|WELCOME TO THE IOWA SHAKESPEARE EXPERIENCE!
"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!
AND - HAVE YOU HEARD?
It's 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
BEST IN THE WORLD! -
! ! ! ! HUZZAH! ! ! ! !
(Lots more info below!)
SCROLL BELOW FOR A REVIEW OF THE GREAT 2016 SUMMER FESTIVAL LINE UP, INCLUDING CRITICS COMMENTS, STUNNING PHOTOS AND MORE!
MEANWHILE: WHAT'S NEXT?
Yep - as we bid farewell to summer, ISE's great series ISE INDOORS kicks in- -
- - so hang on to your garlic, because ISE's annual sell-out show
DRACULA at CABARET MACABRE
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!
ISE's CABARET MACABRE 2016;
Featuring the original ISE hit play
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
- Pre-show, enjoy a Complimentary Light Soup Supper from 6:45 -
Do drop in - - for a Bite!
ISE'S DRACULA SHOW PROVIDES HALLO-WINE SALON-STYLE THEATRE INSIDE IOWA'S GREAT ESTATES
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! )
DO YOU BELIEVE?
THE PAST SHOW SHUFFLE:
Check out recent shows and Critics Comments below!
2015: Great Crowd at Inaugural Terrace Hill Festival show!
REVIEW OF ISE'S SUMMER FESTIVAL 2016:
IT WAS A LEGENDARY LINE UP!
In July 2016 the Festival unfolded on
3 Great stages Metro-wide
and on 4 FREE nights,
over 2 summer weekends:
HERE's A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE FOR ISE estival 2016 :
(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...
Love & Laughter
...for Date Night, Friends and Family!
OF ISE'S SUMMER FESTIVAL PLAYS 2016:
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
ABOUT FESTIVAL 2016:
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!
SCROLL BELOW FOR A REVIEW OF OUR GREAT 2016 PLAYS.
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".
A SUMMARY OF OUR
THREE 2016 FESTIVAL PLAYS:
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! "
AND IOWANS SAW THIS AWARD-WINNING PLAY FOR FREE AT TERRACE HILL;
July 29 and 30; 7:30 pm!
ABOUT "THRICE TOLD TALES":
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!
AND - AS USUAL WITH ISE - -YEP, THERE's MORE!
ANNOUNCING ISE's 2016 VISITING GUEST AND YOUTH ARTIST SELECTIONS:
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!
FESTIVAL 2016 DATES:
OUR CAPITAL CITY MAINSTAGE:
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
OUR SUBURBAN STAGES:
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!
HERE's A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE 2016 ISE INDOORS SEASON
THIS YEAR, PRODUCED SOLELY AT HISTORIC TERRACE HILL! C TYER:
(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
ALL ISE INDOORS SHOWS
FEATURE GALA INTERMISSIONS WITH TREATS AND WINE!
It's THE Christmas event that provides ALL you've ever wanted in a
Holiday Show! This unique version of the famous story of
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~
THE ISE INDOORS SERIES CELEBRATES
DELECTABLE DRAMA and GOURMET HOSPITALITY!
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!
HERE's THAT PROMISED
SNEAK PREVIEW OF
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:
HERE's MORE OF THE SCOOP:
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!
ALL FOR FREE!
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:
LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST
-- 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!
TO REVIEW A LINE UP OF SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING RECENT ISE NEWS
JUST SCROLL BELOW THIS LINE...
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"
plus the ever popular
All below -
RECAP OF EXCITING
SUMMER 2015 FESTIVAL GROWTH!
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
Summer 2015's NEWS FROM TERRACE HILL:
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" ...
...THE FULL SCOOP
as first announced June 2015:
ISE 2015 BEHIND THE SCENES
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
HERE'S THE "BACKSTORY" OF WHATS BEEN GOING ON "BEHIND THE SCENES" REGARDING ALL OF SEASON 2015's EXCITING, MAJOR CHANGES - AND WHAT THEY PORTEND!
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
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!)
THANK YOU FOR HELPING GET US HERE! WE CANNOT SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH TO ALL OF OUR AUDIENCES AND OTHER SUPPORTERS FROM THIS PAST DECADE. THIS GROWTH HAS BEEN A COMMUNITY EFFORT - and will continue to be a community initiative in years to come.
- - -
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.
WHAT WILL FUTURE SUMMER CULTURAL SEASONS
ON THE LAWN OF TERRACE HILL?
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!
ABOUT THE 2015 SUMMER SHOW:
OUR FESTIVAL's "DEBUT" YEAR AT TERRACE HILL
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.
AND YES - -
THERE's STILL MORE
EXCITING FUNDING NEWS!
ISE gratefully thanks the Metro and the State of Iowa
for our outstanding outcomes in
2015 funding awards.
THANK YOU BRAVO GREATER DES MOINES
AND IOWA ARTS COUNCIL
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.
THANK YOU GREATER DES MOINES!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So hit those
"Big Yellow Buttons"
above to learn more about ISE's
"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 GET IT - AGAIN - HIT THE
BIG YELLOW BUTTONS
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- -
to check out our
ISE Bard Blog
of exciting announcments,
insider posts and info,
and neat threads and "Shakespehere"
ideas to explore!
LOTS OF COOL NEW NEWS!
BARD BLOG HIGHLIGHTS BARD BLOG HIGHLIGTS BARD BLOG HIGHLIGHTS
OUR MOST RECENT AWARDS:
THE "HUZZAH!" LIST!
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 "
in the Metro's premiere charitable fundraising event-
The Principal Charity Classic.
this is the second year in a row
we have received this great ranking!
THANK YOU ISE SUPPORTERS!
Thanks to you
ISE IS the
"Little Engine That Could"
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!
PLUS ANOTHER RECENT HUZZAH!
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!)
AND STILL MORE 2014 OR NEWER
HUZZAH LIST AWARDS!
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!
FINALLY A SPECIAL HUZZAH
"SHOUT OUT" TO
OUR GROWING LIST OF SPONSORS:
ISE is always proud to recognize foundational and ongoing Sponsorship from some of the area's most prestigious cultural leaders:
Iowa Public Radio
We also thank:
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
BARD BLOG - PROSPERO'S PAGES - BARD BLOG
MORE RECENT MUSINGS!
- - 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!!
AFTER ALL -THESE NIGHTS SPEAK TO YOU!
and now... it's ALWAYS time to come out and
PSSST: HOT NEWS:
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
FUNDRAISING CHARITIES! WOW!
These great honors come complete with a nice financial award!
Thank you to The Principal and Sammons Financial - - and
THANK YOU ISE BOARD AND SUPPORTERS-
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,
AND FINALLY, HERE'S A GREAT NOTE
FROM AN AUDIENCE MEMBER WITH US SINCE OUR FOUNDING -AT A SPECIAL TIME:
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE CRITES; Summer 2014!
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 - OLDIES AND GOODIES - BARD BLOG
FAVORITES OF THE 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 - 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 .........
for past show reviews and future show plans,
Shakespeare Insider Discussion, Awards, Achievements
- and much more!
BARD BLOG - BARD BLOG - BARD BLOG - BARD BLOG
BLOG NOTES ABOUT ISE's
YEAR ROUND CLASSIC SHOWS
About our "Theatre-at-the-Great-Estates" series:
EVERY SINGLE SHOW OF OUR GREAT 2013 LINE UP SOLD OUT
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!
MORE GREAT TIDBITS ABOUT A CHRISMAS CAROL:
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:
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
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,
Dracula ...Evermore: Diaries of the UnDead
Plus: Special bonus Mini-act: the delicious poetic thrill of
Edgar Allan Poe
BARD BLOG - BARD BLOG - BARD BLOG
- -MORE IN ISE'S GREAT ESTATE SERIES - -
About ISE's mega-hit 9 Season
ISE's "A Christmas Carol"
at the Iowa Governor's Mansion
SNEAK PREVIEW OF OUR CHRISTMAS SHOW:
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!
MORE BARD BLOG:
PAST SHOW REVIEWS, INSIDER DISCUSSIONS, AWARDS AND MORE!
The Bard Blog Department of
BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS
THE WORLD IS MINE OYSTER
REMEMBERING ISE's SUMMER FESTIVAL 2013
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...
FESTIVAL SEASON 2013
CONCLUDED WITH HAVING
PRESENTED AN AMAZING SUMMER OF
FREE CLASSICAL ARTS:
2 terrific weekends
3 gorgeous stages
a host of new partnerships, sponsors, residencies and youth camps
4 wonderful shows in Repertory
8 Star-studded nights!
HERE IS A SAMPLING OF THE GREAT PROFESSIONAL REVIEW COMMENTARY AND OTHER PUBLIC COMMENTS WE ARE STILL RECEIVING FOR FEST SEASON 2013
A SAMPLING OF PROFESSIONAL REVIEWER COMMENTARY:
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!"
A SAMPLING OF WONDERFUL COMMUNITY,
AUDIENCE AND CAST MEMBER
COMMENTS FROM FREE SUMMER SEASON 2013:
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!
ASK THE BARD BLOG:
WHAT MIGHT BE NEXT FOR
SHAKESPERIENCE FESTIVAL OF
THE CLASSICAL PERFORMING ARTS?
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.
MEANWHILE: ALL OVER OUR NEW SITE WE SAY: HUZZZAH!
THANK YOU IOWA AUDIENCES, LEADERS AND ARTISTS...
... YOU are what our special Anniversary season and our constant growth has been all about!
Below you will find our "permanent"
- -but often updated- -
ISE BLOG STORIES
Just do the
on down the page
- and enjoy these
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!
THE IOWA SHAKESPEARE EXPERIENCE
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!
ALMOST DONE WITH STAGE II OF OUR 3-STAGE
AND ITS LOOKIN' MIGHTY GOOD THESE DAYS, INDEED!
- BARD 'N BUZZ: ISE Hot Topics and BREAKING NEWS!
- 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!"
- MINI-SCRAPBOOK of PHOTOS FROM OUR EARLY DAYS
INFORMATION WHICH HAS MOVED TO THE NEW DEDICATED WEBSITES:
YEAR ROUND SHOW INFORMATION, YOUTH PROGRAM INFO, "SAMPLE US" Videos and photos
SUMMER FESTIVAL DETAILS: Festival Fan Fare including:
- Quick Festival Info: Shows, Casts & Concerts!
- FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:
- 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!
WHAT WE SAY FAREWELL TO - - OR ARE CHANGING:
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!
BARD 'N BUZZ:
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!
R U Shakesperienced? Festival Fun Facts!
Shakesperience by the Numbers:
In only our first 4 years...
-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!
-58,135 and counting ...: Number of times our Actors have said the word "ZOUNDS!" (Ok, you're right: we are TOTALLY making that up!)
DEPARTMENT OF HUZZAH:
Awards! Funding! Huzzah! Hooray!
LOOK 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!
GOOD 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.
And 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!
MINI PHOTO SCRAPBOOK
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!
Mini Scrapbook 2004-2008
Our first 5 years as private sector Producers...
...thanks to all who supported us!
PHOTO: Inaugural Full Company, A Midsummer Night's Dream, July 2006
Lorenzo Sandoval and Robin Heinemann, Producers
PHOTO CREDITS THROUGHOUT THIS WEBSITE -GRATEFULLY RECOGNIZED BY THE PRODUCERS- INCLUDE
Bill Gentsche and NorthStar Photography
The extraordinary Eric Salmon
Special additional credits and thanks to:
Matt Wiggins Entertainment; Photography by Ava
with special thanks to Bill Nellans, Sally and Jeremiah