The will to innovate

How the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival collaborates and innovates to keep winning audiences’ hearts year-round.

June 11, 2019


Sidonie Garrett has spent the last 16 years leading the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Her role encompasses everything from administration, to directing and producing plays, fundraising and more. The Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to making Shakespeare and Shakespeare-inspired works accessible to a diverse audience through a free, professional, outdoor festival, and additional free and paid performances and educational programs.

Sidonie also leads the charge of a newly formed collaboration between local live theatre groups called the Theatre Alliance of Kansas City. United in a common goal to elevate the importance of live theatre, the alliance is focused on sharing the overarching mission of this art form and building an audience together.

In this podcast episode, Sidonie shares insight into how she and her team work tirelessly to keep this cultural icon of Kansas City going strong (27 years and counting!).

KEY TAKEAWAYS (in the wise words of William Shakespeare and Sidonie Garrett!)

  • “It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”
    Always refer back to your mission. It is your guide, every time.

  • “Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.”
    Engagement happens when you are committed to continually learning and adapting. Sidonie and her team constantly listen, learn and adapt to ensure they’re effectively reaching their audience.

  • “The golden age is before us, not behind us.”
    Stay relevant. The intersection of where your audiences’ interests and your programs meet is the sweet spot. Lean into that to ensure relevancy.

  • “Love each other in moderation. That is the key to long-lasting love. Too fast is as bad as too slow.”
    Relationships are the most important element. Join, attend, stay tuned, donate….no matter what the outreach effort is, nonprofits are continually issuing a call to action. Though important, building relationships is vital. Stay true to that.

For information about performance dates and times for Shakespeare in Love, the 27th season of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, visit There you can also learn about other events, year-round education programs and how you can support the Shakespeare Festival.