Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

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The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is a regional, nonprofit theater company that performs works by William Shakespeare (and others) at Boscobel in Garrison, NY. The company also runs several education programs.


A 1987 performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream which was held as a fundraiser for Manitoga, the Garrison home of industrial designer Russell Wright, served as inspiration for the festival. It was produced by Melissa Stern Lourie in cooperation with the Twenty-Ninth Street Project, and directed by Terrence O'Brien. O'Brien and Lourie decided to found an annual festival. Since 1988, the festival has performed at the Boscobel Restoration in Garrison, New York.[1]

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival was the subject of a one hour documentary and two hour film of a performance of Twelfth Night which premiered on the PBS affiliate WNET (Channel 13 in New York City) on September 18, 2008. The program has aired since then on WLIW (Channel 21 on Long Island) and is scheduled for broadcast on a number of PBS affiliates in the region.[2][3]


With its plays performed in an open air location, the grounds of the Boscobel Restoration in Garrison, NY, the festival is known for its beautiful backdrop.[1][4] The stage, a rough patch of dirt that is on the same level as the first few rows of the audience, recedes into lawns with "breathtaking vistas"[1] of the Hudson River and West Point in the distance.[5] The company uses the vast open space behind the stage as a prop for the plays.[4] According to Ben Brantley of The New York Times, "nature and Shakespeare are the stars" in this festival.[6]


It produces classic works with an economy of style, focusing on script, actors and audience with the Hudson River and Hudson Highlands as its set and setting.[7] The Wall Street Journal hails it as, "The most purely enjoyable summer Shakespeare festival in America," while The New York Times comments, "If anyone wonders about the future of live theater or asks where the audience is, the answer is 'Under that tent."[8]

It is listed as a Major Festival in the book Shakespeare Festivals Around the World by Marcus D. Gregio (Editor), 2004.

Education Programs[edit]

In addition to its summer productions, the Festival sponsors year-round education programs that reach over 35,000 students annually from elementary school through college. These programs include Access-Shakespeare, a fully staged touring production; Shakespeare Students on Stage, and Free Will, an artists-in-residence program; and the Teaching Shakespeare Summer Institute. In addition, the Festival runs a summer Apprentice Program for a select group of college-age actors who are seriously committed to pursuing professional careers in acting.

   1987: A Midsummer Night's Dream
   1988: As You Like It
   1989: Twelfth Night
   1990: Much Ado About Nothing
   1991: Romeo and Juliet
   1992: The Taming of the Shrew
   1993: The Merry Wives of Windsor
   1994: Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors
   1995: The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona
   1996: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love’s Labour's Lost
   1997: Tartuffe, As You Like It
   1998: A Winter’s Tale, Much Ado About Nothing
   1999: Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night
   2000: Measure for Measure, Taming of the Shrew
   2001: Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet
   2002: Henry V, The Comedy of Errors
   2003: All’s Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra
   2004: Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor
   2005: The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona
   2006: A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Rivals
   2007: Richard III, As You Like It
   2008: Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare Abridged
   2009: Pericles, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare Abridged
   2010: Troilus and Cressida, The Taming of the Shrew, Bomb-itty of Errors
   2011: Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors, Around the World in 80 Days
   2012: Love’s Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, The 39 Steps
   2013: King Lear, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Three Musketeers
   2014: Othello, Two Gentleman of Verona, The Liar

External links[edit]

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival website [4]


  1. ^ a b c Marks, Peter (7 July 2000). "Nature's a Stage and Often a Player". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ [1]PBS
  3. ^ [2]Playbill
  4. ^ a b Serico, Chris (11 June 2012). "Hudson Valley Shakespeare fest returns to Boscobel". Newsday. 
  5. ^ Nuland, Sherwin B. (Autumn 2000). "THE UNCERTAIN ART: Is There a Doctor in the House?". The American Scholar 69 (4). 
  6. ^ Brantley, Ben (3 August 2005). "Prospero May Manipulate Nature, but Here, Nature Sets the Stage". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Gulley, Ervene (May 1991). "Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare". Theatre Journal 42 (2). 
  8. ^ [3]New York Times