Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is a regional, nonprofit theater company that performs works by William Shakespeare (and others) at Boscobel in Garrison, New York. 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.
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.
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. 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" of the Hudson River and West Point in the distance. The company uses the vast open space behind the stage as a prop for the plays. According to Ben Brantley of The New York Times, "nature and Shakespeare are the stars" in this festival.
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. 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."
It is listed as a Major Festival in the book Shakespeare Festivals Around the World by Marcus D. Gregio (Editor), 2004.
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
- Marks, Peter (7 July 2000). "Nature's a Stage and Often a Player". The New York Times.
- Serico, Chris (11 June 2012). "Hudson Valley Shakespeare fest returns to Boscobel". Newsday.
- Nuland, Sherwin B. (Autumn 2000). "THE UNCERTAIN ART: Is There a Doctor in the House?". The American Scholar. 69 (4). JSTOR 41213080.
- Brantley, Ben (3 August 2005). "Prospero May Manipulate Nature, but Here, Nature Sets the Stage". The New York Times.
- Gulley, Ervene (May 1991). "Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare". Theatre Journal. 42 (2). JSTOR 3208227.
- New York Times