The Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) will host a fidget-friendly production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on July 28 at 2 p.m. This event is welcoming anyone who may not usually feel comfortable in the traditionally quiet space of the theater. In most theatrical experiences, ushers would actively encourage silence (other than laughter and applause) from all audience members while a play is happening. During the fidget-friendly production, this will not happen and other audience members will be made aware that nervous fidgeting is to be expected and tolerated. The festival believes that the theater is a gathering place for all people, no matter their needs, and this production serves as a first step to making that belief a reality.
While patrons will still be directed to silence cellphones and other noise-making devices, the July 28 performance will be an opportunity for patrons who need to make a bit of noise or to fidget a friendly environment in which to do so. GRSF is hoping this performance will also make patrons who may be on the autism spectrum feel more comfortable in the theater.
The performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be followed be a free narrated set changeover. A great amount of work goes into changing the sets, lights, costumes, and props for the various plays that are produced on the mainstage, and audiences will be able to see this happen and ask questions of production personnel. This day is an opportunity to see the set change from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to “All’s Well That Ends Well.”
The Great River Shakespeare Festival is a nonprofit, professional equity theater company in Winona dedicated to dynamic productions of Shakespeare’s plays, extensive education and community outreach programs, and comprehensive theater training. Its production season has become a staple in the Winona arts scene since its inception 15 years ago. GRSF’s 15th anniversary season features “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “All’s Well That Ends Well,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Venus in Fur.” For more information visit grsf.org.