Joplin, MO (SNS) – A new fundraising push is underway to help support the annual Missouri Shakespeare Festival at Missouri Southern State University.

Organizers hope to raise $25,000 in order to provide a stipend for company members, plus assistance with travel, food and lodging for those who need it.

“All along, the backbone of our enterprise has been the willingness of talented people to volunteer their time and energy (to the annual production),” said Dr. Jim Lile, the festival’s artistic director. “We want to bring in a company of 12 and make them fully stipendiary.

“Our goal is to become a really attractive place for actors to want to come and spend a month.”

The festival was launched in 2013 with a production of “Macbeth,” continuing in 2014 with “Twelfth Night” and “The Tempest” in 2015. This year’s production – planned for June 23-26 – will be “Romeo and Juliet.”

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched at, with four different giving levels and funding perks.

“Please know that whatever level, at whatever amount, your gift will be gratefully acknowledged and carefully used,” said Lile.

For more information about the Missouri Shakespeare Festival, visit