Dear HVSF Community,
Since 1987, HVSF has been an essential part of summer in the Hudson Valley and our work has moved in time with the change of seasons. In early May, our iconic tent rises on the bluff overlooking the river, just as the hills surrounding West Point begin to turn green. The actors arrive around Memorial Day. We throw a gala at the start of June. By the longest day of the year, when the sun’s last light stretches across the sky, we have three plays running in rotating repertory — every night a different production, every night filled with a particular brand of HVSF magic. That’s how things work in a “normal” year.
But we all know this year is far from normal.
Today I’m writing to you, as a close friend and supporter of the Festival, to share the unfortunate news that, due to the unexpected circumstances of the global health crisis, we have no choice but to cancel our 2020 Season. As much as we wish it were otherwise, our first obligation is to the health and safety of our artists, our audiences, and our community.
In addition to the shows we won’t get to share under the tent, and the loss of employment for so many of our artists and staff members, we are mindful of the important role that HVSF plays as an economic engine in the Hudson Highlands. For the next several months, we will be focused on finding ways to help our community in this time of crisis, whether that’s by being a virtual presence in local classrooms, holding free community playwriting workshops online, or making masks in our costume shop to support those working on the front lines to fight the virus.
Last summer, we produced CYMBELINE, which has a line that’s been in my head these last weeks, spoken by a character about to enter her own new chapter:
“Plenty and peace breeds cowards; hardness ever
Of hardiness is mother. Ho! Who’s here?”
As we move forward, my wish for all of us is that this hard year will give birth to hardiness. I always thought that word “hardiness” sounded a lot like “heart-y-ness,” and I hope that we’ll all find a way to move forward with full hearts, ready to put all of ourselves into our relationships, into our communities, into those aspects of our lives that we find most meaningful. Sometime in the future, we’ll gather again under the tent on a midsummer night. We’ll see each other’s faces in real-time and space, and ask with newfound appreciation: “Who’s here?”
Until then, please take good care of yourselves and each other.