Having celebrated its 31st season in 2017, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) is a critically acclaimed (The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal), professional, non-profit theater company based in Garrison, NY, one hour north of Manhattan. HVSF was named among The New York Times’ 50 Essential Summer Festivals in 2016, was Hudson Valley Magazine’s 2016 Editors’ Pick for Best Summer Theater, and was nominated for a Drama League Award for its 2015 production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. The Festival has established a reputation for lucid, engaging, and highly inventive productions featuring exceptional industry talent and a backdrop of stunning vistas overlooking the Hudson River at historic Boscobel House and Gardens.
Each year, its productions attract a total audience of more than 35,000 from the Hudson Valley, New York City, and beyond, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and 40 other states, and regularly achieve over 80% capacity under its open-air Theater Tent. HVSF also takes the magic of Shakespeare and live theater throughout the tri-state region by touring limited runs of fan favorites through its HVSF On The Road series and by bringing student-oriented productions and education programs to nearly 50,000 elementary, middle, and high school students and educators each year. HVSF’s acclaimed arts education programs also include training for early-career theater artists by way of its Conservatory Company, professional development for educators, and free audience engagement offerings before and after performances throughout the summer.
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival was founded by Melissa Stern and Terry O’Brien in September 1987 with an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Manitoga, home of industrial designer Russell Wright, in Garrison, NY. The following year, Boscobel House and Gardens agreed to host HVSF’s mainstage season on the estate’s expansive grounds, and that summer’s production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It was performed under a tent overlooking the Hudson River.
Under O’Brien’s leadership, and with the enthusiastic support of our Board of Directors and community of patrons, HVSF grew dramatically. In 1994, we added a second show to our season. That same year, HVSF deepened its impact on the region by offering hands-on, performance-driven education programs to area schools. In 2004, we began to tour innovative Shakespeare productions to middle and high schools. In 2006, HVSF acquired a spectacular, custom-designed, open-air theatre tent with seating for 540, establishing a performance venue unlike anything else in American theater.
HVSF has served more than 500,000 patrons since our first season in 1987. Terry O’Brien led the theater for 27 years, directing more than 30 productions. O’Brien stepped down as Artistic Director in December 2013. After a nationwide search for his successor, HVSF’s Board appointed Davis McCallum as Artistic Director in May 2014.
As a 501(c)3 not for profit organization and a public trust, our theater belongs to you.