Shakespeare Festival will feature two young performers as the leads for “The Comedy of Errors”

On September 26th, the oldest Shakespeare Festival in Michigan will be returning to Grand Valley. This year, the theatre students as well as guest equity actor Paul Riopelle and GVSU alum Kyle Westmaas will present “The Comedy of Errors” with a western twist.

The play, “The Comedy of Errors”, has not been performed at GVSU since 2000, and several aspects of it will be different. Professor James Bell provided some insight into how this year’s play will be unlike previous performances.

“The last performance of “The Comedy of Errors” had a disco setting, but this time it is set in the Wild West so it’ll be different,” Bell said. “Also, it is really different this year because last time the guest equity actor had the lead role and this year he has a supporting role, and actually this year the lead roles are going to be performed by a freshman and sophomore.”

The Biannual Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival Conference will also be meeting this year from September 26-27. The conference will feature keynote speaker and resident scholar Tony Simotes. There will also be a public performance of Macbeth by the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Festival. The topic of this year’s conference will be focused around the issues that affect the teaching, production, and performance of Shakespeare to college and secondary students. Professor Bell remarked on the importance of addressing this issue.

“It is an opportunity to talk about how Shakespeare text can be used,” Bell said. “Not just having students dryly reading Romeo and Juliet, but having opportunities to do more workshops and explore other artistic ways to incorporate Shakespeare in the classroom.”

Students can get involved directly with the Shakespeare Festival by competing in the Shakespeare Festival’s Student Competition. In order to win cash prizes and have the opportunity to be showcased, students have to create a project that connects with either Shakespeare or the Renaissance era.

More information on the Shakespeare Festival is available at