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Founding Artistic Director
Terrence O’Brien co-founded Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival with actress Melissa Stern in 1987 and, for 27 years, O’Brien was HVSF’s artistic leader. During that time he directed over 30 of HVSF’s productions, garnered significant critical acclaim in major press nationally, and built a very loyal audience who have returned to our theatre tent year after year. He co-authored, with Stern, HVSF’s original Statement of Purpose, he developed and evolved HVSF’s signature performance style, and he remains deeply dedicated to the idea that Shakespeare’s plays can be made accessible without sacrificing any of their depth and integrity.
O’Brien was instrumental in developing the design of the HVSF Tent Theatre and in integrating HVSF’s acting style with the theatre space. Over several years he developed an informal company of actors and artists, many of whom have developed lasting friendships, marriages, and in some cases, have had children.
O’Brien is the director of the New World Shakespeare Lab in New York City, a group which seeks to evolve a more spontaneous style of acting Shakespeare.
He and his wife Jane Praeger live in Manhattan with their daughter Jenne and son Leo.