The Genesius Guild’s 2023 season will not open until June 10 at Rock Island’s Lincoln Park, but you don’t have to wait until then to see a production from the 67-year-old theater company.

Genesius is partnering with the Rock Island Public Library to offer a free performance of a joint Don Wooten and William Shakespeare production: Shakespeare’s Life in His Works. In honor of the Rock Island Library’s 150th anniversary celebration, the performance will be held Wednesday, May 17 at 6 p.m. in the new Watts Midtown Branch (2715 30th St., Rock Island).

Years before he started WVIK at Augustana in 1980, Don Wooten founded Genesius Guild in 1956.

Originally developed by Genesius Guild founder Don Wooten as a readers’ theater production and adapted by Marc Nelson, Shakespeare’s Life in His Works explores Shakespeare’s life and his tremendous impact on the English language through the lens of his plays, according to a Genesius release.

Shakespeare (1564-1616) regularly had trouble finding the right words or phrases to convey his desired meaning; to compensate, he created his own words and phrases that have become commonplace parts of the English lexicon, the company said. The production also showcases our historical knowledge of Shakespeare’s experiences growing up and how they are referenced in his later works.

Genesius Guild’s performance of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” at Lincoln Park, Rock Island, in summer 2022 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

Shakespeare’s Life in His Works highlights these literary parallels from his life, while featuring scenes from the plays where they first appear. The show includes bits from a wide variety of Shakespeare’s works, including OthelloMidsummer Night’s DreamHamlet, and Merry Wives of Windsor (among many others).

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, visit the Genesius website HERE.