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Bring on the Bard

Roving performers bring a touch of Shakespeare to various Edmonton locations this summer, following cancellation of the popular Hawrelak Park Freewill Shakespeare Festival due to COVID-19.
The Free Willies will offer music, comedy and, of course, Shakespeare at roving locations this summer. Photo: supplied.

If you need your Shakespeare fix this summer, as the midsummer night's journey to Hawrelak Park has been shelved due to COVID-19, here's an option. The Freewill Shakespeare Festival & Thou Art Here offer The Free Willies, a local mix of actors and musicians joining forces to create a show touring to parks, farmer’s markets, and front porches with a blend of music, comedy, and, of course, Shakespeare.

The Freewill Shakespeare Festival postponed their annual summer festival in May. Previously announced productions Macbeth & Much Ado About Nothing will now hit Hawrelak Park June 15 to July 11, 2021.


Freewill Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director David Horak said he wanted to continue to provide Edmonton audiences with a healthy dose of summer Shakespeare, and so The Free Willies troupe was born. He partnered with local independent theatre company Thou Art Here to create a show that harkens back to the travelling troubadours wandering the English countryside during Shakespeare’s time, he said.

The Free Willies are local performers Billy Brown, Jameela McNeil and Chariz Faulmino, who will maintain physically distant protocols while performing songs, comedy sketches, and reading Shakespeare in safe and entertaining fashion. This family friendly show is aimed to lift spirits and put a smile on everyone’s face.

Locations for The Free Willies performances will not be announced until just prior on social media. Follow The Free Willies on social feeds for Freewill Shakespeare Festival and Thou Art Here.