Coyoteopoly goal: Shakespeare fest in Vermillion

The summer of 2012 will be a milestone in the cultural offerings of Vermillion as well as the state.

Coyoteopoly, the University of South Dakotas student-run corporation, has partnered with the College of Fine Arts to prepare the first annual South Dakota Shakespeare Festival, set to take place June 8-10, 2012, at

Coyoteopoly President Brandon Flynn and the organizations CEO, Caleb Lyle, announce Tuesday a partnership with USDs College of Fine Arts to prepare the first annual South Dakota Shakespeare Festival in Vermillion in June 2012. Flynn and Lyle broke the news at a meeting of the Vermillion Rotary Club.

(Photo by Travis Gulbrandson)

Prentis Park.

We believe this is a great business and cultural opportunity for Vermillion, because South Dakota is one of the only states without a statewide Shakespeare festival, said Coyoteopoly CEO Caleb Lyle.

The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon during a presentation at the regular meeting of the Vermillion Rotary Club.

Chaya Gordon-Bland, assistant professor of theatre at USD, said the mission of the festival is simple, but important.

The idea of the festival is to bring free and accessible Shakespeare to the Vermillion community and beyond, she said. Through viewing this event, the goal is to provide a rich arts experience to strengthen and develop the community, as well as bolster the local economy.

The festival will be free and open to the public and will feature a full-length performance in the parks outdoor amphitheatre, along with vendors and other activities.

As well as the evening performances, during the day we plan to have workshops in the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts, Gordon-Bland said. The workshops will be targeted toward youth and will cover a variety of theatre and Shakespeare topics.

Funds for the festival will be raised through a variety of venues. A $5,000 project grant from the South Dakota Arts Council was submitted March 1, and an application for a South Dakota Tourism Matching Dollar Challenge Grant also will be filed.

A Coyoteopoly Casino Night also will be held Friday, April 8 from 6 to 11 p.m. at Pros Bar & Grill. It will feature a Texas Hold Em poker tournament for up to 160 players, and a blackjack table, with prizes.

Laurie Siegel, vice president of operation, said Coyoteopoly anticipates raising $4,000 net revenue from the casino night.

The overall budget for the Shakespeare festival is $30,000, half of which will be raised this semester, said Alyssa Morse, chief finance officer for Coyoteopoly.

I feel its important to mention that over 14 semesters of Coyoteopoly, we have raised more than $120,000, and always made money, she said.

While tickets will be free to festival-goers, they will be available for distribution only through sponsors of the festival, which currently are being lined up by the members of Coyoteopoly.

The greatest responsibility we have to offer our sponsors is being the primary distributors of tickets, said Coyoteopoly President Brandon Flynn. Each sponsor of the festival will receive a number of tickets that is directly correlated to their donation amount.

The first sponsor already has been established The Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company, which donated $500, and plans to donate an additional $500 in 2012.

By placing the 6,000 tickets in the hands of the events sponsors, Flynn said, further revenues can be generated for those businesses.

These festivals have a lot of potential and theyve been proven successful as an economic engine for the community they take place in, added Lyle.

Lyle cited as an example the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which he said attracted more than 400,000 attendees last year, with a local economic impact of just less than $62 million.

While the South Dakota festival wont reach that scale, Coyoteopoly vice president of marketing Ben Cahoy said it could attract plenty of visitors and revenue to the area.

As time progresses and the South Dakota Shakespeare Festivals brand name and reputation increases, future Coyoteopoly members will be able to market to a wider geographic area, and may eventually become a nationally-recognized Shakespeare festival, he said.

For more information on Coyoteopoly Casino Night, contact

Further information about Coyoteopoly is available at

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