One of my fondest memories of summer is attending Shakespeare in the Park. These shows in Dallas usually started at 8 p.m., and by the end of the 2-hour show it had cooled down to 90 degrees! The shows were funded by donations and were a great way to introduce our kids to the world of Shakespearian theatre.
Shakespeare Returns to Thurston County
This past Saturday, we once again enjoyed the experience of witnessing actors portraying the great works of The Bard in an outdoor venue though this time it was much cooler (in more ways than just the air temperature). After a three-year pandemic hiatus, Animal Fire Theatre is again offering Shakespeare in Squaxin Park (formerly Priest Point Park). This year they present Twelfth Night. Shows are offered every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through September 4, they begin at 6:30 p.m. and are free to everyone – though donations are gratefully accepted… and sharp-looking t-shirts are available, too!
 I recently spoke with two of the actors/leaders/board members/production crew; you see, Animal Fire Theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and an all-volunteer organization, so everyone plays multiple roles. According to Scott Douglas (aka Duke Orsino, ruler of Illyria,) the organization was started by a group of theater students from the University of Idaho’s theater program. The founders produced their favorite Shakespeare plays in whatever space they could find with whatever budget they could pull together. “The group named themselves “Animal” after the “animals exercise” that inspired them during their U of I classes and “Fire” for their passion and inspiration”, said Orsino (I mean Douglas). “The plays of William Shakespeare are meant to be acted, not read. When you read a Shakespeare play, versus seeing it acted, you miss a lot of comedy and humor.”
The mission of Animal Fire Theatre is toengage our community in the exploration of the human experience through high-quality, impassioned theatrical productions accessible to all. “We view ourselves as a gateway drug to theater,” says Rachel Permann (aka the Director of 12th Night as well as Maria, the lady-in-waiting for Olivia). “People are often reticent to see Shakespeare, and we give ourselves a small pat on the back in that we are able to make it understandable.”
If you have never been to a Shakespeare play, I encourage you to attend one of these shows and see how much fun it can be – oh, and you may want to bring a blanket! Click here for more details. 
Another Park Event
Junior League of Olympia is hosting an Open House at Woodruff Park (see map) this Thursday, August 18, from 6 – 7 p.m. Attend to learn more about how as a Junior League of Olympia member you can make a difference within your community, grow your leadership through training, develop long-lasting friendships and advance the social and emotional well-being of children and youth in our area. Click here for more details.
Grab a Beer
Celebrate the legacy of brewing and its importance to Tumwater’s history at the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest at Tumwater Valley Golf Course on Saturday, Aug 20 from 1 – 8 p.m. The Tumwater Artesian Brewfest provides a unique outdoor venue (in the shadow of the former Olympia Brewery) for you to sip craft beers from regional breweries along with cider, wine, and spirits; savor food from local vendors and restaurants, and play super-sized beer pong, try your hand at putt-putt golf, enter beer-stein-holding competitions, and more! There will be more than 100 beverage choices in all, not to mention delicious food, fun games, and captivating entertainment. This is a 21 and over event. Click here for more details.
Soliciting your ideas
If you know of a nonprofit that is doing something great, celebrating a success, needs some outstanding volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!
 Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and to individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to her at
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