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Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s New Home Will Be Eco-Chic

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Photo courtesy of Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

After relocating from Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison to a permanent home in Philipstown, the theater fest unveils its new design.

There’s so much to love about summer in the Hudson Valley. In the height of the season, locals and visitors alike savor warm-weather days during long hikes toward breathtaking views, ice cream cones filled with farm-fresh scoops, and lazy afternoons at beaches and swimming holes. Fairs and festivals sweeten the deal, bringing communities together while highlighting the creativity and talent of the region.

For theater lovers, no fest captures the magic of summer in the Valley quite like Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Each year, the fest, which is fondly known as HVSF, converges in Putnam County for a season filled with heart-racing adventures, shoulder-shaking humor, and convoluted drama as only the Bard could create.

Landscape in Garrison

River views from HVSF’s new home / Photo by Amy Brown

This summer 2022 season, the festival welcomed visitors to its new, permanent home in Philipstown, which it relocated to after 30-plus years in residence at Boscobel House and Gardens nearby. The location is less than three miles away from Garrison in Philipstown and is a generous gift from philanthropist Christopher Davis.

“I am delighted to have found the perfect steward for this extraordinarily beautiful land,” Davis says. “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 in the region while becoming a cultural hub in the Hudson Valley.”

Landscape in Garrison

Views from Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s new home / Photo courtesy of The Garrison

While this year’s tent is a temporary one, this September Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival unveiled its plans for its new, open-air theater design. The design has been submitted to the Phillipstown Planning Board as part of an environmental review process.

So what does the new design entail?

Unlike the classic white fabric tent with which HVSF fans are familiar, the proposed design features natural materials with textures and colors of slate, stone, and wood so as to harmonize with the environment. It will use a floating timber framed roof with shallow horizontal curves to echo the ridge lines that surround it so as not to obstruct the views. And what views they are! HVSF’s new home offers stunning panoramas of the Hudson River, with Storm King Mountain on the left and Breakneck Ridge on the right. Its hillside location at 2015 Route 9 at the intersection with Snake Hill Road means HVSF actors can make their magical debut over the ridge and into the tent, too.

If all goes well, the new design will be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) Platinum purpose-built theater in the country. It will feature solar panels, rainwater capture, and reduced embedded carbon to minimize climate impact and protect the theater from the elements. It will sit amid year-round vegetative screening and ecologically restored meadows as well.

“Our audiences this summer loved our new home,” says HVSF Artistic Director Davis McCallum. “And now, with our new theater design, our project more fully reflects the unique character of this extraordinary place and extends the deep tradition of environmentalism in the Hudson Highlands.”

Prior to gifting the parcel of land to Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Davis purchased it back in 1999 to protect it from commercial development. He owns The Garrison next-door and has modified the layout of the grounds so as to ensure sufficient room for both enterprises.

“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,” enthuses McCallum. “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.”

hudson valley shakespeare festival's new home

Views from the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s new home / Photo by Amy Brown

For Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which has an economic impact of seven million dollars annually, its new location near The Garrison and Valley Restaurant is a boon for both organizations. With dining and overnight accommodations nearby, HVSF visitors have all they need for a picture-perfect weekend at their fingertips. For show-goers who visited the theater this year, the expanded concession stand is a major highlight, as is the proximity to the Valley Restaurant for cocktails and dining. What’s more, depending on how far HVSF chooses to extend its season in the future (a permanent venue means there’s potential for year-round programming, after all), its move could lead to a significant boost for surrounding Hudson Valley businesses beyond just the summer season.

Until then, don’t miss out on all Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has to offer! The summer 2022 season runs until September 18 in Putnam County.

hudson valley shakespeare festival's new home

Views from the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s new home / Photo by Amy Brown

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