The Free Will Players are a not-for-profit theatre company formed in 1989 to present the Freewill Shakespeare Festival in the beautiful Edmonton river valley under the Heritage Amphitheatre Tent in Hawrelak Park.
The company creates professional, contemporary, innovative productions of the works of William Shakespeare that are accessible to all audiences (regardless of age, ability, education, or income levels), while also developing new audiences and mentoring theatre professionals of the future.
The Free Will Players Guild creates professional, contemporary, innovative productions of the works of William Shakespeare that are accessible to most audiences, regardless of age, ability, education, or income levels, while also developing new audiences and mentoring theatre professionals of the future.
To explore and produce the works of William Shakespeare in an outdoor setting; as interpreted by an ensemble of professional Canadian actors, directors, designers and technicians.
To illuminate in a bold, modern way the humanity of Shakespeare, and explore the relevance of his themes for contemporary audiences.
To provide further investigation of Shakespeare’s world and his impact on present day theatre and dramatic thought.
To inspire young artists in further enjoyment of Shakespeare.
To remain financially accessible to all, regardless of financial situation.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is Treaty No. 6 territory and a traditional meeting ground and home of the First Nations, including both the treaty signatories – Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Stony and Cree-Iroquois – as well as other Indigenous peoples who did not sign the treaty, such as the Blackfoot and Métis, who occupied this land. We extend our appreciation for the opportunity to live, create and perform on this territory.
The 35 / 50 Initiatives
The Free Will Board and the Diversity Committee have been looking to take concrete action in order to move the organization forward in being more equitable and diverse and are taking steps in making that a reality. The 35//50 Initiative has asked professional theatres in Alberta to commit to a set of organizational beliefs and policies that will result in 35%+ of staff and contractors who identify as Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour and 50%+ of staff and contractors who identify as female and non-binary. The Free Will Shakespeare Festival has begun making changes in order to better represent the Edmonton community and believe in many of the goals of this call to action. We look forward to working with the members of the 35//50 Initiative in order to meet the 35% and 50% metrics by the 2024/25 theatre season. We have much work to make these changes but we strongly believe that these changes are necessary and long overdue.