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Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival to Move to New, Permanent Home in 2022The company will move from its longtime home at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY to a new site in Philipstown, NY.
by BWW News Desk Aug. 26, 2020
The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival today announced that the company will move from its longtime home at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY to a new site in Philipstown, NY gifted by philanthropist Christopher Davis as a permanent home for the company. In this challenging moment for the performing arts, the gifted parcel of land will offer HVSF the long-term stability of a secure foundation and will serve as a year-round resource for theater artists, audiences, and the entire Hudson Valley community.
The 34-year-old not-for-profit repertory theater will rebuild its iconic tent as a permanent open-air structure and plans to commence performances at its new location in the summer of 2022. HVSF will perform its final season at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison in the summer of 2021.
More than just a home for the theater company, HVSF envisions the campus as a gathering space for the community, a model for environmental sustainability in the performing arts, and a resource for other non-profit organizations. In accepting this gift, HVSF also embraces the responsibility to act as conscientious stewards of this land, which is located within the homelands of the Lenape (Munsee) people who, along with other Indigenous groups, were devastated by European colonization, and forcibly removed from the region in the early 1800s. HVSF is committed to educating visitors, audiences, and the broader Hudson Valley community about the Indigenous history of the region and engaging with Indigenous artists and communities on an ongoing basis.
Watch the Trailer For the Immersive Outdoor Experience 'c-o-n-t-a-c-t'HVSF has also launched a new program to commission artists to animate the extraordinary site and provide an artistic home and creative time for artists. Among the artists who have been offered inaugural "Tent Pole" commissions are theater makers Marti Lyons, Ryan Quinn, Kholoud Sawaf, and Madeline Sayet, visual artist Melissa McGill of Beacon NY, and composer Heather Christian, also based in Beacon.
Located just over three miles from HVSF's current site, the land was purchased by Mr. Davis in 1999 to protect it from unwelcome commercial development.
"I am delighted to have found the perfect steward for this extraordinarily beautiful land," explained Christopher Davis. "HVSF is a nationally-recognized arts organization with deep roots in this community. With this gift, we can assure that this place continues to be a positive force for the region while becoming a cultural hub for the Hudson Valley."
Artistic Director Davis McCallum said, "Chris Davis's historic gift preserves this land and allows HVSF to transform from a summer festival to a year-round cultural anchor in the region. With this enhanced role comes a greater responsibility to serve the entire Hudson Valley community, and we are actively exploring how we can share this enormous opportunity with community partners across the region."
"Arts organizations like ours have an important role to play in connecting people to each other, and building and sustaining strong and interconnected communities," explains Managing Director Kate Liberman. "The gift of a new, permanent home empowers HVSF to carry forward our deep commitment to this community through expanded year-round education and engagement programs."
To realize its vision for the site, HVSF has engaged a team of experts including Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects to oversee a Master Plan. HVSF will also be working with Jeanne Gang + Studio Gang and Fisher Dachs Associates Theater Consultants to lead the design process of the performance space. Planned improvements will occur in phases, beginning with a more comfortable and energy-efficient open-air tent theater, along with enhanced facilities for both artists and audiences.
Since 1988, HVSF has performed a season of plays in rotating repertory at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, N.Y. Over that time, annual audiences of 35,000 have come to love the Festival's trademark style, in which actors emerge from the landscape and perform in a theater tent overlooking the Hudson River. HVSF's iconic open-air experience will transfer to the new location, where audiences will continue to be able to picnic on the grounds before the show and enjoy a breathtaking Hudson River vista that will serve as the backdrop for HVSF productions.
HVSF's Board President, Robin Shelby Arditi said, "We could not be more grateful for Chris Davis and his generosity. We are also grateful to our friends and colleagues at Boscobel for our 34-year tenancy, and we look forward to celebrating our successful partnership throughout the summer of 2021."
Due to the global health crisis, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival cancelled its 2020 season. The company is offering virtual programming including bi-weekly "Tent Talks" with artists, remote education programming for its school partners, and an online version of the company's HVSF2 developmental reading series. The first two readings included Seize the King written by Will Power and directed by Jesse J. Perez and Paradise Lost adapted by Erin Shields and directed by Sara Holdren. The final reading, Untitled Agatha Project written by Heidi Armbruster and directed by Lavina Jadhwani, will take place on Thursday, August 27 at 7:30PM ET. For more information please visit hvshakespeare.org.
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