignant.  And its really, really funny!"

Iowa Theatre Blog


How do I find the Social Club?

The Des Moines Social Club is located in the heart of downtown Des Moines, Iowa, west of the River, near the Malo Restaurant at 900 Mulberry Street. 


What about parking?

Find metered parking anywhere on the streets all around the Social Club.  Many spots will be free at the hour the show takes place.  Note: if you pre-register, you won't have to lug a chair! (When you arrive, proceed to the Rooftop Bar.)

How do I register to ensure a free seat?

Simple!  Just go to the Facebook Page of the Des Moines Social Club and click on "Events"!  Registration is free and OPTIONAL, but this way, we will know to have a chair eady for you. 

What happens if it looks rainy, ultra-hot or cool or windy during the week of the show?

Iowa Shakespeare Experience shows go up in ALL hot weather, because our evenings are likely to cool down so that sometimes, you may still need a wrap!  However, in super chilly or ultra windy weather (and of course if there is rain) we utilize several ways of proceeding.  We may hold the show anyway if there is only light or scattered rain, we may hold the show indoors, or we may cancel the run (sometimes in advance) of a particular show date, and opt to hold that particular show on our Raindate instead. This year our Raindate is Monday July 10, so prior to that date, check this website to see if we are using it.  

Meanwhile, if there are weather issues which we will act on, a "Blue Weather Box" appears HERE, with as much information as we can provide (at that time) about what to do.  Do keep in mind that if weather blows in suddenly on the day of a show, it may take us a bit to get information posted.  Also note: except in very rare cases where the forecast predictions are clearly certain, ISE will ALMOST NEVER call a show prior to 5pm on the day of the show.  

Is this amazing show really FREE?

Yep!  ISE is proud to present nearly 15 years of summer Shakespeare and nearly 10 years of keeping it FREE! A free summer Shakespeare program helps Des Moines "keep up with the Jones'" in the manner of the "Gold Standard" for summer Shakespeare all over the world!

Because picnic-friendly and FREE is the name of the game on the world-wide Shakespeare scene, along with an increasing presence of Shakespeare-based "mash ups" and adaptations, keeping the Bard fresh for today's modern audiences.  Rotating between traditional classic Shakespearean works and exciting new adaptations and fresh takes, each unique year, ISE keeps Des Moines on the cultural front lines! 

So sure, we'll have our trusty "pass the hat" Bard Bucket at the door because so many great folks want to voluntarily support us with donations and coin of the realm- - and of course as a non-profit, we appreciate that more than we can say!  [But as the Bard would say:  "Thanks, thanks and ever thanks!" (Tweltfh Night III iii)].  But the Bard Basket IS entirely voluntary, and the show IS free free free!  



Hang on to your garlic:  Here's a review of our 2016 sell-out show




Here's the scoop:  

Scroll below to buy tickets

--and sign up to take part in iSE's exciting new MOVIE version of this great show!



Featuring the original ISE hit play 

Dracula Evermore;

Diaries of the UnDead

-inside another NEW


Gothic Mansion !

The Mansion on Grand / 3520 Grand Ave, Des Moines

In 2016 four shows are open to the public

on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays

October 20-28

Curtain 7:15

- Pre-show, enjoy a Complimentary Light Soup Supper from 6:45 -

Do drop in - - for a Bite!


It's a Sultry, Sophisticated 2 Act play exploring the authentic Bram Stoker...

... Convivial Intermission with Complimentary Treats and Cider

Cash Donation Wine Bar  /   Costumes Welcome

Superb Value: Tickets from $20 to $30 or $30-$40 VIP; $5 extra at the door 

TO PURCHASE DISCOUNTED TICKETS (save on door prices!) and for Driving Directions, info about the awesome NEW SCRIPT CHANGES for 2016 plus FAQs and about our 2017 MOVIE, go here:


(Universe is an extraordinary state of the art new ticket sales system - You'll love it!  But should there be any troubles with the link, no worries:

Just go to Universe.com 


and "Search" or "Browse Events" for Iowa Shakespeare Experience -

We'll pop right up! )




You WILL.......




Check out recent shows and Critics Comments below!


2015: Great Crowd at Inaugural Terrace Hill Festival show!



In July 2016 the Festival unfolded on

3 Great stages Metro-wide

and on 4 FREE nights,

over 2 summer weekends:

July 22-30


(Remember:  our new summer festival is announced in Spring each year- on or near Shakespeare's April Birthday!

Meanwhile, enjoy this review of summer 2016 - a summer to remember!

You'll find professional critics comments, cast recognition and more...


Midsummer Magic-

-Evenings of


Love & Laughter 

...for Date Night, Friends and Family!



The critics have spoken!  Experienced Reviewer and Classic Arts expert Bruce Carr (reviews pubiished in the Des Moines Register and elswhere) called ISE's various 2016 plays and actor accomplishments:  "exceedingly clever", "highly entertaining" and "touching".  

And of course, New York City Playwright Dianna Rissetto, Coordinator of the Cambridge University International Shakespeare Short Play Festival and the judge's panels of Cambridge England lauded ISE's 2016 "Thrice Told Tales'  Play as Number 5 on their list of 8 favorites from all around the world... in a "once-in-every-400 years contest that was one of the largest international short play festivals held for Shakespearean Adaptations!  Congratulations to ISE's own Lorenzo Sandoval, Artistic Director and playwright, for your extraordinary work!

Audiences raved too:  "Wow I can see why that play won!" "Did NOT want the evening to end!"  "We are coming back next year for sure!"  And perhaps the comment that sums in up in a way that makes us chuckle most:  From S.V. of Des Moines: "When you said you were going to present 3 plays in one night I thought I just might not have that much Shakespeare in me!  Boy was I wrong!  The evening just whizzed by, it all was great and I did not want it to be over! Keep up the great work!"

ISE's season 2016 was Funded in Part by The Iowa Arts Council and

Bravo Greater Des Moines

As always... Always FREE!


 From ISE's Romeo and Juliet:  The Masked Ball and The Stolen Kiss


How did ISE join in the 2016 worldwide

Anniversary celebrations of 400 years of the Bard?

By making sure we had a line up worthy of his legend - and of his legendarily creative legacy with original shows, that's how!


Meanwhile, enjoy these terrific photos- Terrace Hill never looked better!


ABOVE: One of the magestic scenes from ISE's 2016 "Shakesperience Festival"...

... presenting "Shakespeare Under the Stars" at Terrace Hill!

The scene is from the original ISE play "Romeo and Juliet Thrice Told Tales" - a script which was called "delightful" "charming" "laugh out loud" funny, "thoughtful" and "satisfying" by an international panel of judges in one of the world's largest festivals of Shakespearean adaptation out of Cambridge England- where the script was ranked as Number Five best internationally!



ABOVE: 2016 Pre-show  entetainment by Jazz Diva Tina Haase Finlay saw crowds so enormous they spontaneously created a "balcony section" high on the hill- and the view was GREAT! 


To honor the Bard's creativity in his special 400th year, Shakesperience Festival 2016 featured 3 different original ISE plays performed in Repertory.  Above is a scene from the play "Tales from Eden", which critics called " delightfully entertaining".




So as our 2016 Centerpieee production, we joyfully reprised ISE's acclaimed original adaptation of

 "Romeo and Juliet; Thrice Told Tales" ...

... a original play that in an international contest in Cambridge (yes, THAT Cambridge!)...  

- -a contest held to honor Shakespeare's 400 year Annivesary being celebtrated  this year all over the (ahem) Globe - -  

took the NUMBER FIVE (in the world!) slot in international competition for best Script

Said the international reviewrrs:  "I laughted out loud" in this "charming" and "thoughtful" play- with a "most romantic satisfying ending! "


July 29 and 30; 7:30 pm!

~ ~


What if Romeo and Juliet did NOT die so tragically young- - and were married like the rest of us?  It's a story of all that's sweetest about love's most legendary couple- with delightful twists and turns requiring the acting expertise of THREE different Romeo and Juliet pairs!  As Iowa's own legendary great actor Mike Cornelison said, while creating the initial male lead role for this oriignal Sandoval play in our initial premiere of this show in 2004 (and gave us the great privelege of quoting him):

"The single best original Shakesperean adaptation I have ever seen!"

(Mike Cornelison, Married Romeo, 2004)

Well, with support like that, it's been too long since this play was seen- and audiences have  frequently been requesting it! In fact, in honor of 2016's "Year of the Bard" and Shakespeare;s posiiton as the World's most lauded Playwright, ISE plans to publish this play nationally after this run.  So this Festival show comprises  a true celebration of the muse of Shakespeare! And in that vein, in addition to this 60 minute Play and our trademark infusions of Ballet, Opera and other live music, Shakesperience Festival 2016 also featured 2 other ORIGINAL plays featuring the theme of summer love:

"Tales from Eden"

- a reprise of our hit adaptation of

Mark Twain's Dairies of Adam and Eve,

plus a reveal of our


original short play


(all 2016 plays and adaptations by ISE's own Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA)

IN SUM: Summer of 2016 honors the Bard's special Anniversary year with a full line up of original Shakesperean-inspired work --

its a festive celebration  of legend, love and laughter- indeed!  



Background:  As part of ISE's long term mission to increasingly showcase the "Best of the Best" of Iowa's classical performing artists (launched by Miss Iowa during our pivotal 2013 Fifth Anniversary Season when we expanded to become Shakesperience Festival of the Classical Performing Arts, in each succeeding season, ISE has brought in from 1-5 special visiting Guest Artist(s) each year.  Additionallly, since from the beginning part of ISE's core mission has been to help develop new Shakesperean artists, ISE has always included youth artists and interns in our production seasons.  Thus, at this time, we are excited to annouce our following special guest artists:

ISE's 2016 Visiting Guest Artist:  Hunter Menken

Mr. Menken is a sophomore in the Theatre Department of the University of Iowa.  As Mr. Menken first came to ISE as an ISE visiting youth artist from Charles City Iowa prior to his college work, his will be a familiar face to ISE audiences - he previously played a most remarkable (and most physical) Caliban in ISE's 2014 production of The Tempest.  In 2016 we are delighted to have Hunter return to us after now being enmeshed in studies for his professional career.  This summer, Hunter will play Lanny in Amuse-Buche. Welcome back Hunter!

ISE's 2016 Special Youth Artist:  Elizabeth Napier

Ms.Napier is a sophomore at Valley High School.  Ms. Napier will play the Narrator in Amuse-Buche and will also serve as a company vocalist for the 2016 show.  Welcome Elizabeth!





Friday-Saturday July 29 and 30

Gates open at 6 for picnics; Curtain at 7:30


The Great Lawn and in the "Rosegarden"


The Iowa Governor's Mansion


Historic Terrace Hill



ISE's sought-after traveling Pre-view Shows take place

"Corner to Corner" across the entire Metro...

in the far NorthWest Suburbs and in the far South East suburbs;


Friday July 22 with

The Waukee Arts Council


CityPark in Waukee


Saturday, July 23

On the Lawn 


Historic Randleman House,




Next Up for Season 2016-2017:

The "ISE INDOORS" Line up...

...featuring shows back yet AGAIN

by true popular demand!

Our sell-out audiences just cannot get enough of these extraordinary unique shows! 

Always with all new features that freshly surprise each season, you won't want to miss out on what hundreds and hundreds of Iowans are making annual Holiday traditions! So come join the party inside Iowa's Governor's Mansion - its a theatre adventure like none other! 




(More information and dates tba fall 2016):



ISE's Dracula: Diaries of the UnDead

Performed amidst scores of lit pumpkins inside two Salons at the Iowa Governor's Mansion, all decked out in spooktacular fashion for the annual  "Halloween on the Hill"





Iowa's best Holiday Tradition Continues!

with the First Lady's presnetation of ISE's Sell-out hit 

A Christmas Carol

The beloved Theatrical Adventure returning again to 8 beautifully-decorated

Salons and Rooms of Terrace Hill






It's THE Christmas event that provides ALL you've ever wanted in a 

Holiday Show! This unique version of the famous story of

Tiny Tim


Ebeneezer Scrooge

is personally presented each year

by Iowa's First Lady-

as a Holiday Gift to all Iowans.

So come unwrap your present-  this unforgettable evening is one you will always treasure~






These extraordinary

Holiday show experiences are

Theatrical Adventures ---


And ISE shows almost always

sell out early...  

...So watch for a NEW Ticket Outlet for these ISE INDOORS shows when tickets go on sale this fall!









Come 2017, ISE will be

continuing its current growth into the 

all "Iowa" part of our name!

Here's our newest news story!

ISE has long offered a "Corner to Corner" Festival for the Capital's Metro area - - for many years now providing both a central Mainstage plus traveling outreach shows that have taken the Bard directly into outlying neighborhoods like Ankeny, Waukee and Carlisle ... plus Windsor Heights and West Des Moines.

And, we've consistently demonstrated our Vision -and actual growth!- into (over time), becoming a true Capital City showcase of the "best of the best" of cross-Iowa performers of the classical arts - begining back in the summer of 2013 to bring in top visiting artists from around the state.  Indeed, that part of our work was kicked off that summer by none other than the reigning Miss Iowa herself, who hosted our festival that year.  Every season since we've showcased terrific visiting Iowa Artists.

But starting in 2017 and consistent with our Festival's move to the Iowa Governor's Mansion and with our corresponding vision to expand the summer FREE offerings there into a true showcase of "the Best of the Best" of the classical performing Arts in Iowa,

in summer 2017

ISE hits the Rivers!

It's ISE's inaugural River to River tour!

Yep- watch this space for EXCITING NEWS about ISE summer 2017 traveling shows, being scheduled this year for unveiling in western Iowa in Sioux City - - and in Eastern Iowa (in a soon-to-be-announced location) as well!

Fly us to the Moon and Let us play among the Stars...

Oh, so you want more?  Well - A bit of backstory, then:  


You see, ISE is still a notably young agency- only about a decade old overall, and merely 8 years old as a registered Non Profit.  And most of the country's free Shakespeare Festivals (like our FREE Sister Festivals in Omaha and Kansas City) have fully 25-35 years on us!.  

So, while this goal has long been in our long-term strategic plan, ISE is thrilled to announce that we are actually growing into the "Iowa" part of our name faster than we ever dreamed!  

For in 2016, ISE has had the deep honor of having our own Artistic Director, Lorenzo Sandoval, selected as Dimmitt Fellow --a teaching role in which he will be in Artistic Residence at Morningside College for 5 months starting January 2015.  Lorenzo's assumption of that ntirely unexpected ehonor fell practically ON the dates of the Bard's big 400th "birthdays" - so we figure its a Bard Birthday present - - extraordinarie!

In this internationally-sourced Fellowship (the last guy was from China!), Lorenzo has been invited to inaugurate the full semester length version of this new visiting scholar program, so he'll be teaching across multiple college disciplines from the vantage point of theatre.

And as such, we are completely delighted to announce we are already initiating many collaborations for producing works AND for traveling our summer festival shows up to the lovely outdoor amphitheatre(s) in Sioux City,on Iowa's western river .  Additionally, soon, we expect to be able to announce corresponding traveling work that will go to Iowa's eastern riversides, too!  

And the icing on the cake?  These traveling shows will not only create new traditions for ISE, but will also foster wonderful collaborative symetries which will allow us to bring more and more "Best of the Best" of Iowa performers back home for a visit to our neck of the woods, too!

What better vision for a performing arts series at Iowa's Governor's Mansion- 

being able to showcase Iowa's Best of the Best in its Capital city!


In sum:  As you can likely imagine, keeping things of this scope free, folks, is an achievement that takes some doing! So this exciting upcoming season is a River to River Celebration indeed!  

2017 will truly be a summer to remember!  Featuring Guest Directors and all sorts of surprises (plus ISE's trademark multicultural and bi-lingual endeavors too) we will give you one enticing hint at this time as to all the merriment soon to unfold next summer

-- because at that time, in summer 2017, ISE will produce:


-- The Vegas Concert!

And with Sinatra, Sammy and Deano ob board plus of course, THE KING -- 

having now produced so many big audience favorites, true to our mission, ISE will start to create exciting entry points for some of Shakespeare;s lesser known works!

All of which is to say: you will NOT want to miss this one, folks- - 

It will be a SIZZLING swinging summer!

And we'll NEED those Rivers-- to cool off!


~  ~  ~  

So fo keep up with all the news for Season 2016 and beyond, scroll above to hit the

"Big Yellow Buttons"

(currently being updated as of April 2016...)

for much more about ISE shows and seasons-- or scroll below for the latest news and a recap concerning all of ISE's exciting growth! 






are we growing!

There's always more from ISE!



You'll find a host of exciting announcements

...plus news of past Seasons


all sorts of fun and useful articles, facts and figures such as

earlier issues of

"ISE by the Numbers" 


"Horatio's Corner"

plus the ever popular

"Bard Blog".

All below - 





 Left to Right:  ISE Executive Director Robin Heinemann and Iowa's First Lady Chris Brandstad publically announce the news described below at Terrace Hill; July 2015



Regarding the First Lady's 2016 Announcment of the Terrace Hill expanding Partnership with ISE THE 2015 SUMMER FESTIVAL LINE UP - -

Here's the "REST OF THE STORY" ...


as first announced June 2015:


An "Insiders" Mini-blog Narrative -

- -especially for all of those who have been emailing and calling,

wanting to know MORE!

~ ~ ~ 

"I have had a most rare vision; I have had a dream..." 


W. Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream Act IV


 Left to Right:  ISE Executive Director Robin Heinemann and Iowa's First Lady Chris Brandstad publically announce the news described below at Terrace Hill; July 2015


We need to start this Mini-Blog with a brief trip down memory lane- to the initial beginnings of the theatre company now known today as The Iowa Shakespeare Experience (ISE).

Because the reason our 2015 season is so exciting has to do with the important way in which our very special 2015 show fits right into ISE's entire purpose for being -  ISE's mission to truly serve our state and the community.  

Born to bring central Iowa up to speed with the cultural offerings of over 250 different cities in America where FREE Shakespeare is the "gold standard" of what most communities hope for for their Shakespeare programs ( - including midwestern cities like Kansas City and Omaha and Iowa's Quads, where FREE Shakespeare has been offered for decades...)  - - and following several other years spent innovatively bringing Shakespeare back to the attentions of central Iowans after a void of many years, The Iowa Shakespeare Experience as we know it today was born in 2009 with a mission of providing a to-scale, annual summer Shakespeare festival -- a festival that would always be presented free for all to attend.

Since then, we have been off and running.

And, the changes that you see in the 2015 season actually all first began in 2013!

In fact, those paying attention at that time will not be surprised in the least by all of our upcoming exciting growth!  You would have seen it coming- and we thank the many folks who have been so very encouraging to us all along the way!

As our crowds will well remember, in 2013 The Iowa Shakespeare Experience attained a remarkable achievement.  In an extra special festival season hosted by Miss Iowa across multiple venues (from our original home in Simon Estes Amphitheater to the Rollins Mansion to traveling suburban stages), to celebrate the occasion of our 5th year of providing free Shakespeare for all (and our 10th year of producing innovative local theatre in innovative places) ISE kicked off the first of the many types of expansions which would be expected of a small theatre company with a mission to steadily grow so as to increasingly serve more and more people from across our entire state.

For in 2013, we marked our Fifth Anniversary by kicking off our expansion into producing not "just" Shakespeare, but also the full array of the many other art forms which he so influenced - - from Opera to Ballet to String Quartet.  

So in 2013, we expanded our signature project (central Iowa's primary source of regularly produced free theatre on a featured area stage) from being "Shakesperience Festival" to now being

The Shakesperience Festival of the Classical Performing Arts

While the tradition of an outdoor Shakespeare play presented FREE for all to enjoy will always, ALWAYS remain central to the activities of Shakesperience Festival - as it is a summer tradition for peoples of all corners of the world - as we continue to move forward, ISE audiences will start to find the festival growing in other avenues as well.

Our inspiration and "road map" for growing in this way has come from our colleagues at the Genesius Festival in Iowa's Quad Cities.  Genesius Fest has 50 years of growth on us - - (ISE is still a very young newbie to the field, after all!) but Genesius is a magnificent free festival that now presents nearly a month and a half of free shows all across the classical arts - - with several full weekends comprising everything from a full weekend of free outdoor opera, a full weekend of free outdoor ballet, and of course, other weekends of free outdoor Shakespeare and other classical plays.

Well you see- Genesius is where Lorenzo Sandoval, our Artistic Director, got his start on the Shakespearean boards.  How could we not want to work to provide this kind of truly robust, multi-day cross-disciplinary festival model to Iowa's Capital City!  This model has always been in the back of our minds- and has comprised the road map for our extraordinary Board from the first days of our founding.  (Btw, you can see a few updates on our Board member's work in the wider community much further below, in another section of this page.)

Accordingly, ISE's original partners in our first forays into this type of expansion were featured in the innovative 2013 Three-show Repertory season: those initial partners were the wonderful Belin String Quartet of Des Moines Civic Music, and the terrific dancers of Ballet Des Moines.   

So it was that in 2013, ISE's original "Shakesperience Festival" component debuted into Iowa's  "Shakesperience Festival of the Classical Performing Arts." And in fact, despite recession, flood, heat wave and mini-tornados, we hadn't stoped growing ever since our first FREE festival was first launched back in 2009.  

For along the way, we've kicked off forays into all sorts of new growth avenues -producing demonstration projects that spoke to our capacities and dreams.  This included the early achievement of having mastered the challenges of producing full back-to-back Repertory Seasons - -to now having become a year-round theatre agency that now offers off-season ticketed indoor shows to help raise ticket income funds to keep the summer festival free.  While all the while, still staying a notably lean, tiny agency (as is necessary to keep cost low enough to produce large scale theatre for free...) we are the "Little Engine That Could" theatre of central Iowa - and we are continually becoming more and more well known for our "can do" spirit, our grit, our grace - and our gumption!

Indeed, because the story of any new successful arts program is usually one of careful growth and planful development and change, our current story is just beginning. 

So this miniblog will give you a hint of what' s been going on "behind the curtain" and of what's to come- - just continue to read on for the full scoop ...and for so many fun details! 

- - - 

You see - as we start to fill you in on 2015 changes, we refer back to the 2013 season for a reason.  That's because as promised in 2013, ISE's initial expansion at that time - - into what is now "Shakesperience Festival of the Classical Performing Arts" - - was set to pave the way for more step-by-step expansion and growth to come, so that ISE can continue to carefully, slowly and surely grow into our mission:

The ISE Publlic Service Mission:

As a Premier Provider of quality-

classic theatre and free al fresco and innovative artistic programming

in Central Iowa...

We preserve and honor the traditions of classical theatre

- - and of the al fresco and innovative performing arts - -

through the creation of historically appropriate

as well as fresh and bold

interpretations of classic works,

presenting these works to foster memorable experiences

and engage strong new connections between audiences and the arts,

opening these works towards the diversity of American culture,

while supporting regional economic development, 

the development of new classical talent and 

measurable educational outcomes...

... using the abiding memory and works of

William Shakespeare

as our Standard, our Centerpiece..,

...and our constant



All of this means that our 2015 Season is the

harbinger of the next new big phase of careful ISE festival growth.

Here is the exciting backstory about what's currently happening -

and it has to do with where our shows will be presented in the future-

and with the expanding content of those shows we'll offer up.

What's been happening is this.  And it has to do with something central to all theatres- the need to have an appropriate stage on which to do the work.

Well - - Here at Iowa Shakespeare, we always knew how extremely, extremely fortunate we have been to have been able to present our initial first seasons in collaboration with the City of Des Moines on the glorious Simon Estes Amphitheatre stage.  In fact, we became the city's official Shakespeare Festival back in 2010 -and we will always treasure our past and future partnerships with the great folks in the City's Parks and Special Events departments. 

As challenging as that beautiful, beautiful Simon Estes stage has been (heck, that particular stage has no backstage, for example, and it was designed FOR flooding as that stage was a flood control funded project!) this has been  and remains an extraordinary "first home" for our festival. And we know that in the future, we will again often be back at Simon Estes with more exciting partnerships with our founding sponsor, the City of Des Moines, as the whole festival continues to grow with many diverse sites coming more and more into play.

But at the same time, we've always been aware that to truly grow in accordance with our mission, we would need also to eventually, find a more stable "stage home".  An "umbrella home", if you will, which could house the entire festival and its multiple moving pieces "as a whole".

Because as the new Riverwalk area has gradually come more and more "on line" starting with the Riverwalk's final completion last year in 2014, there are now more and more competing events in and near Simon Estes - -and the bustling, increasingly noisy and sometimes distracting downtown Riverwalk area is not suitable for all of the types of work we wish to present. 

While the Riverwalk likely can always host a lively comedy with great aplomb, our visionary Board has known that for those aspects of quieter, more contemplative theatre and fine art offerings- -  such as Shakespeare's tragedies or presentations of classical poetry, opera and strings - - there would be a call for a venue more suited to serene pieces of that nature.

Accordingly, since our founding, our organization has always envisioned a "virtual festival"approach, where we are not limited to merely one venue, but instead, where we foster presentations at all sorts of "best of the best" venues all across the Metro (and indeed, eventually, all across our entire state, as we continue to grow our highly popular traveling show programs wider and wider afield.)

So from ISE beginnings, we've envisioned a growing festival, carefully aligned with our potent strategic plan - - a free festival which can truly serve more and more Iowans as we grow over the years, just like given the appropriate community support, our colleagues in other cities have grown.  

And while sure, we will start adding scattered and strategic ticketed ("paid") events along withg maintaining our popular for-purchase VIP seating options in order to bring in funds neccessary to support the work, for the most part, yep, we do plan to continue the festival always for FREE!  

So ISE has always planned to over time, steadily expand our season to match those of most of our outdoor theatre colleagues, such as that of our revered colleagues of the Genesius Guild of the Quad Cities, where as noted above, our Founding Director got his own start as a young teen actor just starting to take on the Bard!  At Genesius - - -as in many of the nation's premier Shakespeare festivals - - outdoor free classical arts events take place across an multiple week summer season in a fairly secluded park.  (Be sure to check out and support the terrific work of the Genesius Guild - true pioneers of Iowa's arts scene now five decades strong!)

Accordingly, Season 2015 thus represents the next phase of our growth

- into all of these directions.

Here's "the thing" about Season 2015:

Season 2015 is A PILOT PROGRAM for festival growth to come.

For an extraordinary thing has happened on the way to fulfilling our vision.  The First Lady of Iowa has taken note of our aim to provide this type of "to-scale" free classical arts program for our entire state- and early this year, she formally issued a personal request to us to continue our next phase of growth in partnership with the Iowa Governors Mansion, known to many as "Terrace Hill". 

Obviously, we are deeply, deeply honored by this wonderful opportunity! This new opportunity will "jump start" our growth even faster than we'd been planning - and it will also herald a new phase of growth for historic Terrace Hill as the Governor's Mansion begins to take its place as a growing beacon of culture for our state.  

While its too soon for us to announce all the additional details of our new and expanding partnership with historic Terrace Hill, this summer of 2015 ISE as an organization will take our place as an Executive Producer of a new expanding classical arts line up for a new outdoor summer arts season at Terrace Hill that will fully premiere in 2016 - along with our continued (and growing) role in producing indoor salon style theatre there, too.   

Accordingly, in 2015 we'll produce our summer season event in coordination with the existing Jazz in July program now hosted by Terrace Hill - so that  2015 audiences can look forward to a terrific two-day back-to-back line up of glorious outdoor picnics and cultural events on that beautiful, cool shady lawn that is a home for all Iowans.

- - -

You will find even more details about all this growth a bit further below.  But first, we want to make something very clear from the very start.  You see, when we say that Terrace Hill is a home for ALL Iowans, we really, really mean it!

We mean it for all cultures - and our work and plans to ensure that Shakesperience Fest is inclusive and relevant to ALL of Iowa's cultural heritage is noted a bit further below.

But we mean it for those of all manner of political persuasions, too. 

It is important to keep in mind that no matter which governing body is administratively in charge in any given year, that Terrace Hill itself is "party-less"! And, ISE works with Terrace Hill in its role as an architectural landmark treasure  - not in any other way.  

For Terrace Hill as one of Iowa's most important architectural heritage sites truly belongs to all of us, no matter which political party we are a part of.  So please know that ISE's work at Terrace Hill takes place completely free of any political affiliation. 

Accordingly, ALL ISE programs - -100 percent of them- - are always completely non-political in nature-  in fact, we've operated at Terace Hill under 3 different political adminstrations now representing both political parties - - under 3 different Iowa Governors and in close association with 3 different Iowa First Ladies.

And it is our great privilege to have done so ...and to continue now looking ahead to working with many future Terrace Hill administrations, too. 

You see, funds raised for the cultural programming of ISE at Terrace Hill go to not just keeping the Shakesperience festival free for all Iowans, but also to maintaining the historic Terrace Hill mansion as specifically a home for us ALL!  

These are cultural causes we can ALL get behind - no matter who we are.  These are ALL IOWA causes- and ISE's notably diverse crowds are a continued testament to that point.   This is YOUR summer cultural offering - its the WILL OF THE PEOPLE festival, and nothing about that will change.

- - - 

In sum, it is terrifically exciting that under the personal leadership of First Lady Chris Branstad and her staff, that Terrace Hill now grows from an architectural Mansion long beloved as one of Iowa's most notable homes - -  to increasingly now take its place as a true cultural home for all Iowans, as well.  

Indeed, there is a wonderful "through line" of the classical performing arts now unfolding at Terrace Hill.  Long a home of the Terrace Hill classical piano competition (a competition not coincidentally first established years ago by First Lady Chris Branstad), hosting ISE's summer festival will now link ISE's growing indoor classical play presence with an increasingly clear narrative of Terrace Hill's emerging role in showcasing the broad array of the classical arts which thrive here in Iowa due to "homegrown" Iowa talent. 

And as we all start to announce this new phase of summer festival growth and overall cultural growth for both ISE and for Terrace Hill, it is with this specific aim in mind:  ISE and Terrace Hill are partnering up to now work together in a new way.  Together, these two non-profits (ISE and the new Terrace Hill Partnership non-profit) will now be actively working to create a new open program that truly showcases the span of cultural riches extant here in Iowa - to match and rival the types of other "all state" showcase programs that other states often provide.

More about our vision for this new phase of ISE and Terrace Hill programming is found below. 

- - -

Meanwhile,  obviously a lot of planning has to go into something of this broad nature!

So at this particular point in time, its still far too early to go into many of the exciting details that are now under close discussion, which are benefiting from the direct leadership of Chris Branstad, the longest serving First Lady in the United States.

But here's what we CAN tell Iowans so far:

you'll get a taste of what's to come at ISE 2015 event.

The July 8 2015 event is designed to be a true sampler

of festival content to come!

You see, the ISE 2015 event at Terrace Hill has been specifically designed as a "smorgasbord teaser" of the types of content direction into which we expect the new Terrace Hill festival to grow.  Expect a deliberately eclectic evening of wonderful tasty treats!

It all points to what is ahead.  

So as far as what lies ahead goes, be sure to watch for more exciting information to be unveiled about ISE's upcoming 2016 summer show season at Terrace Hill.

No, we can't tell you about it all at this time.  There's a lot of work to be done- and our crystal ball doesn't look out into the future quite that far!  In particular, we can't yet predict how fast we'll be bringing new types of entertainment like free Opera or ballet more firmly on line.

But what we can tell you at this time is exciting enough!  You see, the full premiere of the new Shakesperience Festival at Terrace Hill will be launched in 2016 with a premiere of our soon-to -be-published "New" Shakespearean work "Thrice Told Tales" at a very special event indeed!

Now, "Thrice Told Tales" is a marvelously original Lorenzo Sandoval adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet". With funding support for this adaptation just recently announced in the latest round of the prestigious Iowa Arts Council grant awards, the story tells the tale of what might have happend if Romeo and Juliet had not died as teens but instead, had gone on to get married like the rest of us!  It is a wonderfully funny yet sweet and meaninful play featuring 3 different "pairs" of Romeo and Juliets at various ages -that we will fondly reprise for the 2016 festival - - always remembering that the legendary actor Mike Cornelison was one of the play's earliest supporters.

So, "Romeo and Juliet Thrice Told Tales" will be the play featured at all the "Doings" to unfold next year.

And- - this premiere of the new full blown festival at Terrace Hill will launch at the  upcoming National Governors Conference - - a key national event which will take place at Terrace Hill in summer 2016.  

We can't wait for the privelege of being invovled with this extraordinary event- and each of you is invited, too!

What will happen in 2016?  

First, ISE will have the great honor to present an inaugural showing of "Thrice Told Tales" at a private event for all the nation's governors.  

But then, the private showing will  be followed by a series of "Thrice Told" shows fully open to the public over a variety of different evenings on the Great Lawn of Terrace Hill - -and of course, all offered to all of central Iowa free of charge!

In other words, our regular multi-day festival line up will be back in 2016 in full force- - all presented at that time right there in the cool shady lawns and gardens of Iowa's beautiful Terrace Hill landmark property.  

So 2016 will truly be a summer to remember!  Make plans NOW to be there - and at all sorts of VIP events that will unfold over the next few years to support this exciting new Terrace Hill cultural program!

In sum, no worries.  In 2016 ISE will be right back to our trademark festival format of offering multiple FREE evenings of Shakesperean theatre at Terrace Hill and elsewhere - - plus over time, many other evenings of other FREE classical arts presentations, too!  

- - -

Friends and supporters (actors, audience members, donors and grant funders alike-) this exciting new growth is due to YOU!  We are so grateful to you all for believing in us, and for working with us to get to this very exciting phase of growth!  We are particularly honored by  (-in preparation for the multi-phasic growth of the festival in years ahead-) last year's gift of its web mechanics that were donated to us by our colleagues at the former ArtStop agency - but one example of so many important and specific boosts we are so grateful to have been recieving.

We are so thankful for all the innumerable levels of grace and support that would be required for any agency to get this far.  

Because of course we are deeply honored by this amazing opportunity- and you see, summer 2015 is the "stepping stone year" that allows us time to continue our careful strategic planning to grow in this way,  so as to grow over time to truly serve Iowans all across our state for free, showcasing our state's amazing artistic riches.  (And create ever-more paying jobs for Iowa Artists, too!)


- - -

Because this is, of course, about all of us growing together!  We sincerely want all of you involved in this exciting time of growth and change! 

Accordingly, Summer 2015 is being thoughtfully planned to garner specific Iowan input as to new directions for this festival - -and to foster input as to art forms that Iowans would particularly like to see presented at Terrace Hill, in addition to the classics centered by William Shakespeare.  Indeed, ongoing focus groups will soon be planned with various Stakeholder organizations all across the state. 

Thus, 2015 audiences who attend the July 8 show will be cordially invited to kick off the focus group and audience input cycle!  July 8 audiences will be invited to provide specific feedback as part of a short "after-show" discussion circle, during this very special evening that will be personally hosted by Iowa's First Lady Chris Branstad.  On July 8, we'll also be piloting various new ideas for use of the grounds.  

- - -

A few more behind the scenes notes about the 2015 summer show.  First, to foster an atmosphere where we can gather audience feedback and explore using the grounds, while keeping the 2015 show free as always, know that we are deliberately keeping the particular 2015 show an intimate one.  Our special 2015 audience size will be that which will allow all attendees a chance to better participate in the feedback  and input planning process.   And, since this is a one-night-only show that we won't have a chance to run another evenging, we also want to make sure that we can bring the entire registered audience indoors should it happen to rain on this particular special night.

So while our audiences will grow back up to our usual "several hundred strong" sizes in 2016 and beyond, in 2015 we are deliberately keeping audience sizes small and intimate  Know that in advance - so you can be sure to register to attend early, before "the list" fills up!

Because for 2015 we are taking our cue from the way our colleagues at the New York Central Park Shakespeare festival do things - -to balance the limited space of their theatre with the throngs of prospctive attendees in the New York area.   There, tickets are free - but you must register early to attend.

So for 2015, we are requiring that 2015 attendees simply register (with Midwestix.com) to be on the FREE guest list for this one of a kind special evening - and to be part of the future of ISE and of a great new growth spurt for the arts in our state!   And, btw, the July 8 audiences will be limited to a "first come, first served" size of 50-100 people.  

Registration to attend the July 8 show for free will open the week of July 22 at Midwestix.com - just "sign up".   (Again, no fees are required - in fact, ISE will pay the Midwestix ticketing fees for you! And then bring your picnics and wine and attend as usual!  Feel free to bring picnic blankets or your own lawn chairs- but for this particular event, we will also be providing complimentary lawn chairs for you to use as well.  

There will be room starting at 5:30 pm for you to spread picnic blankets either near the stage or separately under the nearby shady oaks.  Then, at 7:00 we'll pull the more formal seating area together to start the show!

You'll enjoy a wonderful one act "sampler show" of classical arts treats "al fresco" along the lines of what's to come for the Shakesperience Festival in 2016 and beyond.  (More  about the specific 2015 show content is described below and  can also found under the "Big Yellow Buttons" above.)

But be sure to sign up early, as we can't reiterate this enough: audience size for 2015 WILL be limited!   Again, the Sign Up process at Midwestix is simple, free AND allows you to have a very special place on the "Ground floor"  of Iowa's continuing cultural growth!  Don't miss this remarkable evening! 

- - -

Click on the "Big Yellow Buttons" above to see the line up for the upcoming pilot show on Wednesday July 8.

Meanwhile,  below, find a "Sneak Preview" of what generally lies ahead for the festival overall, as we continue to grow this great cultural event in going forward. 





As ISE assumes a new role as Executive Producer of an annual outdoor summer classical arts program on the lawn at historic Terrace Hill,  we have had the great privilege of engaging in extended personal meetings with First Lady Chris Branstad and her wonderful personal staff, to kick off planning for the future of the new ongoing Terrace Hill program - a program yet to be officially named, but one which will be suited to the moniker something along the lines of "Iowa's First Family Presents".   Again, this new program is being specifically designed to go well into Terrace Hiil's future- to outlive any one single gubernatorial administration.  

So, things are progressing a pace- and a lot is in the works.  As such, its not completely possible to say exactly what the new arm of the festival will look like- or when various new elements will be fully brought on line.  And, as noted above, this summer we will be garnering additional feedback from Iowans in a focus group process that soon we will be taking across the state (so that this menu will likely be added to!).

But still, even at the present initial stages,  it is clear that future years for this festival will look something like this:

While the future festival will always have as its centerpiece presentations of the works of the greatest classical playwright of all time (none other than William Shakespeare!) in future years, we will continue to present not "just" his works directly, but also the works of the many other classical playwrights he so very much influenced -  as well as the works of other classical art forms he has influenced as well. 

Thus, as we kicked off in 2013, as this new initiative continues to grow, we will be presenting works of opera, ballet, poetry, music and other art forms which represent "the classics" - presented fully FREE of charge for all Iowans.   

So nothing has changed there - -and this part of our exciting mission continues!   Watch for many new and existing collaborations to foster this terrific growth!

Also, true to ISE mission, when we say we'll be presenting "the classics" - of course we mean that this new festival approach will continue to present the classics as influenced and defined by Iowans of ALL cultural heritages.  So when we say we will be presenting "the classics", we hope it goes without saying that our classical line up will include presentations of "the classics" from ALL cultures- watch for continued presentations of Shakespeare and other art works influenced certainly - - butalso watch for upcoming classical cultural infusions from other Iowa immigrant countries from all over the world.

In sum, in joining up with Terrace Hill to present a new annual FREE outdoor line up of the classical performing arts, we join the First Lady in a vision to present the classical art forms beloved of ALL Iowans- classics not just representative of the cultural greats from Europe, but from all the countries Iowa draws immigrants from.  

After all, almost uniquely among all artists worldwide, William Shakespeare himself is the artist most studied all across the world- including in ALL countries where the majority of Iowa immigrants have immigrated from.   Indeed, its important that one key cultural element which those new to Iowa are likely to have in common is the ability to recognize and respond to the name of William Shakespeare - and thus, Iowa Shakespeare's expertise with the works of this great artist is a perfect place on which to build a major classical arts festival for all Iowans - featuring the classical art forms of all of Iowa's diverse cultures. 

- - - BUT YES - - THERE'S STILL MORE! - - 

All of the growth and growth plans described above is very exciting!

But, in addition to all this, with a major arm of the Shakesperience Festival now to be presented on the lawn of Terrace Hill, watch for something more. 

That's because our new partnership at Terrace Hill notably will give ISE the opportunity to grow our "star system" approach to developing and presenting new and existing Shakespearean (and other) talent from all across the state!

For now, with this latest development in ISE Festival growth in partnership with Terrace Hill, we'll be able to grow ISE's up-and-comers program of "young talent" or developing talent.  

After all, ISE's mission is not just to present excellent existing professional talent. We do that routinely, of course.

But ISE's mission goes beyond that- part of our mission (embedded in concepts central to the mission statement above...) includes a goal of developing fresh new Shakespearean talent as well.  

Those watching our growth will find time after time when we have presented performers new to Shakespeare -and/or new to a major festival stage.  These performers have enriched our festivals tremendously - - often developing true "fan" bases in the process, or otherwise garnering the attention of other arts producers who keep an eye on the ISE stage.  

In fact, an article elsewhere on this page briefly chronicles the way in which some of those who have made an appearance on the ISE stage have burst out all over the cutlural scene  -so many of our alumni are so very very successful all over central Iowa and even beyond.   

But, beyond developing or emerging performers, with this next phase of festival growth, we can now start to expand beyond the development of Shakespearean talent into also showcasing the talents of other professional arts performers, too. 

Accordingly, with this next new spurt of festival growth, we also look forward to producing the growth of a new state-wide "Showcase" of EXISTING great talent from all across our entire state!  

This next new phase of Shakesperience Festival will thus include a tract where we'll work with Terrace Hill to develope a  "Best of the Best" showcae of talented Iowans engaged in both professional and student levels of work selected and invited from various artistic disciplines all over the general field which collectively comprises the classical performing arts!  Why not showcase some of Iowa's best collegiate performing talent on a Terrace Hill stage?  Why not showcase some of Iowa's best professorial teaching talent on a Terrace Hill stage?  Why not showcase some of Iowa's best professional talent from all over the entire state, on a Terrace Hill stage?

What would "Will" do?  We think given today's resources, he'd do exactly that! 

So as we go forward (and indeed, as a primary part of the July 8 pilot show) also start to watch for our development of a robust, rich and eclectic showcase of all of Iowa's classical performing arts talent!  

We are so excited about this new element of the festival, and can't wait to watch it start to grow.   Iowa has a veritable treasure trove of such artists- and Terrace Hill and the growing Shakesperience Festival will be the perfect place celebrate these cultural riches!  

- - -

So, watch for much more to come!   

And, know that the 2015 show event will be itself a "sneak peek"


of what is to come!



In closing, the 2015 summer show on Wednesday, July 8 (full line up on the "Big Yellow Buttons" above...)  will be one great big giant "sneak peek" into the many ways in which the Shakesperience Festival - and this new program of creating a cultural showcase at Terrace Hill - is scheduled to grow over the next few years! 

To foster this sneak peek of what is to come, First Lady Chris Branstad herself will personally help host the July 8 show, which will be MC-ed by none other than our old friend Puck, perhaps Shakespeare's most familiar classical character - as portrayed by our own Lorenzo Sandoval.

And mischievous, fun-loving spirit that he is, Puck will host a terrific and eclectically mixed 2015 line up! 

July 8 audiences will find something fun to suit every taste!   From Master Level artists who will be presenting samplers of classical lyrical opera to ballet, and to scenes and snippets of "Shakespeare's own "Best Bets"plays and sonnets, there will be something for all on July 8 - -and for all ages, too! 

And, the centerpiece of the Season 2015 July 8 show will be equally as exciting!  Foretelling of the upcoming growth discussed above regarding of a new festival showcase that can host an all-Iowan" best of the Best" from all over the Iowa Arts scene, the July 8 show will proudly present a sampling of two of Iowa's indisputable "best of the bests".

So this summer in 2015 ISE will foreshadow our growing "All Iowa Best of the Best" showcase by presenting not just one, but TWO bona fide "Iowa Best Bet" performers - - right here on the Terrace Hill stage.

First, this July 8 we will present Iowa's first peek at a new Iowa-based national premiere.   Coming out of Grinnell and the brainchild of internationally-recognized Iowa Artist Karin Stein, this Iowa Arts Council sponsored new project previews the spirit of America - - of ALL the Americas- -  with a taste of  the multi-cultural show "Americas3", a  musical and spoken word piece that spans the classics from all across the Americas-  the classics from the far southern reaches of South America to the far northern reaches of Canada - and everything in between. 

Americas3  is a project that has been in the works for many years up in Grinnell - and the project will soon start to travel all across America.  So see it here first- at YOUR Iowa Governor's Mansion - - in ISE's 2015 summer show!

(And specially for ISE 2015, Karin will also present a unique set of her own musical renditions of songs based in classical literature!  Thank you Karin, for your support of the Iowa Shakesperience Festival stage!)

Second, ISE's summer 2015 show will also present "the latest" in the "Best of the Best" work of one of ISE's long time special friends.  Festival fans will quickly recognize the name of the legendary Tina Haase Findlay, a Diva of the classics of the Cole Porter era - - a Diva who Shakesperience Festival was very very fortunate to have as our Musical Director for our first two festival years.   Indeed, with Tina as a past or current headliner for almost every festival around (she's headlined everything from the Des Moines Arts Festival to this year's FairFest in Fairfield...) fans from all across Iowa will know Tina's name.

But - - did you know this?  Exciting news!  Hot off the Presses! While it certainly will not surprise her many fans, Tina (along with husband Brandon Findlay, a noted area guitarist...) were JUST picked to represent our entire state at an upcoming national Blues Festival in Knoxville, TN.  

So, as a "sneak peek" of the way in which at Terrace Hill, Shakesperience Festival will now start to increasingly showcase Iowa's "Best of the Best".  ISE's 2015 show will also feature a teaser set from Tina and Brandon.  Tina and Brandon will be performing the tune they intend to compete with while representing Iowa at the national festival - along with reprising some of Tina's original Shakespearean-based songs written especially for Shakesperience  Festival in our early days.  We LOVE having Tina back at the festival again- she's been with us either as a Musical Director and stage performer in our plays or as a festival pre-show act for many many years. 

- - -


Well!  This has been a long and hopefully very informative post!   We hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into some of the "behind the scenes" planning for the continued growth of Shakesperience Fest -- central Iowa's primary source of regularly produced free classical theatre on a featured area stage.

As you can see from all of the above,- the birth of the next new phase of Shakesparience Festival of the Classical Performing Arts -- now in partnership with Iowa's First Lady at historic Terrace Hill - - will be kicked off in fine style!

So - - don't thou dare miss this fantastic preview of what is in store for Iowans at Terrace Hill and with the Shakesperience Festival in future years! 

Register for your FREE tickets at Midwestix.com

- -and you'll be able to say: 

when it started, I was there! 


 Following the inaugural Shakesperience Festival show at Terrace Hill in 2015, First Lady Chris Brandstad and her staff pose with ISE's Executive Staff, one of the show's lead Actresses, beloved Shakespeare Teacher (and ISE muse) Irma Hughes of California, and ISE's founding Board Member, Dr. Bruce Hughes- winner of the Metro Arts Alliance AWE award for leadership in the Arts









ISE gratefully thanks the Metro and the State of Iowa

 for our outstanding outcomes in

2015 funding awards.



for your terrific funding support.

We are especialy pleased to note that

ISE's latest Arts Council grant 

recieved several "perfect" scores in a variety of key areas - - and in no judged area ever recieved more than a mere .03 point off of "perfect".

Additionally, we also gratefully acknowledge

the support of the community visibly seen in

ISE's continued listing in the top echelons of

the Community's Birdies for Charity program, where community "crowd" funding is matched by a generous donation of private support thru the Sammons Financial Company and The Principal.

In 2015 for the 3rd year in a row, after placing in the "Top Ten" of funded 2013 and 2014 charitiies amidst some mighty big players, despite recent changes in the awards program, ISE once again placed in the top levels of this notable group.



~    ~   ~   ~   ~

So hit those 

"Big Yellow Buttons"

above to learn more about ISE's 

immensely popular

"Theatre at the Great Estates"

series of intimate salon-style professional theatre shows - -

and about our upcoming summer, fall and winter show dates for










to Check out all the other details of ISE's various

Summer, Fall and Winter Seasons!


--coming irresistably to a gorgeous outdoor lawn


indoor candlelit mansion

or other unique



And yes, also as always--

for even more cool news from

The Shakesphere- -

Do the

"Shakespearean Scroll"


to check out our

ISE Bard Blog

of exciting announcments,

insider posts and info,

and neat threads and "Shakespehere"

ideas to explore!






In October 2014 ISE received an amazing honor!  Despite being in competition with virtually all of the Metro's largest youth-serving non-profits - our small but mighty agency AGAIN recieved the extraordinary honor of being a "


Fundraising agency

in the Metro's premiere charitable fundraising event-

The Principal Charity Classic.

What's more-

this is the second year in a row

we have received this great ranking!


Thanks to you

ISE IS the

"Little Engine That Could"

Theatre agency

that keeps doing so many amazing things!

FREE Theatre for 8 seasons during THE most challenging economic climate since the Great Depression? 


NATIONALLY Award-winning youth programs? And also in Spanish? 


Noted as one of dsm Magazine's 11

"Most Visionary" projects in the Metro?


Thanks to ALL of you! 


Once again, in 2014, ISE was the recipient of one of our State's most presitigious Arts Excellence funding awards - - and also one of our Community's most prestigious funding awards!

Thank you Iowa Arts Council for an extraordinary record of professionally-juried support

(6 times in 7 years!)



Thank you Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines for equally meaningful support

(Our most recent award is our 

5th time in 5 years

for such wonderful support from you!)

And as always, foundational thanks to Bravo Greater Des Moines for our 11th award since our 2008 preliminary grant.

Bravo for you, Bravo for us, and Bravo all who enjoy


in central Iowa!




ISE is always proud to recognize foundational and ongoing Sponsorship from some of the area's most prestigious cultural leaders:

Iowa Public Radio



The Principal

We also thank:

Pioneer Publishing


 Ongoing support for the continuation of the FREE summer Shakespeare project provided since our founding by
Bravo Greater Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, and

the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa
Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts





 - -  Propero's Page - Secrets and the Stuff of Dreams - - 

... Have you heard? 

By popular demand, ISE is now a year-round theatre producing agency - - so we'll continue to capture starshine, moonglow ...and simply the best nights of summer - AND fall - AND winter!!
And Spring!

and now... it's ALWAYS time to come out and



In autumn 2013, as part of  the

outstanding Principal Charity Classic,

ISE received  the distinct honor of being named one of
2013's TOP 25 LOCAL 


This Spring, we learned we'd become one of 

2013's TOP 10 LOCAL


These great honors come complete with a nice financial award! 
Thank you to The Principal and Sammons Financial - - and
for acting on your steadfast belief in ISE's terrific
Artistry and Mission!

(and yes, ya better believe it- THIS year, we're aimin' for TOP FIVE!

Help us along: Go to our entry at

Birdies for Charity of The Principal Chairty Classic!


Much Ado About Something:

About ISE's people!

"Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me."

ISE's people - be it Actors, crew, Board members or audience, make us what we are!  And as usual, ISE's people both past and pesent are up to great things!

First, a hearty congratulations to one of ISE's favorite hearthrob's, Matt Wiggins, who was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Iowa Motion Picture Association - and who recently served as Master of Ceremonies for the Board's award show. Congratulations, Matt!

Hearty congratulations also to ISE Board Member Barb Adams, as she takes on a major promotion as a Principal for Des Moines Public Schools.  Great job, Barb!

Congratulations as well to ISE Board Member Connie Ode.  Connie's Big Book on Iowa's Festivals  continues to be featured at festivals all over Iowa!  What a treasure trove of Iowa culture! 

And, ISE's founding Board member Bruce Hughes continues his extraordinary leadership of the arts broadly in Iowa.  Recently moveing on from his position as president for Des Moines Metro Opera, Bruce now brings his leadership talents to the Art Center board as well -.  Bruce's work with some of the most prominent arts organizations in central Iowa make us so very very proud to continue to have his guidance on ISE's Executive Commiettee as we keep on moving forward! We also remain thrilled to have had and have the ferquent guidance of local cultural lumnaries such as Tracy Levine, Elvin MacDonald, and Frank Fogarty.  And as always, ISE's longtime Vice President Cindy De Pond continues to cut a cultural swath in central Iowa- frm Metro Arts Alliance to Winefest and now the Directorof  Waukee's innovative ArtsCentral programs, Cindy always cuts a meaningiful swatch for Iowa's arts Scene. 

Also a delighted nod to all of the great success that's been coming to two great actresses, both featured on the Iowa Shakespereince Festival stage in years past! Tiffany Flory, with us in both 2010 and 2011 (the latter as a star of ISE's Regina Monologues) has now completed her MFA work and has been back appearing --and winning her usual great accolades-- on stages all over central Iowa!  Congratulatoins, Tiffany!  

Other ISE actresses with us in our early years include Kerry Scram and Jami Bassman, who are also often cited for great work on various stages here in central Iowa. Plus, the legendary Kiim Gramadi's very first Shakespearean work was with ISE!  Many other wonderful actresses who've appeared with ISE can addiitonally be found on stages both near and far. 

Too, of course we fondly remember wonderful Actors we've enjoyed featuring in ISE productions as well. Often garnering great praise for their work on the boards all across central Iowa have been Mark Gruber, Mike Davenport, John Busbee, Bob Fry, Tom Milligan- and of course, we will always remember the amazing Mike Cornelison, and his iniimmediate strong support for ISE's beginings from our very first season. Joe Leonardiand James Serpento also come readily to mind as we remember other great ISE involvement. 

Additionally, actress Amy Burgemeir (whose original rendition of a special song for ISE is posted here on our website for you to listen to at your leisure... don't niss it - Amy's singing is, as usua,l superb!) who was featured in our very first FREE season at Simon Estes, has found great success after her subsequent move to New York City.  Amy was picked up by New York's traveling version of Annie the Musical -- and fairly recently was back in the Midwest on the extraordinary Starlight Theatre stage in Kansas City in that show.  Wow!  Amy, you were a peach in our production - and we are so excited for your ongoing success! 

Next, we bid a sad farewell to ISE favorite Jarrett Brown, who recently wrote us this extremely thoughtful letter as he prepared to return to Oregon, where he was involved in that state's bustling film and commercial television scene. To borrow from Jarret's own words, Jarrett himself has "a lot of class!":

Dear Lorenzo and Robin,

As we discussed the last time we met at the great Des Moines Club special event, I will be moving back to Portland, Oregon this summer, in late June.

It is with great sadness that when I leave Iowa, that I will be leaving all the wonderful people I have met and all the lasting relationships I have built.

And at the top of that list are the folks at Iowa Shakespeare- especially both of you.

So I would really like to take this time to say Thank You to all the Iowa Shakespeare Experience has provided me.

The good times we've had rehearsing and performing 'A Christmas Carol' will forever be etched in my mind and will always be synonymous to my time in Iowa. I won't be able to hear the word Iowa and not think of the work we did together.

And of course when Dracula came along, I was just touched to be considered for a part of it. Then you told me I was getting the role of Jonathan Harker, I was blown away.

I am proud of what we accomplished with Dracula, everybody pulled together and this show stands to date as my favorite theatrical role and my proudest moments in Iowa.

To be invited into Terrace Hill and Jordan House and to now be a part of the history of those houses makes me feel honored. ISE provided that.

  •     So I have worked with many writers/directors/producers in the past, but I just want to say, you treat your actors well. You keep a tight ship and let your actors know what is expected of them. You are open and honest and it shows that you have the professional experience to provide audiences with the highest level of theatrical experience. Thank you again.
  •     Also, to be able to provide a monetary stipend for your actors and actresses sets you apart and is just another example that ISE has an immense amount of class.
  •     In sum, you provided an avenue to present my art and to perform, allowing me to do what I love, and that is priceless.
  •     In my opinion (feel free to share this with your Board and thank them for all the treats to the Actors) Iowa Shakespeare Experience has been a saving grace for actors in the State of Iowa. You provide superior performances in the most unique of settings. In all my years of work in theater I have never seen anything like it.

But beyond all that, I also want to speak of the good times we had after the performances were done. When Robin would crack a bottle of wine and we would just hang out. We'd talk about life and films, theater, history, or whatever came up. We could laugh and enjoy our time at these unique settings. I thank you for these moments, and providing us with snacks and drinks and for just being so kind.

In sum, find it difficult to write this email as I am tearing up. As I prepare to leave I remember how well you both have treated me, you are a part of my Iowa family and I wish great things for ISE and the both of you personally.

My time with ISE and the work I have done with you both will be the biggest thing I will miss in Iowa.

Again, I leave in late-June, so please keep me up to date on all happenings involving ISE.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,

Jarrett Brown




The Crites got in touch with us this Spring, and we were so touched by their story
(and so sorry that in all their years of attending, we hadn't met them yet!)
that we requested permission to print their story here.

This is what they wrote (and of course we gave them a sneak peek!);

In the summer of 2008 we began a tradition of celebrating our wedding anniversary by attending the Iowa Shakespeare Experience Summer FEST. We’ve made it to all but one of these wonderful performances at the Simon Estes Amphitheater (and once -during the flood- on the street adjacent to the amphitheater). Oftentimes we begin our date with dinner in Des Moines, where we can find cuisine not offered where we live -- Malcom, Iowa, population 276, 60 miles east of Des Moines. Other times we pack a cooler and enjoy a picnic on the east bank of the Des Moines River as we watch the sun set behind the city’s skyline. (We"ll) go all out, and book a room at the Embassy Suites! We can’t wait to join our Iowa neighbors on the hill for another great Summer FEST!

(In) hoping to continue our tradition this summer...We're also hoping to use some airline miles that are about to expire to book a room at the Embassy Suites, which is why I'm contacting you about dates for the 2014 summer festival rather than waiting for them to be posted on the ISE website. Is there a chance you'd be willing to share the dates with me now, on the condition that I reveal the information to no one but my wife?

I'm an Iowan. You can trust me!

~ Todd & Danya Crites

MAY 1 UPDATE FROM THE CRITES: "We've booked our room and will attend the Friday performance!  We'll be sure to introduce ourselves to you when we arrive at the FEST for our early anniversary celebration. Thanks for the work you do to make this event memorable!" (IOWA SHAKESPEARE SAYS:  You are so welcome!)







- Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog -

- Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog - Bard Blog-

......... ISE Favorite Blog Postings; last updated April  2014 .........

Scroll below

for past show reviews and future show plans,

Shakespeare Insider Discussion, Awards, Achievements

- and much more!







About  our "Theatre-at-the-Great-Estates" series:

It's official:


So  get your tickets early for the

commmand return performances of

Dracula: Diaires of the Undead and

ISE;s A Christmas Carol -

don't miss out on these true Holiday Traditions!



Now approaching its 10th sold-out season at the

Iowa Governor's Mansion of historic Terrace Hill

This unique series has also drawn folks from far and wise-- people
- bought tickets and came out from the Missouri Border, from Omaha, from Ames and other far-flung Iowa cities - -and from all over the Metro - - 
- -We have a REGIONAL HIT on our hands!

(Congratulations to our winner of the 'farthest drive"  contest- arriving from Lincoln Nebraska!)

About ISE's 2013

"Theatre at the Great Estates"




 (Thank you Matt Wiggins Entertainment and Design for the fab PR Photos for our Dracula show-
pictured is Historic Jordan House and one of our Stars: Matt himself as ...The Count!)

ISE's highly anticipated NEW year-round season arrived  in 2013
- -and we kicked things off with a bang- er, fang!

 ISE's original new 2013 Halloween show was:

Cabaret Macabre

An evening with Count Dracula and Poe 

6 thrilling candlit evenings of red (RED!) wine plus one-of-a-kind top-notch professional theatre in extraordinary surroundings 

Along with our

"Just Desserts!"

Artfully presented on THREE of the great
seasonal Holidays of autumn: 
on All Hallows Eve, on Halloween
Evening itself -
and on Day of the Dead!


All shows in West Des Moines' historic -and stunning-
Jordan House Manor;
Iowa's authentic Gothic Mansion

ISE's sell-out Halloween show is an original short Adaptation of the Bram Stoker by ISE's own nationally-published playwright,

Lorenzo Sandoval:

 Dracula ...Evermore: Diaries of the UnDead

Plus:  Special bonus Mini-act: the delicious poetic thrill of

Edgar Allan Poe
-and friends!





About ISE's mega-hit 9 Season

Holiday Show:

ISE's "A Christmas Carol"
at the Iowa Governor's Mansion




Proudly presented in association with Iowa's First Lady by ISE's cadre of acclaimed professional actors, audiences take seats  inside 7 different rooms of the glorious Iowa Governor's Mansion - all bedecked in its sparkling Holiday splendor. 

A perfect Treat for family, friends or that special someone - - and tickets make truly memorable gifts! Your very special evening is complete with gourmet Intermission Treats and wine!


This show is all you've always wanted in a

Christmas Holiday Show...

...But don't let Santa disappoint: this play always sells out quickly, so contact Terrace Hill (515 242 6317) for early show ticket sales! 

Or visit http://iowachristmascarol.eventbrite.com. to purchase tickets on line. TICKETS GO ON SALE IN EARLY FALL, and some nights entirely sell out shortly thereafter!





The Bard Blog Department of




Our Pivotal Fifth Year Anniversary season...

...What a terrific Fifth Anniversary FREE theatre Season it was !


Would you like to swing on a Star 


 Carry moonbeams home in a jar...










2 terrific weekends

3 gorgeous stages

a host of new partnerships, sponsors, residencies and youth camps

4 wonderful shows in Repertory

GREAT Attendance


8 Star-studded nights!




From the Review of Des Moines Register Arts Commentator Michael Morain, about the cast of ISE's Othello: “April Culver’s Desdemona is both tender and strong. Valeria Avina’s Emilia is hot-blooded, and Matt Wiggins’ Cassio has some of Johnny Depp’s bravado."

About credits for our original play adaptation - - and credits for one of our lead actors, ISE's own Artistic Director, Lorenzo Sandoval, Mr. Morain says::“Sandoval skillfully braided three textual threads into the script — Shakespeare’s poetry, straightforward narration and bits of Spanish...”  “And Sandoval performs well, showing how the noble hero gradually loses his mind to jealousy, “

Some of Mr. Morain's most detailed comments accrued to a longtime ISE fixture, the amazing classical actor John Zickefoose, now in his umpteenth show with ISE: “And to his almost disturbing credit, John Zickefoose makes a wonderfully convincing Iago, coating his lines with both smarmy venom and straight-up wrath. He is usually more bemused than brooding, and it’s fun to watch him ensnare the other characters with such cool calculation.”  (Congratulations- we THINK- to John, for his terrific, er .. stab at one of THE most famous roles in the entire canon! )

We are also getting excellent comments regarding ISE's great "reach" and ongoing growth, and the way in which we have been moving quickly into the challenging waters of high Shakespearean tragedy at a relatively young company age. To have cast and directed such brilliant Iago, Othello and Desdemona figures in ISE's first-ever stab at  high Shakespearean tragedy is quite a coup, as is such a successful adaptation- - and the great review notes sent in below from the Register's other regular theatre reviewer Bruce Carr (below) show us just how proud we should be!”

Des Moines Register published Theater Reviewer Bruce Carr says:
"The Passion of Othello" is surely the most successful, and most compelling, of the five ( ISE) productions I've seen.  (This comment has meaning to us - because we note that Mr. Carr wrote a wonderful formal review last year about our 2012 Romeo and Juliet- so we are delighted he continues to be so pleased!)

He continued: “Certainly the audience was  attentive -- quiet and undistracted” --and further: “I was not troubled by any single inadequate actor.” Its a “fine bunch” - and we here at ISE heartily agree!  Kudos to a terrific cast!"




JM Feilmeyer, Audience Member: “I went to Othello on Sunday! We kept putting it off because of the weather, and wasn't that smart of us! We really won the gamble with Sunday evening. :-)  Anyway, great show!  I enjoyed the interpretation and the acting, especially Iago. How evil!”

Nancy Crowfoot, Iowa Public Television Producer: “Keep up the creative, artistic work!”

Terry Lint: “I honestly think each year it is the best show ever- but this year I truly truly think it was THE best one yet.  By the way - - Lorenzo has amazing Gravitas as an Actor -  Wow!”

Nancy Norman (who knows her way about both Shakespeare and the theatre world) wrote to say: “I was blown away by the play last night.  It was very professionally done.  The acting, the music, the dance were all terrific and made for a fun evening.  The play, with heavy subject matter, kept the audience enthralled.  What a night for theater! Bouquets all around!”  

Appanoose Theatre Camp Director shared with us:“Othello was THE highlight of our camp summer. The kids did nothing but talk about the show on the entire 2 hour bus trip back.  We are from Britain, and have been looking at your website- -excited to see all that is going on- hope we can do a joint project together soon!”

Anonoymous Audience Member:  “This was amazing.  You guys really nail this Shakespeare stuff!”

From the Orduna's: “We are coming back tomorrow night and bringing our grandchildren.  We had no idea the festival offered this extraordinary quality.  This was absolutely incredible and keep up the great work!”

Mary Ellen Kimball: “Kimballs loved Othello! We sat stage-side for Othello on Thursday and loved it!  Best seats in the house.  I was telling folks about your wonderful “Christmas Carol” at Terrce Hill.  I suggested they find out about that event and get tickets right away.  Also, when you get ready to talk to (Lakeside Casino) about bringing out a show, let me know.  You two must be exhausted. I had no idea you had to put everything away every night!  Relax and enjoy one another!”

An especially kind note from Carolyn and our Colleagues at Ballet Des Moines, which has great meaning to us as we expand into being the Metro's Festival of the Classic Arts: "Robin, I can't believe it is coming upon two weeks since our AMAZING production!!!  (Belin, Ballet and the Bard). I just wanted to say thank you for this wonderful opportunity to collaborate and as always - you are an absolute delight, and more importantly, a doer that dreams big and achieves! You have my utmost respect and fondess.  I am grateful for the chance to work with both you and Lorenzo and look forward to future opportunities as we build a strong and collaborative arts community together!"

Our very valued Colleagues at the Belin String Quartet wrote a lovely handwritten card:  "Robin, thank you so much for including the Belin Quartet this year.  It was so great collaborating with you on this project. We look forward to staying in touch!"

Still more on our highly successful collaborations - here is a note from Carol Olson, the Miss Greater Des Moines Pageant coordinator who helped lead our ability to have crowned Royalty - such as Miss Iowa herself- - as our Ushers for our very special Fifth Anniversary shows: "Robin and Lorenzo, THANK YOU for being so welcoming and helpful to our Miss Greater Des Moines girls when they shared your stage during the Shakespearean performances.  All reports that I've heard indicate that it was an amazing experience.Thank you, again!!"

Mary Gottschalk made a point of telling us this:  “We really enjoyed Othello- great job!  It was an excellent evening and very good fun!”

Kent Zimmerman:  "We loved it - and we will come back again next year for sure!"

From Othello Cast Member Valeria Avina, an URTA Alum and MFA Student at the University of Iowa's terrific theatre program (and ISE's inaugural Actor with our new state-wide Talent Placement Program):  "I just wish people could see how much FUN it was in rehearsals!  Goats and Monkeys!"

Past ISE Volunteer Extraordinarire Ava Rogers was hired this year in a more formal capacity for Crew. - in the very demanding and important role of House Manager  She thoughtfully wrote us to say: "I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy my experience with ISE and I would do it all over again!  Thank you for the oppertunity to get to work and know the cast and crew and both of you!"

From a teacher at West Des Moines' Walnut Creek Campus Alternative High School, C.J. M: "It was such an interesting take on Othello. I really enjoyed it!"

An audience member of a tent party told us of the way in which her son liked the play perhaps in spite of himself- AND could readily understand and relate to our adaptation of the story: “My son originally did not want to come to this.  But when I thought he was tiring, he said 'No Mom, I want to stay'.  And then when I tried to warn him that Desdemona dies, he said: 'I know Mom- I have been listning to the words!' 

A note from "Matt" who tells us he is a Construction Sales manager by day and a Saylorville Windsurfter in his free time:  "I have been coming to the festival ever since I found out about it 3 years ago.  I really really liked Othello and appreciate the richness that this festival adds to summer.  I love to come to Simon Estes"

Anonymous note in the Bard Basket:  "Thanks for Keeping it FREE!"

Finally, a long time supporter sent us some very kind thoughts based on an article he read from Opera America magazine.  He wrote to suggest that if we interchange the words and concept of "Opera" and "Shakespeare", that the following specific, explicit dynamics described in the article seem to him to be very applicable to the current work, values and outcomes demonstrated by ISE - -or to provide his direct personal quote:  "I think in many ways this  - below- is what ISE has always been doing - and doing well!":

"It takes faith in the curiosity of people to produce repertoire which, like Shakespeare, (few) know.  It also requires educating and captivating audience beyond its expectations. Our audiences in these art forms have learned over the years to take these journeys."  ..."the best audiences... have no preconcieved ideas about what things should be, so they just go in there and experience something." Continuing: "An experience is something that exists in the memory for a lifetime - and- unusual repertoire in unusual ways lingers longer". These are art forms which slowly but surely "build a trust such that people say 'I might not like everything, but its going to be interesting; I will be challenged, I will see something I can't see most likely anywhere else"  Finally: "People like to bring something to a performance. They bring their curiosity, but they also like to bring their imagination - and they come back again and again because they know it's not one work that defines us."

To all this we say: HUZZAH! 

Huge thanks to everyone who is writing and sharing comments either by email, on FB or in the Bard Basket or at the front desk - we  always appreciate those who take the time to share your thoughts, and we promise to try to post more of your remarks soon!






Well- as of summer 2015, we can give you quite a bit of enticing hints!  See the "Behind the Scenes" miniblog at the very top fo the page!  But, we're not quite ready to announce ALL our next steps yet - - we have much to explore, and many exciting ideas to consider, especially as we continue to expand.  

But we are especially excited about onfoing opportunities to  E-X-P-A-N-D-our long time partnership with the City of Des Moines (and its star venue of Simon Estes Amphitheatre!) as one of their new Parks Department Festival partners - wow, what an awesome honor! So watch for more shows of all types as we continue to grow- more shows in Simon Estes,more Mansion shows, and more shows that travel increasingly further afiled- all across the Metro and soon, all across the state and region.    

And as usual,  each summer after we finish our own shows, we are often out traveling to network with our colleague festivals all over the country -and we always come away with superb inspiration from them as well!

But here are a few hints about upcoming summers with ISE:

If you happen to know of any Father's Ghosts who come inconveniently knocking about at all hours, you might want to hold on to your Skull (er, hat!) and see how that Uncle pans out!  And/or, there could well be a few witches and incantations in our future - and we're in early talks with our friends who understand well Shakespeare's COMPLETE works- so think about tightening those seatbelts if we take another romp in that direction! And it also could be quite the Comedy of Errors in upcmong summers, too; we'll just have to wait and see!

Plus as we have always promised, we will continue to explore the great line up noted in our right hand sidebar with deep excitement, including the non-Shakespearean works we also love.  Certainly we'll continue our classical arts shows , which to date have now featured Opera and Ballet in addition to "just" shakespeare - in at least 3 seasons so far. Meanwhile, there are also a few amazing one-person Shakespeare shows we want to add to our list... so we'll all just have to wait and see! So as usual, look fo our formal announcement of next season which we'll make in the Spring - - when as is our tradition, we announce oaround the time of Shakespeare's April birthday - - or soon therafter. 

Until then, keep checking out our other news or recent hapenings below - -we are confident that whatever direction(s) we go in next, we'll all have a great time getting there!  



...and so has our new Star-Spangled custom webtheme!  Simply click on the big buttons above to check out our ALL NEW Website, currently in the final stages of tweaks (be patient -we're still all volunteer maintained- -but we are almost there!)  You can check all the news we've had for Summer Festival 2013, scads of twinkly new photos - and the upcoming new ISE year! 

AND IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE: Ring Carleton, Grab a cuppa- And relax with a walk down memory lane- take in our ALL NEW "Romeo and Juliet" slide show from last year - - just hit the "Sample Us" button above!  LOVELY photos plus music... with extraordinary Othello photos yet to come! In fact - considering that in 2013 we had an amazing donation of professional photography from one of the area's most noted pro cultural photographers, the terrific Eric Salmon- along with our always great pics from Matt Wiggins entertainment ...so you know the Othello shots will really be something to see!

And then scroll below to take in news about ISE as 
a vital non-profit organization in Iowa's Capital. 



... YOU are what our special Anniversary season and our constant growth has been all about!





Below you will find our "permanent"

Blog Section

with evergreen

 - -but often updated- -


Just do the

"Shakesperean Scroll"

on down the page

- and enjoy these

perennial favorites!



 Iowa's Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds toasts ISE's Fifth Anniversary and recognizes ISE as being
a visionary organization of high value to the State of Iowa (Winner, 4 top State of Iowa Arts Awards.)
ISE was also listed  in dsm Magazine 10th Anniversary Issue as being
one of the 11 most visionary projects in the Metro - -as well as a highlight of the past decade in the arts!
Congratulations ISE Board, Staff. Early Supporting Artists,  and Founders!






A 501(c)3 Non-profit - founded 2008 for Iowa's Capital

R U Shakesperienced? Check out our organizational news below!


We're a HIT!  A very palpable HIT!" (Hamlet)  A winner of fully 16 stringently competitive Awards (and a QUADRUPLE Iowa Arts Council winner) by merely our 4th Season, we've already far exceeded attendance projections (in our first year alone, by a whopping 66%!) Between our "Shakespeare on Aire" radio shows, street theatre and traveling shows, year-round shows and programs plus our lie summer repertory theatre festival FREE to all comers, about 25,000 each year from well over 100 documented zipcodes are Shakesperienced! And in 2010, we became the official Shakespeare Festival of the City of Des Moines! Now a year-round producing theatre company offering income-generating shows that provide financial support for our free festival and often-free youth programs, we provide paid professional stipends to our Artists and step up to serve in many leadership capacities on Iowa's arts and theatre scene.   Ongoing thanks to our Grant Funders including Bravo Greater Des Moines, The Principal Financial Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines (from whom we now celebrate our FITH award to date!) - - and the Iowa Arts Council plus the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.. Thank you to our 19 Corporate Sponsors so far- especially the Davis Brown Law Firm, the Principal Financial, and Sammons.  Thank you to our press and Media Sponsors Cityview, Iowa Public Radio, Des Moines Radio Group and Pioneer Publishing - -and thank you to ALL our wonderful Donors, Reviewers and huge Audiences! Much more below!  




Hate that scrolling? If you are a "just gimme the facts" kind of person, you're gonna LOVE our new website's upcoming "one click" features!  We are part way there already - and we think they will be all operational very soon! Already, by using our "Big Yellow Buttons" above, in a single click, you can now  whiz to dedicated mini-websites which contain different kinds of ISE info organized by category.  You can whiz through JUST our festival info or JUST our year-round show info or JUST our Youth Programming, etc!  Also, all ISE info should now also be nicely "mobile friendly":  Our new sites offer self optimization features for use on all sorts of different mobile devices - -  the works!  HUGE THANKS to the many dedicated volunteers who for years, have been steadily making this robust custom site come increasingly to productive life!    
By the way, those who want to sample us via videos or slideshows will also find a dedicated website "one click" link for those items, too!
BUT if you are a "true Shakespearean" and want the whole glorious line up of festival information, scads of details about the current play, behind the scenes stuff -and all the latest insider ISE happenings, you'll still be able to easily find all the good stuff - from ISE news to hot news from all over the ShakeSphere and from across "the Pond"!  Great Festival info (as well as similar year-round show info) can now be found under our website buttons with new organization - - but- - yes, you'll still be able do the "Elizabethan Scroll" down this great homepage from more cool info on a variety of ISE topics- - and you can still and click through our detailed Open Site Menu in the right hand side bar to enjoy a leisurely tour of all sorts of other ISE insider information, too!  Still at your own pace.  You'll still find a wide vareity of items of interest -  including scholarly commentary, hip "Insider Info", an overview of who ISE is as a non-profit ... plus other info, news and "Hot Tips" that will make your ISE experience the best ever! Huzzah!
MORE ISE WEBSITE NEWS: And- thank you Art Stop!  ISE thanks our colleagues at Art Stop, who in 2014 have gifted us with their old website as we have grown into becoming the region's classical performing arts festival - soon to have ever-expanding festival line ups of Opera, Ballet, String Quartet, Poetry and all the other art forms Shakespeare so influenced- in addition to theatre!  The exceptionally robust Art Stop website will be the perfect forum for us as we continue to grow, as it will allow the presentation of an ever expaniding calendar in a very easy format.  Watch for the Art Stop website to interface with ours very soon!
INFORMATION WHICH REMAINS ON THIS HOMEPAGE (or linked to it through our Master Site Menu on the right): All about ISE as a non-profit organization- including community outcomes, funding, and the like!
  • ABOUT ISE (all sorts of ISE backstory, from Board and mission info to policies for Actors)
  • HORATIO'S CORNER ("more things heaven and earth"!)  Today's Feature: Adaptation and Education!
  • GOOD WILL AND A DUCAT:  Credits and "thanks, thanks and ever thanks!"




SUMMER FESTIVAL DETAILS: Festival Fan Fare including:

  • Quick Festival Info: Shows, Casts & Concerts!
  • ISE INSIDERS - Behind the Scenes - -Did you know? Who's who and What's what
  • WILL OF THE PEOPLE: Quick "Quotes 'n Notes" from our Fans!
  • R U Shakesperienced? Festival Fun Facts
  • ONCE MORE ONTO THE BEACH: Rites of Free Will - "TOP TEN" hints to create the "Best Night of Summer" at our Riverside site!
  • BARDAPALOOZA: Dem's Da Rules: How to have a Regal Evening!
  • OUR SALAD DAYS: Picnic, wine and vendor info
  • Today's Feature: Adaptation and Education (which has moved to our "How to enjoy Shakespeare" page!


You'll no longer find our trusty old "Blue Weather Box" on this page - instead, just go to the overall Festival or Year Round Show information sites using the big yellow buttons above, and there you'll find a direct link to the latest weather updates!

And you'll find our Master Site Menu still nicely visible but condensed, with all festival specific information moving to the Festival specific website areas!


ISE Hot Topics/Breaking News!

Once a year was great - - all year round is better!  Did you know? ISE is now a year-round producing theatre agency! HUZZAH!

Keach_Mayor_Lorenzo.jpg ISE HOT TOPICS: GOLDEN GLOBE WINNER STACY KEACH SAYS:  "What Iowa Shakespeare is doing is great"!  [PHOTO:  Mayor Cownie, ISE's Lorenzo Sandoval and Stacy Keach chat Shakespeare! 2011] Now in our seventh season of FREE summer Shakespeare plays "under the stars" (and AMAZING year-round indoor experiential theatre such as our Christmas-time Holiday Play inside the splendor of Iowa's incomparable Governor's Mansion), ISE continues its outstanding tradition of fostering world-class theatre for Iowa's Capital!  ISE's unique year-round theatre shows that take place at the Great Estates of central Iowa create one-of-a-kind experiences for audiences while raising vital funds to help keep the summer festival free for all comers!
As THE leading Shakespearean Actor in America today, our 2011 Special Guest Mr. Stacy Keach proclaimed in the Des Moines Business Record when in town for his hit presentation created specially to support us: "What the Iowa Shakespeare Experience is doing is great!"  (See more on our Stacy Keach event in ISE's News and Announcements chapter of our Site Menu.) Mr. Keach was a luminary in ISE's tradition of annual involvement with outstanding national Shakespeare initiatives such as our 2010 local production of National Players (America's oldest national traveling Shakespeare troupe), our 2010 Scholarly Introduction to the Iowa appearance of the internationally-recognized Shakespeare group Aquilla, and our 2012 collaboration with the Civic Center through ISE's "Evening with the Cultural Cognoscenti" party where ISE welcomed Chicago's extraordinary Improvised Shakespeare group!  2013 featured ISE's trip as a special invited guest to the theatre industy's national showcase of theatre technology in Milwaukee, and a chance to meet the Director of England's Royal Shakespeare Company in a hot industry event in Chicago! So ISE's involvement and networking on the national scene continues, even as we work hard to grow our organization for audiences here at home. 
MORE HOT TOPICS: FESTIVALS ARE IMPORTANT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TOOL! Your support matters -new national study proves Festivals are of high value to the community!  A first-of-its-kind study by the NEA finds festivals are notably strong contributors to the growth of an area arts scene, as well as important creators of jobs and tourism. Our local Shakesperience data backs this up - - we create up to about 50 part-time seasonal arts jobs annually - -and by only our first year, already showed tourism draw from a minimum of 35 outlying cities in an average 90 mile radius of Des Moines.  We now record attendance from over 100 zip codes- and counting! For more about how ISE boosts tourism as well as the area job market and other community development outcomes, on our NEWS pages in our Site Menu, see the Business Record editorial under our Stacy Keach page and also a May 2011 Des Moines Register Editorial by Rekha Basu. 
HOT TOPIC:  I  THINK IOWA SHAKESPEARE SHOULD...  (fill in the blank!!)  We probably agree with you!  We are THRILLED to have captured the interest and input of a wide range of well-wishers, and as a teensy company, at a loss as to how to say a genuine THANKS to everyone who has cared enough to write or call in with excited ideas, suggestions, and feedback!  Reaching a fifth year milestone anniversary is SUCH an exciting time for a new non-profit - especially one born mere months before the Recession hit. We really are becoming YOUR homestate Shakespeare Festival!  So, here's the bottom line:  During Recession, some huge challenges from Mother Nature including early year floods and a mini tornado, not to mention record heat waves, we have had the chance to demonstrate our true grit. So we are moving in SO many directions that we think SO many of you will appreciate- please know that the only issue we really have is time (or in some cases, funding) to get it all accomplished! Our key challenge is having ZERO full time staff, so you can imagine! At any rate, with patience, with enthusiasm like what we see out there about all this every day, we will ALL get where we ALL want this wonderful project to go!  Hang on to your hats! And your cross-gartered yellow stockings!
firefly4.jpgHOT TOPIC: THE LOCAL COMMUNITY STRONGLY SUPPORTS ISE! ISE's exact type of cultural contributions rank extremely high in local survey! The 2010 major area Intercept Survey conducted by Bravo Greater Des Moines finds the type of activities ISE produces (such as Shakesperience Festival and our youth programs) to be among THE top approval and "requests" categories of the general Metro public.  See the website for Bravo Greater Des Moines, under its cultural planning section. 
HOT TOPIC:  ISE MUSICIANS CONTINUE TO RECIEVE HONORS! Did you know Shakespeare himself regularly put live music and dance into his shows?  Well, just like Shakespeare's own productions, an ISE hallmark is the infusion of curated or live professional music and original dance into our great shows. We are thrilled to note that fully 100% of our Mainstage musicians have had the high distinction of having been selected not only for our Festival, but also for featured appearances at the Des Moines Arts Festival!  Quite a testament to the strength of our trademark musical components!  And in 2012, we kicked off a very exciting upgrade to our musical elements: our first season of the Davis Brown A.J. Greffenius Memorial Fellowship in Music! Our first Fellowship Guest Artist in music was  Renée J. Schwarz, a coloratura operatic soprano who came to us with much experience from the Cedar Rapids Opera.  Our 2013 Artist is ISE's own Lorenzo Sandoval, who will take the 2013 Mainstage in a way he typically does not - in the lead role of our Mainstage Show Ohtello, where audiences which catch a glimpse of this extrarodinary theatrical talent in action on stage instead of behind the scenes. And 2014?  Marking our official expansion into Shakesperience Festival of the Classical Performing Arts, our 2014 features lyrical opera soprano Marie Schmidt- bellisimo!
ONGOING NEWS:  Donations to ISE have always been fully tax deductible thanks to our Fiscal Agents.  But in May of 2011, the ISE received FULL independent 501 (c) 3 status -and is now independently a registered tax-deductible organization!  In fact, we were granted status dating all the way back to our founding in May of 2008!  It is notable that the IRS had ZERO questions for us- our advisors call how smooth the process went for us a very rare occurance - a real testament to our use of Industry Best Practices - -and to our thorough fiscal responsibility from Day One as a new non-profit!  Congratulations, ISE! 
Jaques-soliloquoy-small.jpgBREAKING NEWS: WE'RE 5 for 5! While 2012 Bravo Grants continue to support ISE (thank you Bravo!) For our 2014 show, ISE has won our FIFTH "Top Ten" recognition across the state of Iowa with our fifth "Arts Excellence" Award from the Department of Cultural Affairs!  This new one marks already THRICE in our 5 seasons that we've won at the state's very highest funding levels, too!
HOT TOPIC:  Our hit Art Fair component has been such a big hit ISE thanks our amazing Jenny Henderson from The Jenny Store, who coordinates our Art Market (usually held on Young Professionals Night).  Her five years at the festival have been so appreciated, as audiences have enjoyed her amazing presentation of her curated show of Up and Comers of the local Art Market and Grey Market scene!  Watch for the colorful booths and beautifully presented objects d'art to be scattered across many different festival nights this year! Thank you Jenny, for all you do for local arts and for the ISE!  
FUN RECAP:  ISE has grown by leaps and bounds this year!  Already in 2014, we continued our 2013 trend to QUADRUPLE the size and scope of our extraordinary youth programs, including the reprise of our week-long Spring Break camp and a NEW summer SmART camp set for June!  Added to 2012's impressive 8 week long intensive in-school seminar and with all programs serving some of our community's highest risk youth, our youth programs are really in demand across the Metro  ISE youth programs are distinguished by our use of fully licensed teachers with special national-level Shakespeare teaching credentials. On top of all this, our Artistic Director, Lorenzo Sandoval, recently received his college's highest teaching award for Excellence in Teaching at the college level - an award which must be voted on by peer professors AND students alike.  All this came off of our excitement about the unprecendented success of our reprise of our acclaimed Holiday show, a sell-out hit we custom - crafted for the Iowa Governor's Mansion at the personal request of Iowa's First Lady, for whom we will produce our 9th Terrace Hill show this December  Added to Lorenzo's recent starring role in a new award-winning Short Film already being shown in Film Festivals across the country, it has been one heck of an exciting year already - and were not even counting the 2013 Festival yet!  Check out the ISE Youth Programs buttons above for all the hot news there!



R U Shakesperienced? Festival Fun Facts!

Shakespeare PHOTOS 09 GREAT Night Scene.JPGShakesperience by the Numbers:

In only our first 4 years...

-TERRIFIC ATTENDANCE! With a few exceptions for weather where we 've nevertheless hovered at around 500, we've drawn the better part of 1000 to almost every live Mainstage Festival Show! Typically about 600-800 attend, with some nights bringing in nearly 900!


-WONDERFUL AWARDS: We've now won  fully 9 Bravo Awards, and have FOUR TIMES  placed among the "Top Ten" Arts Awards across Iowa! Including TWO "Arts Excellence" awards - and TWO "Community Outcome" Awards!  And now as of July 2013, we are the very proud recipeient of FOUR Community Foundation Awads!  We are so very grateful to the Metro community for such truly outstanding support!


-MEANINGFUL TOURISM PART I: Research shows Shakespeare Festivals tend to draw tourism from a 90 mile radius, and in only our first year, we well proved our tourism draw! Although due to extraordinary attendance we actually ran out of registration forms with merely 1/3 of the crowd registered, minimally, people from 29 different cities OUTSIDE the golden Circle (from Oskaloosa and Newton to Atlantic, the Quads and beyond!) who formally registered as Mainstage show attendees! That first year, Folks from another 6 outlying cities registered electronically, too!

-MEANINGFUL TOURISM PART II:  By 2011 we DOUBLED the number of zip codes registered at the Festival to 76!  And in 2012 with our Romeo and Juliet smash hit , we saw zip codes hit the 100 mark!


- ISE CREATES JOBS: We've created part-time seasonal jobs for 30-50 Independent Contractors each year, both on-stage and off!  The variance depends on whether we are funded to do Repertory at the Festival and on year-round shows.
-ISE CREATES JOBS: In addition to our creation of part time jobs, each year we create sales opportunities for about at least 10, and sometimes 20-30 visual artists at our Annual Art Market night!
-ISE DRAWS TOP TALENT!: Since we began producing in 2004, both on state and back stage, our sta
ges have showcased the talents of an average of 3-4 MFA Artists and about 6 BFA artists each year!
-3: Number of independent artist rostering agencies who have competitively rostered our founding Artistic Director, Lorenzo Sandoval.
-53: Number of different national Shakespeare Festivals we've personally visited on-site across America since our founding - and this summer, we're set to visit several more: Our most recent visit was to see Othello the Rap Musical at Chicago's amazing Shakepeare Theatre right on Navy Pier this past Sprig.  Amazing theatre set up - Amazing show!   Everyone who was anyone was there- from Chicago's Mayor to the head of London's Royal Shakespeare Theatre.  We were'nt shy about letting them know about the growing theatre scene all across Iowa - with new projects in Iowa City's Shakespeare scene among the "latest" happenings here in our state- I think they were astonished!
-1: Page Number for placement of ISE quotes for an Oregon newspaper story involving among other things, our last visit to the largest Shakespeare Festival in America, the venerated Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
-2: Number of Magazine Cover Pages (with full photo) we've had to date: Waukee Living in 2010 and PEO International in 2008.
-8: (and counting) Number of Library educational workshops we've provided to date! 100: (Approx) Largest number of attendees at a single Library workshop to date!
-600 (approx.) Largest number of youth served in a single year to date (2010) through Workshops, our year-round annual educational programs, and special family night activities at the Festival and in special family-focused traveling shows! 
-2 Months: Most intensive youth workshop to date;  our 8 week school-based youth seminar in 2012
-Most number of youth to date participating in one of our Youth Shakespeare shows: 22 at our YESS peer-to-peer Highlights production of A Midsummer Nights Dream in 2012 

-58,135 and counting ...: Number of times our Actors have said the word "ZOUNDS!" (Ok, you're right: we are TOTALLY making that up!)





Awards! Funding! Huzzah! Hooray!

CRW_3142_small.jpgLOOK UP! OUR MANY FUNDERS ARE OUR TRUE STARS!  Keep in mind that our grant support, terrific tho it is, provides for only about 60% of our festival's needs.  So individual donations are extremely important- we value your contribution and can provide full tax deduction receipts. 

But our grant funding shows that so many professional experts rank the Festival high! Our records with grants assures the public that their donations to us are professionally validated.  So we are proud that the ISE is already a proud winner of 10 Bravo Awards -and by only the first four years of our existence, were QUADRUPLE winners placed among the top ten arts projects across the entire state of Iowa - - funded by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs AND the Iowa Arts Council!  Our support from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, one of this community's most presitgious funders, came in again in 2014 to mark our fifth grant from these fine folks.  The Principal has also been a long time steady supporter- and our inaugural Prairie Meadows grant came in year 3!

This year in 2014, we add to that list with another Arts Council "Arts in Excellence" award - - our fifth in five years from that leading State agency, and our third "Arts Excellence" Major Project award.  This year we were among only 6 Des Moines area winner and among only 7 to bring in funding at the highest possible level. 

Be sure to thank these funders plus our special sponsor, the City of Des Moines, and also: the Scottish Rite Consistory, The Mickle Center AND the following extraordinary supporters who are all the TRUE stars of our shows.   

GRANT FUNDS:  As noted aboce, in 2013 ISE was delighted to announce our THIRD and FOURTH major grant from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundaiton - as well as a smaller grant that will help us with ongoing fundraising needs.  We are so proud that the Foundation has been such a regular, key part of developing this festival - - their stamp of approval on our work means much to us. The ISE  has also been thrilled to announce that during the past year, in stringent competition, we were the recipient of one of Iowa'svery largest arts grants, the prestigious Iowa Community Cultural Grant Award,which supported Festival 2013.  And as ever, we simply could NOT do this work without the deeply meaningful support of Bravo Greater Des Moines and The City of Des Moines. This level of Bravo and City leadership is absolutely foundational to our efforts.    

CORPORATE SUPPORT!  In terms of corporate support for Shakesperience Fest, 2011 was our "Kick off" year when the wider community began wrapping its arms around the Shakesperience Fest tradition in an increasingly broad way!  And for our exciting fifth anniversary in 2013, we kicked off a major new corporate sponsorship campaign!  So in the meantime, HUGE THANKS to The Principal for their now multi-year support, as well as to the following stellar area corporations, great community citizens all:  Bankers Trust plus (in alpha sequence) Allied Nationwide, American Equity, Atlantic Coca Cola Bottling, AVIVA, Business Publications, Cityview/Big Green Media, Pioneer Hybred, Flynn Wright, The Graham Group, Iowa Health, Knapp Properties, Lint Van Lines, McGladrey Inc, Mercy Medical Center, Meredith, NCMIC Group, One Source Events, US Bank, and Willis Auto Campus!!!!   

ANNOUNCING ISE's CONTINUING ARTISTIC FELLOWSHIP SPONSOR! In addition to the great funders above, in a "Saving the Most Fun for Last" storyline, extra-special thanks go to ongoing Festival Sponsors at Davis Brown Law Firm!!  In a delightful surprise announcement by Suku Radia (to a huge burst of Bravo-laden applause at ISE's 2011 April Stacy Keach event) community leaders learned that Davis Brown not only strongly supported ISE for Fest year 2011, but stepped up to the plate in a wonderful new way:  to inaugurate the Festival's first Artistic Fellowship Chair -which kicked off in 2012. And what's more, Davis Brown graciously honors ISE Founding Board Member Al Greffinius in doing so.  The A.J. Greffinius Memorial Chair in Music will support the Festival's hallmark musical components, and ISE is so proud to announce our first guest artist under this program: Huzzah, Davis Brown!  To Thee No Star Be Dark!    

Be sure to thank ALL of these special supporters, as they are the "Light Through Which Yonder Window Breaks" in developing a free community festival tradition.  Think about it:  the community has a wonderful plethora of free outdoor concerts and arts fairs – and these great cultural offerings grow each and every year.  Iowa boasts innumerable free museums and galeries and so many ways for the community to access the arts barrier-free. But still in Iowa's Capital, there remain truly few places where we can access free professional theatre.  Shakesperience Fest is one precious exception.  Rumor hath it we may be the ONLY regularly-produced professional free local theatre in the Metro surviving the Recession!  And it is these leading corporate citizens, who, along with a wonderful group of private donors (with a special thanks to Dr. Bruce Hughes and Mr. Jim Collier), have been setting the banquet table that is Shakesperience Fest- a FREE cultural community banquet of theatre, music and dance and the classic arts- free for EVERYONE to enjoy!



IMG_3134_small.jpgGOOD WILL AND A DUCAT:

Credits and "thanks, thanks and ever thanks!"

A free theatre Festival in any community is ALWAYS a community-wide effort.  We can never thank our supporters enough.   

So a special closing shout-out to our major grant funders who have so strongly supported us here in our early years:  The City of Des Moines, Bravo Greater Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the Iowa Arts Council, and Prairie Meadows.  

A special closing bow to our leading Corporate Supporters who have also supported us in our early years:  Davis Brown Law Firm, The Principal Financial Group Foundation, Banker's Trust, and Mercy Hospital.  Extra special thanks to the Des Moines Scottish Rite Consistory and McLellan Marketing Group.  

And a special closing round of applause to some of our key private-sector leaders and artists who have supported us in so many ways as we have gotten this terrific initiative off the ground:  You' find a Fifth Anniversary list of some of the most special of these extrarodinary folks on our new Summer Festival Homesite page.

Inline image 1And potentially- thanks to YOU!  Help us keep capturing that blazing spark of summer for years to come! Keep in mind that your donation would be very important to the ISE and to keeping both the festival AND our top-notch youth programming free!  That's because grant support, while vitally important --and a true indicator of ISE's quality--, only covers about 60% of the costs of FREE Festival Theater or FREE Theatre Youth programs!  Your donation COUNTS!  (Or as someone we all know and love might say: YOU are that light "through yonder window breaks!" So check out our new Donation button at the top of the homepage- or just toss a few "coins of the realm" into the Bard Basket when it makes the rounds at the festival- it matters!  YOU MATTER!


PHOTO 2010:  "Blow Blow Thou Winds!" During the floods and windstorms of 2010, the City of Des Moines was absolutely heroic in helping us move the Festival to the adjacent high ground of the historic Locust Street bridge - where the Capital rises majestically to create another memorable Iowa Shakespeare Experience scene. Here, Executive Producer Robin Heinemann thanks our funders before a fast-growing early crowd, just as the City of Des Moines prepares to shut off "our" bridge to traffic! 
"There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the Flood, leads on to fortune!"
William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

 Shakesperience Fest 2013
July 11-21
FREE Mainstage shows at Beautiful Simon Estes Riverside Amphitheater
NEW ticketed shows that support the Festival at The Rollins Rose Garden
Our 2013 featured full length production:
ISE's Passion of Othello! 
PHOTO 2010:  The Fairy Kingdom, Ballet Des Moines II Corps under the direction of choreographer Karina Barone; in "A Midsummer Night's Dream Extravaganza"



As our Volunteer-led organization works to update and upgrade our website more and more each year, watch for a full complement of Scrapbook pages - and yes, more You Tube video is coming soon as well! 

Meanwhile, enjoy these delightful photos from Season's past, check out our nifty new Video and Photo pages (hit the "Sample us" buttons above)- and as always, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! 

2010:  A Midsummer Night's Dream Extravaganza!  Opening musical sequence from this acclaimed adaptation which told the famous story of magical young love through all 3 of the artistic disciplines the story has historically been most associated with:  theatre, music AND dance.  Set in the era of the Silver Screen, the tuxedoed and ball gown clad cast opens the show with a choreographed sequence of "Puttin on the Ritz!"


Don't forget our terrific traveling shows ...here, a 2010 "Sneak Preview" show of "Shakespeare Shorts" in one of the first shows held on the lovely new Colby Park stage (Windsor Heights.)




Heinemann-Sandoval Productions

Mini Scrapbook 2004-2008


Our first 5 years as private sector Producers...

...thanks to all who supported us!









End Notes
The Iowa Shakespeare Experience:
Shakespeare like nobody else's business – because it IS our business: 
Shakespeare is our middle name!
Contact us at 515 274 8989 or Robin@IowaShakespeare.org


PHOTO:  Inaugural Full Company, A Midsummer Night's Dream, July 2006

Lorenzo Sandoval and Robin Heinemann, Producers
Bill Gentsche and NorthStar Photography
The extraordinary Eric Salmon
Special additional credits and thanks to:

Matt Wiggins Entertainment; Photography by Ava
Micheal Berg
Eric Bench
Paula Maxwell
Michael Rolands
Chris Maharry
with special thanks to Bill Nellans, Sally and Jeremiah