Press Contact:
Robin Heinemann
Executive Director, The Iowa Shakespeare Experience
Executive Producer, Shakesperience™ Fest
PHOTOS:  Find information on downloadable photos on adjacent "Press Release" pages with our formal press release.  Full photo identification and captions are provided in a special section at the very end of that page.



Press Information at a Glance:

2010 Festival Dates / Times / Location:

  •  Shakesperience™ Festival provides youth, senior and community activities at various Metro-area libraries, Festivals and other community agencies from April through July.  
  •  “Shakespeare Shorts” sneak preview show in Windsor Heights at the Colby Park Performance Pavillion – July 11, 6:30 pm.  
  •  Regular performances of the Festival’s Mainstage shows in Simon Estes Amphitheater on the downtown Des Moines Riverwalk take place nightly at 8:15 pm from July 16-19, with July 20 provided as a Rain date, in the event any of the regularly scheduled performances rains out.   
  •  On each night of a mainstage performance, the grounds open at 6pm for picnics and other festival activities.
  •  Limited alternative indoor performance venue provided nightly in the event of weather
  • In the event of flood, festival moves next door to the historic Locust Street Bridge




“A Midsummer Night’s Dream Extravaganza” by William Shakespeare; adaptation by Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA:  Shakespeare's beloved romantic comedy - a magical, madcap tale of lust, love and laughter in the gardens of the King and Queen!


Executive Producer Robin Heinemann states:“ Would you like to swing on a star and carry moonbeams home in a jar? Then ‘get thee to the funnery’ of this terrific show- this is all the Shakespeare you remember – told in an enchanting way you will never forget – complete with live music and sizzling dance ”.  


Featuring Musical Director Tina Haase Findlay, original Choreography by Karina Barone.  


Picnics with Panache:


Executive Producer Robin Heinemann notes:


“While not required, in the manner of elegant picnicking popular at Shakespeare Festivals worldwide, each evening audience members are invited to bring their finest gourmet picnics, linens, candelabra and other picnic accouterments to the Festival to create the ‘best night of summer’.  Or wear your best floppy hats and summer frocks, or white bucks and straw boaters- some even come in Renaissance Attire!  Those who really get into the spirit will have fun regardless, but in an informal contest, may also be selected by organizers for immediate “on the spot” seating upgrades to our Festival VIP section.”


“Many consider Shakesperience Fest to be THE “date night” or “Friends Night Out” tradition of summer!  We’ve had one couple who proposed to each other at one of our earlier shows, and have come back ever year since …with ever-more elaborate picnics- last year, the husband set up a circle of red votive candles all around their picnic spread, matching the centerpiece of fresh red roses he placed in a crystal vase.  We also had a wedding take place directly on our stage set during one of our rehearsals.  All the Actors gathered around and afterwards, we serenaded the young couple with songs and sonnets!  And of course we invited them back to the Festival where we introduced them from the stage!”


“Shakesperience is a great place to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries of any sort- we will always give you a “shout out” from our stage.  Plus, for special occasions- or to make any occasion special, one of the hallmarks of our Festival is the way we celebrate picnicking “European style”  - in our special VIP tents that are available for private or corporate purchase.  A particularly elegant and fun approach to picnicking, this is a tax-deductible way to support the Festival while also creating the most memorably unique event ever for friends, family, business associates, or that special loved one.  We provide private tents that offer a birds-eye view of the entire Festival, plus front-section VIP seating.  We provide festive tent lighting and privacy curtains that billow in the breeze – and the customer is free to set up even the most elaborate picnic with style.  From tossing an oriental rug and pasha pillows on the tent floor to bringing in a full buffet table with candelabras and fresh flower centerpieces, Iowans really enjoy celebrating “the best night of summer” the way the grand old Festivals like Chicago’s Ravinia and Boston’s Tanglewood do.”



Mainstage Festival Schedule

and Details at a glance:


ALL Activities listed are FREE to the general public except where noted. 

Alerternative rain locations provided nightly for ALL Festival dates- see for more information. 


6:00 pm Grounds open for picnics:  “Picnic with Panache” informal contest provides VIP seating to particularly festive picnic groups!

7:15-7:45 Opening Night Director’s Talk by Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA, Plaza

8:00 pm “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Extravaganza” Pre-show begins, Curtain at 8:15 pm 

9:15 pm (approx):  Intermission Bites:  Featuring our special “Moonlight Medley” set with Tina Haase Findlay and special Guests Max Wellman and Fred Gazzo

Post-show Activities: Audience “Talk Back” with the cast and Director, on the stage; also, “Sonnet Slam” invitational!


6:00 pm Grounds open for picnics: “Picnic with Panache” informal contest provides VIP seating to particularly festive picnic groups!

  •  FREE Jasper Wine Tasting night in our Plaza: discover a new favorite with this terrific local winery! 
  •  FREE Grey Market Mini-Art Fair in our Plaza: sip your wine while browsing a select group of hand-made and unique wares from some of the Metro's hottest up-and-coming designers of jewelry, clothing and art! Enjoy a chance to meet the artists and leisurely browse in this intimate "trunk show" of delights.  

7:00 – 7:45 pm Pre-show activities:

Young Professionals Pre-show-Party: A Cast Party! Enjoy the twinkling skyline as you never have before, during an on-stage Networking Night.  The modest fee includes drink tickets and gourmet pizza --and will help benefit the Festival! Following the party, adjourn with the group to our special Young Professionals VIP seating area, where you can relax and enjoy the play in high style and great company! Buy tickets at the door. 

8:00 pm “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Extravaganza” Pre-show begins, Curtain at 8:15  

9:15 pm (approx):  Intermission Bites:  Featuring our special “Moonlight Medley” set with Tina Haase Findlay and special Guests Max Wellman and Fred Gazzo

July 18: SPECIAL JAZZ-IN-JULY PRE-SHOW event and VIP night

6:00 pm Grounds open for picnics: “Picnic with Panache” informal contest provides VIP seating to particularly festive picnic groups!

6:00 pm:  Special Jazz-in-July pre-show concert event:  The Jim Oatts Big Band

7:00 pm VIP Party (open to the public) Support the Festival and mix and mingle: Don't miss our VIP Pre-show Cocktail Soiree! Take the stage before the show to enjoy elegant nibbles and intimate chats with the artists. 7:00-7:45pm. Tickets range from $40-$150 and may be purchased in advance or at the gates. Call 515 274 8989 for more information. 

8:00 “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Extravaganza” Pre-show begins, Curtain at 8:15  

9:15 pm (approx):  Intermission Bites:  Featuring our special “Moonlight Medley” set with Tina Haase Findlay and special Guests Max Wellman and Fred Gazzo


Last chance to see the show!

6:00 pm Grounds open for picnics: “Picnic with Panache” informal contest provides VIP seating to particularly festive picnic groups!

7:00 pm Children’s circle: Nationally-published Iowa Author Cynthia Mercati reads from her recently published children’s book “Shakespeare and Me.” In the shady south end of the Plaza.  Books and autographs available! 

7:00 pm Belin String Quartet performs special family night performance of classical favorites from Romeo and Juliet, with interactive component

7:45 pm Fairy Circle Drumming- Kids of all ages are invited to come up to the stage to join a drum circle which will summon the Fairy Kingdom into our midst!

8:00 pm “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Extravaganza” Pre-show begins, Curtain at 8:15  

9:15 pm (approx):  Intermission Bites:  Featuring our special “Moonlight Medley” set with Tina Haase Findlay and special Guests Max Wellman and Fred Gazzo

RAINDATE: July 20:  8:15 performance at Simon Estes IF one of our regularly scheduled performances has sold out.  Limited alternative rain locations ALSO provided every night!



The Iowa Shakespeare Experience announces it has obtained a most sophisticated cast for a most sophisticated show!  The Iowa Shakespeare Experience is proud to announce the following roles have been cast for our 2010 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Extravaganza”:

Telling the sexy, sweet and funny story of everyone’s favorite set of dreamy young lovers:

Joe Parrish, John Spinx, Allison Hade and Tiffany Flory!

backed by veteran Lorenzo Sandoval as The King (Theseus)

Special Appearances by Ballerina Karina Barone as Titania, Queen of the Faeries. Karina and her dance partners will present the entire Oberon and Titania Faery Kingdom story without words- told entirely through magical, ethereal lyrical dance and regal ballet!  Don’t miss the sizzling pas de deux, featuring Matt Wiggins as King Oberon!

The 2010 Cast also Features:

A rare stage appearance by legendary Shakespearean Actor and Operatic talent Hollis Monroe of WOI FM, cast as Egeus.

And an equally rare stage appearance by one of Des Moines’ hottest stars of the Cabaret scene - the enchanting young chanteuse Heather MacLennan plays Hippolyta, coming back to the boards for this very special production

along with

John Zickefoose- as a most astute and debonair Rascal Puck!  Noel Coward of the Woods, indeed!






Said Artistic Director and Producer Lorenzo Sandoval, for immediate release:


“About Shakesperience™ Festival, Shakespeare himself would say: ‘It's a hit! A palpable hit!’ (W. Shakespeare, Hamlet) and we agree! 2009 attendance exceeded our expectations by 66% - and we expect the 2010 Festival to become even more THE place to be in mid July!  Because there is literally no bad seat in this house: The grassy Amphitheater is largely mosquito-free (!) - and now theatre goers will enjoy a twinkling city skyline and cooling river breezes.:

“Bring your best bottle of wine and gourmet picnics to "Shakesperience(tm) Fest": Iowa's premiere festival of FREE outdoor theatre under the stars - this year returning to gorgeous Simon Estes Amphitheatre and its stunning European-style setting along the new Des Moines Riverwalk! All shows are free and we make it a breeze to relax and have fun- there’s no hassle of purchasing tickets, plus there truly is not a bad seat in this house.”

“Perhaps the most exciting new 2010 development is the incredible combination of talent and interdisciplinary art that this particular show will offer. This year, there will be a magical convergence of all the different ways this famous story has been told:  In this single show, audiences will delight at a seamless blend of the art forms of Shakespearean text, verse, music, and lyrical dance. In fact, an entire story line – the romance of Faery Queen Titania and Faery King Oberon – will be told entirely in dance!  Given how exciting our shows always are, these added elements are sure to both please and captivate newcomers as well as the theatre aficionado." 



Said Executive Producer Robin Heinemann, for immediate release:


"This is a magical evening in a simply beautiful venue - -where there is literally "no bad seat in the house – and almost never any mosquitoes, either! Seeing Shakespeare in our riverside amphitheater with a picnic and a cool river breeze is such a great slice of summer! The event has a very European flavor- which we accentuate with tents and special lighting- all set against the twinkling Capital City skyline!" 

“The Festival’s location also offers plenty of convenient free parking, as well as various new Festival amenities such as special wine offerings hand-selected by one of the city’s most elite Wine Clubs, fun pre-show Activities, post-show audience Talk Backs- even a Sonnet Slam and a post-show Young Professional’s Cast Party and Dance Soiree!”

“Outdoor Shakespeare "under-the-stars" is a famous seasonal tradition enjoyed by people all over the world. Shakesperience(tm) Fest now ranks among Iowa's largest outdoor theatre events.”

"Our 2010 show will be particularly exciting! We call it ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream Extravaganza’ because in one single show, audiences will be able to enjoy all the many different ways this beloved story has been told- from spoken dialogue to song to dance.  Set romantically in a Monaco-like Dukedom, the show’s classic music will be a perfect complement to this favorite story of mischievous magic and spellbound romance.  Would you like to swing on a star- carry moonbeams home in a jar?  Then don’t miss this terrific show – its all the Shakespeare you remember- told in an enchanting new way you’ll never forget.”

"Our ability to make our shows FREE is another important element of this Festival.  The free offerings are reflective of all the terrific grant and other community support we have been receiving. Thanks go to Metro Arts Alliance, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Iowa Arts Council, the MacDonald Memorial Fund/Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, the City of Des Moines, McLellan Marketing Group, Cityview, and many, many others." 

“The fun doesn’t stop with just our terrific Mainstage shows. In addition, there are many firsts for the 2010 season of Shakesperience™ Fest. Among other 2010 firsts are a five-fold expansion of our popular FREE Shakesperience (tm) youth programs – a partnership with Metro Arts Alliance and with Libraries all throughout Metro Des Moines.  We also are unveiling a new version of our fun Shakespeare on the Aire Radio Series with the Utopian Theatre on”

“This year, we expect to see even more of our hallmark ‘picnics with panache’ taking place all over our grounds. The tradition of making ‘Shakespeare night’ the occasion for one's most elaborate picnic of the summer runs strong at Shakespeare festivals- and we celebrate it here! It is not uncommon to find attendees bringing gourmet food items in vintage wicker baskets complete with all the trimmings: there are wonderful spreads featuring chocolate-dipped strawberries or champagne on everyone’s best linen tablecloths – and of course, candles make it perfect! We even have a laid-back contest, where we offer those who really get into ‘Shakespeare Tailgating’ spirit with immediate VIP seating! We brake for Candelabras –details like men in straw boaters or even in tights - and women with floppy hats or Renaissance dress - -always catch our eye! 



“Shakesperience™ Fest is produced by our non-profit corporation The Iowa Shakespeare Experience, to which all donations are fully tax deductible.”