GARRISON, N.Y.: The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has announced that the company will be moving to a new, permanent home in Philipstown, N.Y., at a site gifted by philanthropist Christopher Davis. HVSF will perform its final season at its current home at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, N.Y., in the summer of 2021 before starting performances at its new permanent open-air structure in the summer of 2022.
“Arts organizations like ours have an important role to play in connecting people to each other, and building and sustaining strong and interconnected communities,” said managing director Kate Liberman in a statement. “The gift of a new, permanent home empowers HVSF to carry forward our deep commitment to this community through expanded year-round education and engagement programs.”
The new site will serve as more than just a home for the theatre company. HVSF is looking to create a campus that can serve as a gathering space for the community, an example of environmental sustainability in the performing arts, and a resource for other non-profit organization. HVSF also acknowledges its responsibility to be conscientious stewards of the land Davis purchased in 1999 to protect it from unwelcome commercial development. This location is within the homelands of the Lenape (Munsee) people who, along with other Indigenous groups, were devastated by European colonization, and forcibly removed from the region in the early 1800s. HVSF has stated a commitment to educating its community about the Indigenous history of the region while also engaging with Indigenous artists and communities.
“Chris Davis’s historic gift preserves this land and allows HVSF to transform from a summer festival to a year-round cultural anchor in the region,” said artistic director Davis McCallum in a statement. “With this enhanced role comes a greater responsibility to serve the entire Hudson Valley community, and we are actively exploring how we can share this enormous opportunity with community partners across the region.”
To realize the company’s vision, HVSF is working with experts, including Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Jeanne Gang + Studio Gang, and Fisher Dachs Associates Theater Consultants. Improvements include a more comfortable and energy-efficient open-air tent theatre and enhanced facilities for both artists and audiences. Audiences will still be able to picnic on the grounds before the show and enjoy the backdrop of the Hudson River during HVSF productions.
HVSF has also launched a new program to commission artists. Inaugural “Tent Pole” commissions are going to theatremakers Marti Lyons, Ryan Quinn, Kholoud Sawaf, and Madeline Sayet, visual artist Melissa McGill, and composer Heather Christian. The commission aims to animate the site, and provide an artistic home and creative time for artists.
“I am delighted to have found the perfect steward for this extraordinarily beautiful land,” said Christopher Davis in a statement. “HVSF is a nationally-recognized arts organization with deep roots in this community. With this gift, we can assure that this place continues to be a positive force for the region while becoming a cultural hub for the Hudson Valley.”
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