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Terrence O’Brien

Founding Artistic Director

Terrence O’Brien co-founded HVSF with actress Melissa Stern in 1987, and for 27 years, O’Brien was HVSF’s artistic leader. During that time, he direct-ed more than 30 of HVSF’s productions, garnered significant critical acclaim in major press nationally, and built a very loyal audience who enthusiastically returned to our tent theater 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 theater and in integrating HVSF’s acting style with the theater 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. He performed his original one-man play, Popular Mechanics, for Bedlam in New York City, in Garrison, and in Gainesville, GA. Last May, he directed a cast of prisoners in his own adap-tation of On The Waterfront at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. He is currently adapting Investigating Sex into a theatre piece, and he’ll be doing studio work on that project at the Baryshnikov Arts Center this summer. O’Brien is the director of the New World Shakespeare Lab in New York City, a group that 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.