June 14 - july 10, 2022
After two years away from our usual stomping grounds, we are bringing Shakespeare back to the park! This season, we are bringing back the audience favourite A Midsummer Night's Dream, and for the very first time we will present Measure for Measure.
*Our 2022 Shakespeare in the Park festival is now complete. Thank you to everyone who participated on and off stage, and to all of our lovely audience members who continue to amaze us with your love and support of what we do.
See you all in 2023!
By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by David Horak
(Running on even dates and for most matinees)
Duke Theseus is preparing to marry the warrior Queen Hippolyta. Egeus enters the court wanting Theseus to discipline his daughter Hermia who is refusing to marry Demetrius, the suitor Egeus has chosen, because she has fallen in love with a man named Lysander instead. Egeus calls on Theseus to punish Hermia to the full extent of the law, though Hermia insists that she will not marry Demetrius regardless. Theseus tells her that she must resolve the problem by the day of his wedding; otherwise, she may be executed or forced to become a nun.
Hermia agrees to run away with Lysander into the forest. Hermia explains the plan to her friend Helena, who is deeply in love with Demetrius. Helena hopes that she can reclaim Demetrius’ love by telling him about Hermia’s plan. Lysander and Hermia set off through the woods; Demetrius and Helena follow.
The woods are home to a community of faeries. King Oberon and Queen Titania rule the faeries but often disagree with one another. Titania refuses to give up a magical child that she has acquired; so Oberon hatches a plot with his mischievous servant Puck. He sends Puck to collect a magical flower that produces a juice that, when dropped onto a sleeping person’s eyes, causes the sleeper to fall deeply in love with the first person they see when they wake. Also, in the woods, are a group of workers who are rehearsing a play for Theseus’ wedding.
As the workers rehearse, Demetrius tries to prevent Lysander and Hermia from reaching their destination and Helena doggedly pursues Demetrius. Oberon watches this and instructs Puck to use the magic potion to make Demetrius fall in love with Helena. Puck misinterprets the order and uses the potion on Lysander, who falls in love with Helena. Lysander abandons Hermia and chases Helena instead. Puck tries to resolve the mistake and makes Demetrius also fall in love with Helena.
Puck plays a prank on one of the workers, Bottom, and casts a spell that gives them a donkey’s head. Bottom does not notice, but all the other aspiring actors run away, assuming that this monstrous creature has killed Bottom. Oberon, however, has since applied the love potion to Titania’s eyes. When she wakes up and sees the donkey, she falls in love with Bottom. Oberon only lifts the spell when Titania agrees to allow him to take the magical child. Puck also lifts the love spell on Lysander.
The next morning, Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander wake and cannot remember what happened the night before, but the effects of the magic linger: Demetrius now loves Helena and Lysander has returned to Hermia. They return home and marry. After the weddings, Theseus calls for entertainment. The workers perform the play starring the now returned Bottom. When the play ends, the humans depart for bed, the faeries arrive and bless the court and the couples.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Nancy McAlear
(Running on odd dates and the July 10, 2022 matinee)
Duke Vincentio decides to transfer the government of The City to his deputy Angelo, assisted by Escalus, purporting to leave on a mission. In fact, he stays in the city, disguising himself as Father Lodowick. He explains to Father Peter that he has left it to Angelo to implement a strict moral code on his behalf.
Angelo enthusiastically begins the strict enforcement of the laws, including the death penalty for fornication. This affects Claudio, who has made his intended wife Juliet pregnant, and he is arrested for lechery. Claudio asks his friend Lucio to approach Isabella, his sister who has just entered a convent, to intercede for him. At the same time a constable, Elbow, brings Pompey before Escalus, on suspicion of keeping a brothel.
Isabella approaches Angelo, and asks him to be merciful. Angelo refuses, but is taken with her, and tells her to return. He offers to release Claudio if Isabella will sleep with him, but she refuses. Meanwhile, ‘Father Lodowick’ is on his way to visit the prisoners, when he meets Juliet and hears about her and Claudio’s love.
‘Father Lodowick’ overhears Isabella telling Claudio of Angelo’s proposal. Claudio appeals her by asking her to agree. The ‘Father’ intervenes, suggesting that she meet with Angelo, but that Mariana, a girl Angelo had jilted some years before, should take her place. The ‘Father’ arranges a meeting between Isabella and Mariana, who agrees to the plan.
Elbow is taking Pompey to be seen by Angelo, when they encounter Lucio. Pompey asks Lucio for bail, but Lucio refuses. The ‘Father’ is present, and engages Lucio in conversation, asking him what he thinks of Duke Vincentio. Lucio paints a black picture of the Duke’s character. Escalus and the Provost takes Mistress Overdone to prison. Escalus expresses his sympathy for Claudio to the ‘Father’.
The Provost gives Pompey a job assisting Abhorson, the executioner. Both Claudio and an unrepentant murderer, Barnardine, are due to die the next day. ‘Father Lodowick’ is present when a message arrives from Angelo, but instead of it being the expected pardon, it is an instruction for Claudio to be executed early in the morning, and for the head to be brought to him. Following the ‘Father’s’ suggestion, the head of a dead prisoner is substituted for Claudio’s.
Isabella arrives expecting to be told of Claudio’s release. Instead, ‘Father Lodowick’ tells her that Claudio is executed, and that she should obtain justice from the Duke, who is about to return. Duke Vincentio then arrives in the city, and is approached by Isabella, who accuses Angelo of his attempted seduction. The Duke pretends not to believe her, and has her arrested. To support her, Mariana reveals herself and affirms that she has slept with Angelo. ‘Father Lodowick’ is called for, and the Duke leaves, returning as the Father to defend the women. Condemned by Angelo as a false witness, he reveals himself. Angelo admits his guilt, but is pardoned on condition that he marries Mariana. Claudio is reunited with Juliet, and the Duke proposes to Isabella.
2022 cast members
Nick Bottom/Pyramus/ Ass - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Escalus - Measure for Measure
Ruth is an actor/musician. Originally from the UK she moved to Edmonton in 2017. Theatre credits include: A Christmas Carol (Citadel Theatre), The Children (Wild Side Productions, Roxy Theatre), TWO, The Birthday Party (Edmonton Fringe Festival), Silence (Timms Centre) ‘Once’ the Musical (Citadel theatre) Richard III (Northern Broadsides) Les Misérables (UK Tour), Sweeney Todd (Manchester), Blonde Bombshells of 1943 (London), i (Vienna) Macbeth (Liverpool). Ruth’s television credits include a reoccurring role on Coronation Street and she was a regular member of the BBC radio drama team for eight years. As a musical director her credits include The Invisible, Catalyst Theatre 2022 tour, Little Women and Kiss me Kate for Opera Nuova, Urinetown at Grant MacEwan University, A Little Night Music and Sunday in the Park with George (Paul McCartney Auditorium, Liverpool). Ruth was the musical director of the London revival production and cast recording of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and living in Paris and she also works as a composer and arranger. She lives in Edmonton with her husband, son and their dog Jolene.
Hippolyta/Titania - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Mistress Overdone - Measure for Measure
Nadien Chu is a theatre artist living and calling home Amiskwacîwâskahikan, Treaty 6 Territory. She is very grateful to be back in Hawrelak Park after a 2 year hiatus and working with this incredible ensemble of Creators. Squirrels, ravens...we missed performing with you! Enjoy the show! Select theatre credits include: Pretty Goblins/Sterling Award (Workshop West), The Roommate (Shadow Theatre), The Thin Man (Vertigo Theatre), All the Little Animals I have Eaten (One Yellow Rabbit),Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (Alberta Theatre Projects), Space//Space (Northern Light Theatre), The Winters Tale/ The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Titus Andronicus/Sterling Award (Freewill Shakespeare Festival),The Tempest,The Penelopiad (Citadel Theatre), Pig Girl, Palace of the End (Theatre Network).
"I think what I love most about acting Shakespeare is the exploration of the universality of themes he explores. These themes transcend time and place and resonate with the human condition in such deep ways: love, hate, good, evil, predestination, reality, greed, redemption..and the list goes on! His work is so fun and creatively satisfying to dive into!"
Helena - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Lucio - Duke- Measure for Measure
Brett Dahl is a queer director, writer, and performer. Selected acting credits include: A Christmas Carol, Romeo and Juliet (Theatre Calgary); Like Orpheus (OUTstages, International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Theatre Outré), Sleeping Beauty (Alberta Ballet), Chariots of Fire (Grand Theatre), King Lear, Twelfth Night, (Canadian Stage), The Circle (Alberta Theatre Projects), All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, (The Shakespeare Company), A Thought in Three Parts (Theatre Outré), A Worthy Opponent (Lunchbox Theatre), What The Thunder Said (One Yellow Rabbit), The Soul Collector (Catalyst Theatre), pool (no water) (Studio Theatre). Brett also hosts and curates the queer cabaret, SISSY FIT. Brett is a graduate of the BFA-Acting and currently pursing an MFA-Directing at the University of Alberta and is an Associate Artist with Theatre Outré. Brett was the recipient of Theatre Calgary’s Stephen Hair Emerging Actor Award in 2015 and the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award in 2018 and the RBC Emerging Artist Calgary Cultural Leader Award in 2020.
"Some of the best summers of my life have been performing or watching Shakespeare outdoors! I love Shakespeare because the text is so rich and fun to bring to life and believe it or not he was pretty queer (just read the sonnets to the young boy) - its about time we acknowledged that side of him!"
Yassine El Fassi El Fihri
Snug/Lion/Dandelion - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Claudio/Bernardine - Measure for Measure
Yassine (he/him) is currently at the University of Alberta completing a degree in acting. He is thrilled to be a part of the 2022 summer programming at Freewill. He hopes you enjoy the show! Past credits include: Macbeth (University of Alberta), Much Ado About Nothing (Freewill Shakespeare Festival), Into the Woods (Storybook Theatre).
"I've loved film since I was a kid. It's what first got me into acting. Movies have always made me feel like my world could be so much bigger than what was in front of me. The stories they told always transported me in a way that no other medium could."
Lysander - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Angelo - Measure for Measure
Vincent is an Edmonton based Director/Actor/Improvisor and has touched on just about every other aspect of theatre. He has been a moving force in the creation of new work and ensemble pieces focusing often in movement and the surreal. He is co-founder of the award winning company Surreal SoReal Theatre for which he was co-artistic director until 2014 and has served as Artistic Director for L'UniThéâtre. He is the recipient of a Jessie award (Vancouver Theatre Award) for best actor in a TYA and holds a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Alberta
Vincent has been many things when it comes to theatre. Actor/Improvisor/Dancer/Director/Designer/Stage Manager/Producer /Choreographer/ Audience Member. One could supposedly call him multi-disciplinary. This year he adds to the list: Lover & Corrupt Justice!
Peter Quince/SM/ Mustardseed - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Provost - Measure for Measure
Sarah is so very happy to be back in her hometown of Edmonton doing live theatre with Freewill in this amazing community. Other credits from the before times include: Midsummer Night’s Dream, Our Town (Theatre Rusticle) Lunenburg, Half Way There and Old Wives Tales (Port Stanley Festival), Frankenstein (Catalyst), Penelopiad, Make Mine Love (Citadel), Calendar Girls, Master the Art, A Christmas Story (Grand Theatre) Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey (Driftwood) Sarah has been keeping busy over the last couple of years baking sourdough bread, organizing the spice drawer, learning to play D and D and watching a lot of television. She has appeared in See, Handmaid's Tale, Damien, The Horror of Dolores Roach and 100 Lies Movie. Upcoming: Meet My Sister (Port Stanley Festival). Love and thanks to Tim, Joey and Charlie.
"Those friends thou hast, (Freewill Shakespeare Festival and their adoption tried, (33 years a company!!!!) Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.(Keep us going! Adopt an Actor! Keep us in your hearts!) [Polonius to Laertes]"
Hermia- A Midsummer Night's Dream
Mariana - Measure for Measure
Kijo Eunice Gatama is an Edmonton-based theatre performer, actor, clown, dancer, and emerging artistic director. Co-curator and producer of Fear The Festival, a horror film festival centring around elevating explorations by self-identifying members of IBPOC artists, as well as co-founder of Shakespeare’s Hunnies, an emerging artist blog. As a playwright, Gatama is strives to create theatre that explores more Folklore, and Queer Afro-Canadian experiences and story-telling. Most recently, Kijo played Athena, in Rochdale directed by Sandra Nichols, Tilly in She Kills Monsters directed by Mieko Ouchi, Annette in God of Carnage, directed by Pat Darbasie. Other select theatre credits include: The Lobbyist in Expanse Theatre Festival, Magpie The Conqueror a satirical clown piece in Play The Fool featured films, Titania in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antonio in Twelfth Night, and Phoebe from a re-imagination of the amazonians by Danielle LaRose in Amazonomachy with Tiger Heart’s Collective.
"Shakespeare has a way of building conflict, and as a drama queen myself, I love how outrageous they can get! As a writer too, I sit there wondering how is he going to get us out of this entanglement. Usually with a wedding or a blood bath ( hide your kids, and your wives)! I know for a fact if I were a character in his plot I would probably be on the chopping blocks like Lucio. whoops!"
Dayna Lea Hoffmann
Tom Snout/Wall/Moth/ Titania’s Fairy - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Juliet - Measure for Measure
Dayna is a mixed-race multidisciplinary artist from the Unceded Coast Salish Territories colloquially known as Surrey, BC. However, for the last three years, she has been living in Treaty No. 6 Territory (Edmonton) honing her skills of clown, acting, dance and juggling while attending the University of Alberta's BFA Acting Program. She additionally holds a diploma in Theatre from Douglas College and is a former performer, student and teacher of the Vancouver Circus School. Recent credits include: Hamlet in Isolation (Thou Art Here), The Man Who Fell To Pieces (Fairly Odd Productions), Jerusalem (United Players of Vancouver), God of Carnage, She Kills Monsters, and Rochdale (Studio Theatre). She is very excited to be a part of Freewill this year and looks forward life post-grad!
"I alway hated his plays (except Midsummer) for most of my life. However, I began reading Shakespeare in a zoom play-reading club during the start of the pandemic and I FELL IN LOVE. Together we read close to 20 of his plays during the dark times. I love the mystery and intrigue, I feel like an investigator trying to find out the sense of the text. This poetry requires attention to detail and I see it as a foundation for all of the acting I do."
Demetrius - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Father Peter/ Abhorson - Measure for Measure
Moses Kouyaté is a queer Afrikan performer raised in Amiskwaciwâskahikan. They hope to create art that may inspire people during great times of duress, for the oppressed masses, and hopefully to allow audiences to discover something they’ve never seen before. Recent performance credits include: She Kills Monsters (Studio Theatre), God of Carnage (Studio Theatre), Bat Boy: The Musical (Citadel Theatre), Tracks (Amoris Projects) and Cruising at 30 Kilometers a Second and Attempting Not To Crash (Mile Zero Dance). As a great lover of dance and musical theatre, Moses is ever grateful to perform live on stage again, and hopes to share the joy of theatre and storytelling with many more audiences soon.
Theseus/Oberon - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Pompey - Measure for Measure
Ian is an Edmonton based actor, director, independent producer, writer and instructor. Recent acting credits include: Much Ado About Nothing (Freewill Players), The Blue Hour (SkirtsAfire), E Day (The Serial Collective), Slight of Mind (Theatre Yes), Exit the King (Studio Theatre), Pugwash (Ship’s Company), and Stupid Fucking Bird (Edmonton Actors Theatre). He directed The Other Side of the Pole for Prime Stock Theatre, The Tempest for the University of Alberta BFA Acting program, and Proud, The Fever, and his own play U: The Comedy of Global Warming for his independent company, theatre no. 6. He regularly teaches a Shakespeare acting course at the University of Alberta.
Robin Starvelling/ Moonshine/Cobweb - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Isabella - Measure for Measure
Priya Narine (she/her) is a mixed race theatre artist and storyteller currently based in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton). She is thrilled to be making her Freewill debut this season. Previous credits include: Amazonomachy (Tiger’s Hearts Collective), A Christmas Carol (Citadel Theatre), Chrysothemis (Studio Theatre), Queen Lear is Dead (Fox Den Collective), Constellations (Flaming Peanuts), She's Not Him and He's Not Her (Empress of Blandings), and Slight of Mind (Citadel/Theatre Yes). Priya studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program. Endless love and thanks to friends and family. Enjoy the shows!
Egeus - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Elbow - Measure for Measure
No stranger to Shakespeare, Troy has played Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Greenfield Players), Egeus, Flute, and Mustardseed in A Midsummer Night's Dream (University of Alberta), Peaseblossom and Lord in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Citadel Theatre), Philostrate, First Fairy, and Snug in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Free Will Players), Philostrate, Starveling, and Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Leave It To Jane), Theseus and Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theatre Prospero), Starveling in A Midsummer Night's Dream (River City Shakespeare Festival), and Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Freewill Shakespeare Festival). Additionally, he has understudied Lysander and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Citadel Theatre). Directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (MacEwan University) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Players De Novo).
"Not counting the two times I've directed it, this is my ninth production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hoping for an even dozen before I retire. Still waiting to play Titania."
Philostrate- A Midsummer Night's Dream
Duke - Measure for Measure
Michael has been a theatre artist for over 25 years, calling Edmonton home since earning an MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta in 2008. His freelance acting and directing work has taken him coast to coast in Canada, to the U.S. and Europe, and he has performed with many of the leading independent and established companies in Edmonton and Calgary. He is also founder of the acclaimed indie company, wishbone theatre, and he teaches in Drama and Speech at Concordia University Edmonton. This is Michael’s third season with Freewill. He has played Oliver in As You Like It, Buckingham in Richard III, and was Assistant Director/ Dramaturg for The Winter’s Tale and Two Gents, back in the day. He is grateful and thrilled to be back in the park after many years, and humbled to share the stage once again with such intelligent and fearless theatre makers. Thanks to Nancy, Dave, the Company, and the entire Freewill creative and production teams - and to family, friends and colleagues for support and inspiration. More of you on this planet. Less of everything that is not you. Enjoy, and thanks for supporting live theatre in Edmonton... especially now.
Francis Flute/Thisbe/ Peaseblossom - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Nun / Froth - Measure for Measure
Dean Stockdale grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and is a player and writer of music, a dancer, and a pacifist. They believe in the woo-woo, but more so in science. They want to create art that educates, informs, and questions. Their most recent productions include the University of Alberta’s Studio Theatre’s Rochdale (Whitman), Studio Theatre’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (musical direction and Longaville and Holofernes), Studio Theatre’s She Kills Monsters (Vera), and La Troupe du Jour’s Pandamour (music direction and numerous characters). They are beyond psyched to be joining this year’s Freewill cast, as Shakespeare has always been a passion of theirs. Hopefully they aid in bringing The Bard back to life for you to enjoy!
"We do theatre because gathering together to share an experience feeds the before-times-monkey-brain in a way that's healthier and more soul-enriching than eating sugar or accumulating lots of things. I act because I care less about looking stupid than the average person and because I think there's something special about theatre being our oldest form of storytelling. In a way it makes us human."
Puck, Oberon’s Fairy - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Gentleman - Measure for Measure
Meegan Sweet (they/them) is a queer emerging artist and recent graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at the University of Alberta, class of 2020. They are also a 2016 graduate of the Theatre Performance and Creation program at Red Deer College. Recent theatre credits include, The Creature in the Dark (Puppeteer - Thousand Faces Festival), Invisible Thread Episodes 1 & 3 (Dancer/Creator - The Hidden Neighbourhood - Nextfest 2021), Suspension (Witness, Hayley Moorhouse - Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2019, Skirtsafire Festival 2020 & Alberta Queer Calendar Project), Revolt. She said. Revolt again. (Actor C - Studio Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet - Primestock Theatre), Exit the King (Juliette, Studio Theatre). Select film credits include: Onion V.S. The C-Lownavirus (All - Play the Fool International Short Film Festival 2021), Anonymous (Lex - IGNITE! Festival 2020). In their free time Meegan is also a florist. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my journey so far. There are not enough flowers to thank you with! Enjoy the show.
"If I'm not on the stage, you can find me by the water looking for rocks and watching the birds! A yellow-rumped warbler once told me the secret to good acting... they made me promise not to tell."
2022 creative team
Director: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Director: Measure for Measure
Sound Designer: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Sound Designer: Measure for Measure
Anastasia St. Amand
Fight Director & Intimacy Coach
Director/Playwright - Thou Art Here
Stage Manager: Measure for Measure
Stage Manager: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Apprentice Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Production & Technical Director
Assistant Production/Technical Director
Head Scenic Carpenter
Head Scenic Artist
Head of Prop/Props Person
Head of Wardrobe, Cutter
Head of Hair and Makeup
Head of Lighting
Wardrobe Assistant, Junior stitcher
Wardrobe Assistant, Junior stitcher
Stitcher, Boots and Shoes
Clara Dickson Dresser
Rebecca Cypher Stitcher
What people are saying about Freewill Shakespeare Festival
"This production was incredible and so full of life!!! Thank you for your risks in Shakespeare, heartfelt performances, and creating a summer festival I always look forward to! Loved the puppet shows by Thou Art Here. Can’t wait for next year 😎❤️🙌"
"We caught the show today. 👏 bravo. A summer tradition for our family. See you next ☀️ summer. Thank you."
"Mother Nature was in a mood tonight. It was fantastic."
"My granddaughter and daughter and I had a wonderful time at Midsummer Night's Dream at the Sunday matinee yesterday."
"[Measure for Measure] I love how you changed the ending. I was there with my teenage son and his friend. It resulted in some very good conversation on the ride home. Thanks for keeping Shakespeare relevant."
"I have been attending the Freewill Shakespeare Festival for years now. I always love it, I enjoy the outdoor atmosphere and I appreciate having access to local Shakespearean theatre and talent. Yesterday (Sunday, July 10th) I had the pleasure of attending the matinee showing of "Measure for Measure" and I was BLOWN AWAY! [Measure for Measure] First of all, what a timely message. Way to tackle corrupt politicians in power, human rights, social responsibilities, women's sexual rights and personal freedoms. The truth is, examples of corrupt leaders, powerful men expecting sexual favours in return for doing their job, marginalized communities and marraige as a way to solve social issues are as relevant today as they were in Shakespearean times. It stands as a great reminder- we have a long way to grow and evolve as society. Second, the ending! I loved this interpretation for the conclusion. In other versions I have seen, the play ends with Isabella all alone and curled up in the fetal position. To have the women come together and scream at the end was profound, gut wrenching and disturbing. The underlying message was poetic and it was not lost on me. Third, the entire cast and ensemble was simply brilliant. I must, however, single out Priya Narine. I still cannot get over Isabella's (Priya Narine) performance. Such a powerful, emotive and strong performance. I felt her interpretation of Isabella was clever, inspired and well captured. I was moved to tears (as well as laughter, rage, humility, and on and on...). I could wax lyrical for days. Simply put, thank you for this well acted interpretation of Measure for Measure. I will remember the impact this play had on me for a long time."