“A palpable hit!” Hamlet





“Huzzah!” As early as our inaugural year, we started receiving notable imprimatur from our state’s leading Arts funder- in 2009 we were twice a “ Top Ten” arts project in the State of Iowa – and twice-funded by Iowa Arts Council – winning a virtually unprecendented TWO Iowa Arts Council grants, each reflective of rigorous review of artistic quality by specifically qualified arts experts… as well as explicit review for organizational and managerial capacity.  


In fact, the point totals of one of our Iowa Arts Council grant had us tied for THE highest point totals in that entire grant cycle!


We are also the proud recipient of a variety of important, meaningful awards from some of the most-recognized community agencies in the Metro.  A summary of our major awards to date:

  •  Recipient of  5 BRAVO Awards
  • Recipient of 2 Iowa Arts Council Awards
  •  Recipient of 2 Awards from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation




  •  Des Moines Register Designation:  Top Ten Things To Do In Iowa This Week” (This was a STATE WIDE designation- to be distinguished from the numerous times we are lilsted locally among "Top 5 Weekend Events" and similar metro area ranked listing almost too numerous to count.) 
  •  Front Cover and associated “Don’t miss” events: The Des Moines Datebook (Des Moines Register)



  •  Des Moines Music Coalition Commendation Letter to the City Council
  •  See also:  Accomplishments in association with Honors






Achivements Part I: Exciting Metric Measures of Success


Wow!  Our 2009 inaugural year brought so many measurable success markers – we were thrilled!


Among our many Metric measures of success are:



In our inaugural year, on our Festival Mainstage alone, we exceeded attendance expectations by fully 66%!


In our inaugural year, our total audience measured approximately 25,000 as follows:

  •  Approximately 4,000 attended our Mainstage Festival shows (the better part of 1000 each night!)
  •  Approximately 16,000 were served by one or more of 5 one-hour original Radio plays
  •  Approximately 5,000 saw our Strolling Shakespeare shows and sets at such venues as Cityview’s “Wine your Valentine” event, the Des Moines Arts Festival Stage, The Des Moines Pride Day Parade, the Des Moines Symphony Romeo and Juliet Concert, The “Bills on Will” East Village event, etc.
  •  Approximately 350 youth were served in educational programming




In our inaugural year, we created 53 NEW jobs for the creative economy.

What’s more, we employed a notably diverse worker pool.  In our inaugural year, our diversity statistics were as follows: 


-16% were English as Second Language” 

New Iowans


-20% were minorities (African American, Latino, Asian, Iraqui), 


-45% were women,


-30% were Young Professionals

30 and under, and


-16% were Seniors 

(55 and older.)





Data from our inaugural year shows approximately 34% of our audience registrants self-described brand-new to Shakespeare- exactly our target numbers for our role in increasing Iowan involvement in the arts!


  •  During our inaugural year, over 400 NEW names registered on our Mailing list! 




We were extremely pleased to the degree that our attendance registration base was comprised of people hungry for Shakespeare!  In our inaugural year:


  •  40 % self-described as having had some exposure to Shakespeare,
  •  26% self-described as being Expert Shakespeare Fans  





In our inaugural year, we already saw our projected “Festival Effect” provide the outcomes one expects, in terms of a Shakespeare Festival’s proven ability to draw tourism.  (Most Shakespeare Festivals draw from at least a 90 mile radius, which in the Metro Des Moines area, encompasses some 150 towns OUTSIDE the Golden Circle.)


Specifically, we drew audience members from at least 29 cities beyond the Metro, such as from Grinnell, Pella, Atlantic and Oskaloosa. 


Roughly 30% percent of our inaugural audience were from cities other than Des Moines/WDM.  (Data is preliminary)


Shakespeare Festivals tend to draw demographics particularly highly prized in terms of the development of regional economies:




Achivements Part II: Additional Markers of Success

 Our Artistic Director, Lorenzo Sandoval, not only recieved his MFA the University of Iowa -- -THE nation's number-one ranked school for MFAs in the country (not to mention from the internationally-reouned Iowa Playwright's Workshop) - - but additionally, he was also one of the nation's scant 100 Patricia Robers Harris Fellows of the Arts.  He is addtionally a 5 time winner of the Prairie Playwright Award, and his many other achievements and accomplishments are listed in his bio sketch- posted to the "Professional Leadership" section of this website.



  • Listing: Iowa Non-Profit Registry of Non-Profit Accountability
  • ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH HONORS: The ISE had the distinct honor of serving as Co-producer for: The National Players – the nation’s oldest national traveling Shakespearan Troupe came to Des Moines for an ISE production of Much Ado About Nothing – fresh from stages like the White House stage and Carnegie Hall!
  • ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH HONORS: The ISE’s Artistic Director, Lorenzo Sandoval, had the distinct honor of being invited as the Introductory Presenter in association with Iowa State University’s Stephens Auditorium presentation of “As You Like It” by Aquilla – one of the worlds’ most accomplished international traveling Shakespeare Acting Troupes


Professional Memberships:

The following memberships speak clearly to ISE quality; both artistic and administrative.  Most of these organizations also manifest explicit ethical standards -- standards to which the ISE explicitly ascribes.


  • Shakespeare Association of America (part of the Shakespeare World Congress)
  • Shakespeare Theatre Association of America
  • International Festival and Events Association
  • Metro Arts Alliance


Additionally, ISE staff also are members of the following prestigious Metro Leadership organizations and premiere Artistic Rosters:


  • Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute
  • Leadership Iowa


Artistic Quality Rosters:  Our Artistic Director, Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA, has been rostered as a top-quality artist by some of our state’s most prestigious juries of experts onto the following premiere Arts Rosters:


  • Iowa Arts Council
  • Metro Arts Alliance
  • P’ARTners Unlimited


And additionally, during his time at the internationally-renowned Iowa Playwrights Workshop at the number one MFA school of the University of Iowa (where he taught as well as received his MFA) Mr. Sandoval was one of the America’s scant 100 national Patricia Roberts Harris Fellows


Used to working with outstanding team members: Finally, our data shows that over the past 8 years of our show history, our shows have reliably averaged 3-4 MFA or Conservatory Artists per show, an additional 3-5 degreed Theatre Artists, plus a variety of other Rostered Artists and leading artists from cross-disciplinary fields.   In fact, Lorenzo has even directed Emmy-Award winning Actor Greg Allen Williams in a very special production.  Suffice it to say we pull in truly fabulous professional teams!

And, although we employ local artists, we routinely work with Artists with considerable “big city” experience gained on in Chicago and/or on either the East or West Coasts.  Also, our leadership staff has worked regularly with talent ranging from the folks at New York City's Saturday Night Live, to the award-winning National Players, to pulitzer prize winner Nilo Cruz and award-winning artist Enrique Chagoya , and we bring all that we have learned from these exciting and enriching experiences to this terrific endeavor!