Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Great Works Begins Theatre Troupe is Born!

Hello Folks!  This is the first post regarding my newest project: An outdoor production of A Midsummer Nights Dream / possibly the start of Peoria's own Shakespeare Festival. Myself, Sarah Tilford, and Andrew Rhodenbaugh are co-producing/co-directing/co-designing and acting in the production too....yikes! Andrew is playing Lysander, Sarah; Helena and I am playing Puck. The three of us founded The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe which is producing this show as well as several others over the course of the summer/early fall.

This production is something that has been in the works since we closed Angels in America back in November 2011. Our Angels group jived so well with each other and wanted to take advantage of the limited time we had left together. I am so excited that it is finally a reality. The way in which the three of us came together to start this was nothing short of magical and seemed to go from theory to reality in a day. It was beautiful. Before we knew it, we had a space, a script,  a press release (see below), a name for our company, list of contacts AND a cast of 21 people...INCLUDING a stage manager and props master! Whoa! Not bad for a grassroots budding theatre troupe in Peoria!

How we came across our space was a walk in the park...literally. Brenton (Demetrius) and I  went for a walk at Forrest Park Nature Preserve and on a whim stopped into their office to talk about the possibility of producing the play there. They not only agreed but also referred us to Camp Wokanda which had a more secluded space that could accommodate more people. We visited it and fell in love.

We are working with the Peoria Park District who has been so very supportive of all our crazy ideas so far. We DID have to submit an audition video to secure the space. Here is Sarah performing her monologue from Midsummer!

Needless to say, we passed the audition!

Today, Andrew and I pounded the pavement in Peoria Heights handing out our press release to local businesses. So far we have had positive responses and even had our press release posted on a Peoria website see it HERE

Here is our actual press release! 

The Great Work Begins, a new Peoria-area theatre troupe, will present an early June production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to be performed at Camp Wokanda in Chillicothe.

This all-ages show is scheduled for the first weekend in June, with two shows on Saturday, June 2 and one show on Sunday, June 3. Admission is free and donations can be made to the Peoria Park District before each performance.

This is the debut production for The Great Work Begins, a troupe comprised of three friends and fellow Bradley Alumni who came together performing in productions at Bradley's Hartman Center for the performing arts and Cornstock Theatre's Winter Playhouse. We are excited to offer a new chance for Peoria-area families and individuals to experience live theatre and cannot wait to perform it at such a beautiful outdoor space at Camp Wokanda. Theatre brought us together and we hope our production of A Midsummer Night's Dream will inspire others to take advantage of all the arts, the theatre and the great work that this area has to offer. 

Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a magical, family-friendly comedy that Shakespeare newcomers and fans alike will love and laugh along with. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon, lost in the dream unfolding onstage.

For further information please contact us at:

We will be paying for all show costs out of pocket and would be grateful to accept donations or sponsors. Any amount of support would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

The Great Work Begins
Theatre troupe

So, there it is folks! The start of an exciting and busy couple of months. I can not wait to see what more great things are going to unfold. I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have Sarah and Andrew in my life and that they are just as passionate and driven as I to put this production. I could not have gotten this far with out them. 

We have big plans for The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe. We want to bring a new alternative and collaborative form of theatre to the Peoria area that bridges the gap between Bradley, ICC, and the Community theatre groups. Once you see our cast list, I think you will agree that we succeeded. We are working to incorporate all the arts into one great work of art. 

Indeed...the Great Work has Begun!


  1. I will text you my address! Thank you Dani! And Thank you for bringing us together and inspiring us!