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Community FULL CIRCLE Workshops Announced

HVSF will expand its commitment to engaging Hudson Valley communities in 2018, beginning with a series of theater-making workshops in April, culminating with HVSF’s first-ever mainstage commission, and led by our new Director of Community Engagement.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has announced a permanent programming initiative focused on community engagement within the Hudson Valley known as FULL CIRCLE. Inspired by the success of 2016’s citizen-driven production of OUR TOWN, and energized by similar initiatives at other national theaters, such as The Public Theater’s PublicWorks program, HVSF established FULL CIRCLE to build and sustain community through radically participatory art-making, featuring workshops, community gatherings, and performance opportunities. The program’s creation signals the Festival’s increased commitment to making theater by, with, and for its Hudson Valley neighbors, led by HVSF’s new Director of Community Engagement/Associate Producer, Elizabeth Audley.

“We believe that the creative impulse belongs to everyone,” said Audley, a 20-year veteran of theater and community organizing, and a Beacon resident. “Making art together makes communities stronger and more resilient, and we hope to broaden and deepen the ways that local Hudson Valley residents can connect with the arts and with one another. We’re so excited to embrace the vibrancy, diversity, and creativity of our community – up, down, and along both sides of the river.”

To formally launch FULL CIRCLE in 2018, HVSF invested in its first-ever mainstage commission: a world premiere adaptation of Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle titled RIP VAN WINKLE; OR, CUT THE OLD MOON INTO STARS, by acclaimed writer/director Seth Bockley (Long Wharf Theatre’s February House). Combining classic Hudson Valley/Catskills lore – including content from two additional Irving texts – with other tall tales of the region, RIP VAN WINKLE is an old story being told in a new way: by including the voices of today’s Hudson Valley residents. This joyful, hilarious, music-filled celebration of the region will feature a cast of over 40 citizen actors and non-actors alongside four professional cast members, with many other avenues for participation by community musicians, dancers, and performers of all types, plus visual artists, textile artists, and anyone looking to join their neighbors in art-making.

Area residents can participate in the creation of RIP VAN WINKLE by attending a series of free storytelling and design workshops hosted in six Hudson Valley towns throughout the month of April. Auditions will be held on April 28th and 29th, and rehearsals for the production will be held locally in July and August. Four free performances will take place over Labor Day weekend, with three presented at HVSF’s open-air Theater Tent at Boscobel House and Gardens and one at an off-site location to be announced. Over 2,000 audience members will see their friends and neighbors on stage. To be eligible to audition for RIP VAN WINKLE, participants must first attend at least one of the following pre-audition workshops:

Storytelling Workshops

What’s your story? RIP VAN WINKLE is an old tale, but we want to tell it in a new way – with the voices of today’s Hudson Valley. We need you! Bring your tall tales, your stories of love, loss, change, and coming home again, and we’ll turn them into theater together. Led by RIP VAN WINKLE writer/director Seth Bockley, this workshop is for all ages and all backgrounds! No experience necessary, no need to RSVP. Just come ready to play and move.

  • Wednesday, April 4, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Safe Harbors of the Hudson, Newburgh, NY
  • Thursday, April 5, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Desmond Fish Library, Garrison, NY
  • Friday, April 6, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, The Old VFW Hall, Cold Spring, NY
  • Friday, April 13, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Beacon Recreation Center, Beacon, NY
  • Saturday, April 14, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Peekskill Youth Bureau, Peekskill, NY
  • Sunday, April 15, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, Tarrytown, NY

“Designing Stories” Workshops

How can objects and spaces help tell a story? Participants will work with HVSF’s 2018 Scenic Consultant, Sandra Goldmark, to explore this questions through a fun, hands-on, imaginative exercise that translates a story from page to stage. This workshop is for all ages and backgrounds. No experience necessary, no need to RSVP.

  • Sunday, April 8, 5:00pm – 8:00pm, Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY
  • Wednesday, April 11, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Safe Harbors of the Hudson, Newburgh, NY

Workshop Map

Reflecting on the tidal wave of support for HVSF’s 2016 OUR TOWN workshops, one participant noted, “people need to come together in a sectarian way in this country. We don’t farm together; we don’t make music together… the invitation to participate in OUR TOWN has uncorked something big.”

Artistic Director Davis McCallum shares that sentiment: “When we produced OUR TOWN in this community-based way in 2016, the experience was transformational for many of those who took part in it, and electrifying for audiences, but it was also revelatory for our theater company. The launch of FULL CIRCLE signifies our ongoing commitment to engaging our community in a genuine conversation, and to making space and time for people to connect in meaningful ways with each other. When you come down to it, this is of course what making theater is all about. We’re deeply grateful for all the support and interest we’ve already received from our neighbors and community partners, and look forward to what we will discover together.”

Running in parallel with RIP VAN WINKLE, 2018 FULL CIRCLE programming will also include summer playwriting workshops at local libraries (June 9 – 10, June 16 – 17) and the third-annual HVSF2 BAKEOFF, a three-day festival of new short plays written by citizen playwrights and read by professional actors at the Philipstown Depot Theatre (August 3 – 5). Workshop and play submission details will be announced in the coming months. Plans for future FULL CIRCLE programming are already in the works. To learn more about FULL CIRCLE, HVSF’s 2018 Season, and other programming, visit hvshakespeare.org.

Get In Touch

Community Contact: Elizabeth Audley, Director of Community Engagement
(845) 809-5750 ext. 18 / eaudley@hvshakespeare.org

Press Contact: Emma Corey, Director of Marketing and Communications
(845) 809-5750 ext. 17 / ecorey@hvshakespeare.org

Learn More

About the Production

Written and Directed by Seth Bockley
Freely Adapted from the Story by Washington Irving
On-Site Performances at Boscobel House and Gardens August 31, September 2, 3
Off-Site Performance September 1 (location to be announced)

It’s a familiar story: an indolent dreamer falls asleep high in the Catskills, wakes after twenty year, and returns to a world he doesn’t recognize. But in Seth Bockley’s new take on this old tale, Rip isn’t the only one rambling. In the New Dutch village of Falling Waters, we meet Rip’s adventurous daughter and her hard-working mother, tinkers, butchers, innkeepers, tall-tale-telling wives, a few seafaring ghosts, the bespectacled author behind the original story, and the beating heart of a community poised somewhere between the distant past and the not-so-distant future. This world premiere adaptation is the first-ever mainstage commission by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

Free tickets for all performances of RIP VAN WINKLE will be made available online beginning August 1, and via HVSF’s traveling box office in select locations on select dates in August. With just four performances scheduled, ticket availability will be highly limited. Visit hvshakespeare.org to learn more and subscribe to HVSF’s email newsletter for updates.

About Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

Celebrating its 32nd summer season in 2018, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) is a critically ac-claimed (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. The Festival has established a reputation for lucid, engaging, and highly inventive productions staged under an iconic, open-air Theater Tent overlooking the Hudson River at historic Boscobel House and Gardens. In recent years, the Festival has also ventured beyond the Tent, touring its work to other venues throughout the Hudson Valley as part of its HVSF On the Road series, transferring productions to other theaters, engaging its community through radically participatory art-making, and reaching over 60,000 students and educators annually through its year-round Education programs.

HVSF’s mission is to engage the widest possible audience in a fresh conversation about what is essential in Shakespeare’s plays. The company’s theater lives in the here and now, at the intersection of the virtuosity of the actor, the imagination of the audience, and the inspiration of the text.

About the Artists

ELIZABETH AUDLEY, Director of Community Engagement/Associate Producer: A recent transplant to the Hudson Valley, Elizabeth has worked in professional theater for over 20 years, as an actor, director, producer, and writer. Concurrently, she’s worked as a resource consultant with dozens of arts organizations across the country – from flagship cultural institutions to grassroots community centers – through Arts Action Research, a non-profit arts management consulting group. In her early career, Elizabeth was a resident company member at Hedgerow Theatre (America’s first resident repertory company) and a member of the Development department at Pennsylvania Ballet. In the last ten years, she began working as a community organizer, on a national level as an organizer for the 2008 Obama Campaign, and in her local community as a Certified Urban Gardener – supporting and facilitating community greening efforts in diverse Brooklyn neighborhoods. She’s been a teaching artist for theaters in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, New York, and beyond, and has directed and taught acting at community colleges and other public universities, where her focus was ensemble-based, devised, and original student-written work. She has a BA from Brown University, and an MFA from Ohio University, with additional training from SITI Company, Pig Iron Theater, The Actor’s Studio, Fiasco Theater, The Alvin Ailey Center, LaMama, and The American Globe. She lives in Beacon with her husband, Martin Anderson, and their dog, Hazel.

SETH BOCKLEY (pronounced “BOAK-ley”), Writer/Director of RIP VAN WINKLE: Over the past decade, Seth has established himself as an original voice in the American theater. He is equally confident as an adapter — translating to the stage fiction such as George Saunders’ story Jon and Roberto Bolaño’s megalithic novel 2666, as well as writing original plays — deeply felt dramatic and multimedia work such as Wilderness, the musical February House (a collaboration with composer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane), and the puppet opera Laika’s Coffin. As a director, he has acquired a reputation for visually compelling and imaginative interpretations of contemporary plays, and for guiding new play development and world premiere productions with rigor and care. He is equally confident with the texts of German neo-expressionists like Marius von Mayenburg (The Ugly One) and Ewald Palmetshofer (hamlet is dead. no gravity) as with new American plays like Lauren Yee’s Samsara, Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story, Jason Grote’s 1001 and Civilization (all you can eat) and (with Devon de Mayo) The Twins Would Like To Say. Beyond theater, his creative work includes interdisciplinary projects such as “The Picture Book”, a community based visual arts and storytelling spectacle in rural Donegal, Ireland; as well as video direction, event design, and onstage emceeing. Winner of two ‘Jeff’ awards for Best Adaptation (Jon and 2666), and a graduate of Brown University, Seth teaches at the University of Chicago, and is an artist in residence at the Goodman. sethbockley.com

SANDRA GOLDMARK, 2018 Scenic Consultant / Set Design for RIP VAN WINKLE: Sandra Goldmark is a designer, teacher, and entrepreneur whose work focusses on material culture and sustainability. Recent designs include the premiere of The Book of Will at the Denver Center and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Sandra is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College, where she also serves as Director of Sustainability and Environment for the campus. Sandra is the Founder of Fixup, a social enterprise that re-imagines repair to create local jobs and build a sustainable model of household consumption.