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#GivingTuesday Story Share: The O’Steens

Bobbie O’Steen and her daughter, Molly, have spent each of the last 20 summers under our Theater Tent in Garrison. As part of our #GivingTuesday Story Share, Bobbie offers her story of how early and continued exposure to Shakespeare at HVSF deeply impacted Molly, leading her to teach theater in adulthood:

I want to share a story about my daughter and how much HVSF influenced and inspired her.

Molly O’Steen is now twenty-eight and she has not missed a single Hudson Valley Shakespeare performance since the age of eight. She went on to become a true Shakespeare ‘geek’ as a result of that exposure. I believe the way your plays are presented greatly contributed to her understanding and excitement at that young age. She went on to see numerous Broadway plays and has developed a passion for Tony Kushner and Stephen Sondheim, among others – but Shakespeare was her first love. She even convinced her high school English teacher and the administration to create a class called “Shakespeare for the Brave” and spent time teaching theater to other high school students to expose them to the Great Works.

At Emerson College, Molly majored in theater education and coached high school students on their Shakespeare monologues at prestigious programs such as Emerson’s pre-college theater program and Summer Arts Institute in NYC. She is currently an acting coach and performance skills teacher at Neighborhood Playhouse. She is also a language arts, writing and social studies middle school teacher at The Shefa School, an innovative new school in downtown Manhattan.

Throughout her last seven years of teaching, Molly’s goal has been to change that first experience with Shakespeare for many kids, knowing how magical her first experiences were at HVSF. As she says, “I’ve continued to introduce many young kids to Shakespeare through playful and engaging work, instilling in them an early love, trying to plant more seeds where ever I can. In my 3rd grade class last year at Rodeph Sholom School, I got my entire reading group obsessed with Twelfth Night, and this year I have started the first theater club at Shefa and am plotting how I can get these kids obsessed.”

Molly and I celebrated her 20th season in 2018 and look forward to coming next summer!

I’ve continued to introduce many young kids to Shakespeare through playful and engaging work, instilling in them an early love, trying to plant more seeds wherever I can.

Molly O'Steen, Teacher & 20-Year HVSF Veteran

Would you like to be a part of our #GivingTuesday Story Share? We want to celebrate the ways in which our audience gives inspiration to their own families! If you attend the Festival year after year with your children or grandchildren, write to us about your HVSF summer traditions. We hope to publish as many stories as we can before #GivingTuesday (November 27, 2018) comes to a close.

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