Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s WillPower Program Returns Virtually Spring 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Tina Louise Slak

November 17, 2020

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s educational Linny Fowler WillPower Tour will return to schools spring 2021 with a first-ever virtual performance.

Traditionally, the tour took to the road, logging thousands of miles, and performed in schools during the fall semester. Due to the pandemic, the tour was postponed and will now return this spring as a virtual educational experience.

The WillPower Program production will be filmed in PSF’s mainstage theatre, keeping true to the live theatre experience, and will feature professional actor/teaching artists performing a professionally directed 80-minute production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

To enhance the experience, the WillPower Program also includes supplemental educational material including a filmed talkback and interviews with artists; a digital study guide with classroom activities aligned to Pennsylvania Common Core Standards to help students explore the characters, plot, and themes before viewing the production; and optional virtual workshops that give students the opportunity to explore the power of Shakespeare’s language.

“As a result of offering the program in a digital format, which can be accessed flexibly and repeatedly over a number of weeks,” says Patrick Mulcahy, producing artistic director, “participating schools will have even greater access to the performance and educational materials for more of their students than usual. And unlike when we travel by van and truck, this year any school anywhere in the world can participate.“

To register a school for the 2021 WillPower Program, or for more information and questions, educators and home school groups can email Education Director Anelise Diaz at

For pricing, additional details, and registration please visit

About the WillPower Program

The Linny Fowler WillPower Tour is the centerpiece of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s educational programming. Over the past 20 years, WillPower has toured 41 out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania and reached more than 200,000 students in 187 schools in PA, NJ, and DE. The tour has also reached all of the middle and high schools in the Allentown School District.

In support of this educational program, the Festival was recently awarded a $25,000 NEA Shakespeare in American Communities Grant. Arts Midwest, in partnership with the NEA, awards $1.7 million to support Shakespeare programs with theatre companies, schools, and the juvenile justice system. This is the 13th year that the Festival has been supported and recognized with this award.

About Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy, is the only professional Equity theatre of its scope and scale within a 50-mile radius. PSF is one of only a handful of theatres on the continent producing Shakespeare, musicals, classics, and contemporary plays, all of which can all be seen in rep and in multiple spaces within a few visits in a single summer season. Similarly, PSF was among just a handful of theatres on the continent in recent summers to produce three Shakespeare plays in a single summer season.  A patron would have to travel seven to nine hours from PSF to find a comparable range of offerings at a single theatre within a few weeks’ time.

The Festival’s award-winning company of many world-class artists includes Broadway, film, and television veterans, and winners and nominees of the Tony, Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, Hayes, Lortel, and Barrymore awards. A leading Shakespeare theatre with a national reputation for excellence, PSF has received coverage in The Washington Post, NPR, American Theatre Magazine,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and in recent seasons The New York Times has identified PSF as one of the leading summer theatre festivals in the nation. “A world-class theater experience on a par with the top Bard fests,” is how one New York Drama Desk reviewer characterized PSF.

Founded in 1992 and the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PSF’s mission is to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience through first-rate productions of classical and contemporary plays, with a core commitment to Shakespeare and other master dramatists, and through an array of education and mentorship programs. A not-for-profit theatre, PSF receives significant support from its host, DeSales University, from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. With 150 performances of seven productions, the Festival attracts patrons each summer from 30+ states. In 28 years, PSF has offered 175 total productions (74 Shakespeare), and entertained 1,000,000+ patrons from 50 states, now averaging 34,000-40,000 in attendance each summer season, plus another 13,000 students each year through its WillPower Tour. PSF is a multi-year recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts: Shakespeare in American Communities, and is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group, and the Shakespeare Theatre Association. In 2013, leaders of the world’s premier Shakespeare theatres gathered at PSF as the Festival hosted the international STA Conference.

The Festival’s vision is for world-class theatre.