If you’re looking for a summer volunteer opportunity in your own backyard, you don’t have to look far. The Shakespeare Festival of Dallas is back for its 27th season at Samuell Grand Park in East Dallas.

While the festival doesn’t hold casting calls for volunteer actors, the staff does depend on large numbers of volunteers to make the show happen each night.

“Each year, the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas relies on over 500 volunteers to assist with house activities,” says Robert McVay, the Festival’s executive director. “Without the generosity of the community, we would be hard-pressed to present professional Shakesperean productions each summer.”

Volunteers can choose from a variety of opportunities during evening performances. Volunteers greet audience members as they arrive, provide membership information to guests, coordinate the gift shop, rent lawn chairs and distribute programs.

Many companies, civic organizations and other groups select an evening and volunteer together. Individuals and families also are invited to get involved.

And the best part of volunteering for the Shakespeare Festival? You get to enjoy the show, too.

This summer’s schedule features two of the Bard’s best. “Much Ado About Nothing” runs June 16 through July 26 on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. “Anthony and Cleopatra” runs June 17 through July 24 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings.

For more information on volunteer opportunities with the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, call Vonda Jobe, volunteer coordinator, at 214-559-2778. For information on other volunteer opportunities, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas County at 214-826-6767.

Neighborhood resident Julie Clapp works for the non-profit Volunteer Center of Dallas County. Send comments to her at 6301 Gaston, Suite 820, Dallas 75214; FAX to 214-823-8866; or e-mail to editor@advocatemag.com.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.