Free outdoor theater returns to Rock Island’s Lincoln Park this weekend as the Genesius Guild opens their 2023 season.

The local theater company opens their 67th season by staging Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona” June 10, 11, 17, and 18. All performances are free, starting at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Don Wooten Stage in Lincoln Park, 1120 40th St.

Thought by some scholars to be the first play written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), “Two Gentlemen of Verona” is a comedy that tells the story of two young men, sent away from home to learn how to be gentlemen, who fall in love with the same woman.

Olivia Akers, left, and Tatyana DelPreore in Genesius Guild’s new production of “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.”

The play also is Genesius Guild’s annual high school production, with a cast featuring outstanding talent from high schools across the Quad Cities — including Geno DelPreore from Assumption as Proteus; Gabe Thompson from Moline as Valentine. The two female leads are QC natives Erica Heiselman as Sylvia and Oivia Akers as Julia (who both attend Oklahoma City University. Akers was in Genesius Guild’s “Romeo & Juliet” and “The Wasps” last year.

“This is a great opportunity to connect the community’s youth to classical theater, while mentoring and teaching skills they will use throughout their lives,” Genesius executive director Isabel Dawson said. “Watching their growth has been inspiring.”

Geno DelPreore is one of the titular “Two Gentlemen of Verona” at Lincoln Park, Rock Island, opening Saturday, June 10.

This high school outreach is made possible by a grant from the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation.

The Genesius Guild is a community theater organization specializing in free classical drama. Founded in 1956, the group performs Greek drama, Greek comedy, the works of Shakespeare, and other classical authors every weekend throughout the summer.

For more information about the Guild, visit its website HERE.