Chair: Kevin Mott
Vice Chair: Sue Quon
Secretary: Teresa Goldie
Treasurer: Michelle Docking
Artistic Associates: Tracey Byrne, Annette Loiselle, Troy O’Donnell
Directors at Large: Sandy Bugeja, Jody Jones, Janice MacDonald, Mary-Ellen Perley, Sarah Polkinghorne

Ex officio:
Marianne Copithorne ~ Artistic Director
Cadence Konopaki ~ Managing Director

If you are interested in joining our Board of Directors, please inquire here.


Message to our Audience – 2013

Dear friends,

Welcome to the 25th Anniversary of the Freewill Shakespeare Festival! We are delighted to welcome our new Managing Director, Cadence Konopaki! It is our distinct pleasure to introduce guest director Jim Guedo, actor Dave Horak, Young Company members Bobbi Goddard and Luc Tellier, and assistant stage manager Sang Sang Lee – all who are joining us for the first time. We’re thrilled to present Julien Arnold, Jesse Gervais, Sheldon Elter and Kristi Hansen, who return to our acting company for our extraordinary 25th season.

This summer’s productions are King Lear, directed by Jim Guedo, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by yours truly. Both plays share a common theme: the characters in both plays must surrender to the rules of nature once they choose to abandon the laws of society.

400 years ago, the Elizabethans came up with a brilliant form of entertainment when they combined theatre with the outdoors, but they were successful mostly due to Shakespeare’s talent to create passionate, inventive, imaginative, heartbreaking, hilarious stories with themes that inspired his audience members to suspend their belief, fuel their imaginations, and launch themselves into fantastic worlds that helped them to interpret their present world.

The challenge for our Festival has always been to encourage our audience members to enjoy and understand Shakespeare in our present world. His stories can move through time and geography and affect us profoundly, if we focus on the truth of his text, champion his themes, and build authentic characters that most any human being can relate to, in helping us to interpret him now.

A quarter of a century ago, a group of BFA acting graduates from the University of Alberta came up with the idea that Edmonton needed to provide an outdoor Shakespeare Festival for the citizens of Edmonton, and headed down to Hawrelak Park in 1989 to do just that. It was a pass the hat affair with a budget of about a thousand dollars. Today the Freewill Shakespeare Festival operates on a budget of just over half a million dollars, and since 1989, almost a quarter of a million audience members have been in attendance.

In the past 25 years, all the founders, actors, artistic directors, managing directors, designers, technicians, stage managers, production managers, administrative staff, board members, associates, volunteers, sponsors, donors, funding agencies, city council members, and audience goers have all become members of what we proudly call the Free Will Players. It is because of all of you that we are able to continue to bring productions of excellence to our community. We would like to thank you all for your amazing support and look forward to continuing our journey with you in the future. Welcome friends, and Happy Anniversary!

Marianne Copithorne
Artistic Director