COVID-19 Response

Season 17 Postponement

We want to extend to you our sincerest gratitude for the outpouring of love and support you’ve graciously given us, and thank you for purchasing a ticket to Season 17. There is no easy way to put this: due to the continued threat of COVID-19, we are postponing the 2020 season. Because our process is so dependent on the presence of many workers who arrive from outside of the community – and who arrive in the beginning of May to begin the build process – we cannot in good conscience put our company nor the community at risk for increasing the spread of COVID-19. As dedicated members of the Winona community, we feel at this time that it is our civic duty to limit the chances of more people being exposed to the virus.

We want to make it very clear that this is not a cancellation. We will mount the season planned for this summer in 2021. Our directors, designers, and technicians have been hard at work and planning since the fall, and we don’t intend to let that work go to waste. This coming summer was on its way to being one of our strongest seasons yet; and while we are disappointed we won’t get to perform it in the way we anticipated, we look forward to coming back next year – and coming back stronger.
Now, more than ever, it is important for the Festival to survive and grow through this crisis. Theaters have shuttered across the country, and many artists find themselves suddenly unemployed. It is essential that Great River Shakespeare Festival does not collapse. In order to ensure our future, we must consider both community health and financial health. By postponing this season, we will continue to be a place where artists can convene and practice their craft, an educational and artistic outlet for the community, and a home for a diverse array of artists.

Above: Michael Fitzpatrick, Chris Mixon, and Maya Jackson in Shipwrecked: An Entertainment, GRSF 2017. Photo by Dan Norman.

At this time, we are postponing productions ONLY. We are currently strategizing ways to continue to offer our education programs, as well as brainstorming distance learning and engagement opportunities for the whole community. We are also looking into possible ways to produce plays in the fall or winter.

By making the difficult choice to postpone the productions this season, we are ensuring that we will survive until next summer – and thrive in the summers to come.

Below you will find detailed information about how to handle your reservations for Season 17. 

Thank you again for your support and for making an investment in the arts by purchasing a ticket to Great River Shakespeare Festival. Know that this is not a curtain call. This is only an intermission. And we will be back for the next act.

We can’t wait to see you when the lights come up again.

Click the link below to hear the postponement message from our Festival leaders

Your tickets for Season 17

Below are some options for handling your Season 17 tickets. We are planning to produce the same plays on the same days of the week as the current schedule. We will post and updated calendar for 2021 as soon as possible, and will notify you when it is available.


The costs to organizations and individual artists as a result of COVID-19 are immense and unprecedented. If you are able, please consider donating the value of your ticket back to the Festival and re-purchasing tickets for 2021 later in the year. To do this, email and let us know you’d like to donate your tickets.


If you want to come on the same day for the same performance(s), this option couldn’t be easier. All you have to do – is nothing! We will be going through and updating everyone’s tickets to 2021 performances. You will receive an updated confirmation by December 2020. If you had your tickets printed and/or mailed, we’ll send you new ones by the end of the year. All emailed tickets will be re-sent with new dates.


Once the new calendar is published and you see your augmented ticket confirmation, you may want to choose a different date or performance for 2021. To do this, please email AFTER you have received an updated confirmation and we have released the 2021 calendar. Exchanges are free of charge and completely painless!


If you feel more comfortable with a refund, we are waiving our “no refund” policy during this time, as so many families are faced with unforseen financial hardships. To request a refund, please fill out this form NO LATER THAN June 30, 2020 and specify which tickets you’d like refunded. If you have difficulty with the form, you can email or call 507.474.7900.


The options for your season pass are the same as those available to single ticket-holders. If you are able, please consider donating the value of your pass back to the festival and re-purchasing a pass later this year. You may also just hold on to your pass until 2021 – if you had chosen dates/seats already, they will be transferred to the 2021 season (see “Maintain Your Current Reservation” above). Finally, if your financial situation necessitates a refund, please see “Request a Refund” above.


At this time, all education programs (Will’s Creative Drama, Will’s Power Players, SYA, SYF, and SYD) will continue as planned. We are coordinating with our teaching artists to make sure we can still offer your child the comprehensive theater education you expect. However, we are strategizing possible distance learning opportunities in the event that small gatherings are still discouraged come July. For questions, please contact