Catskill Mountain Shakespeare Celebrates Third Season in the Hudson Valley

Catskill Mountain Shakespeare opens on July 15 with one of the bard’s most beloved comedies, “As You Like It.”

Choose a compelling tale by an English playwright who was inarguably one of the most talented writers in history. Assemble a group of classically trained and extremely passionate actors and production pros. Perform nightly in a classy outdoor setting nestled within the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. That’s the story of Catskill Mountain Shakespeare (CMS), a thriving non-profit theater company now in its third season.

Initially set to open in 2020, CMS’ inaugural season played out differently because of Covid. Thankfully, creativity prevailed in the form of filming two iconic Shakespearean forest scenes—from “Macbeth” and “As You Like It”—against the verdant backdrop of the Catskills, then putting the performances online for free viewing. Given the circumstances, it was a great way to give the community a taste of the organization’s determination and artistic capabilities. In 2021, with pandemic restrictions easing, “Twelfth Night” ran for 10 outdoor performances. Last year, a 12-show run of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” included five sellouts.

Catskill Mountain Shakespeare
Photo by Rich Wade Photography

A particular point of pride for CMS is the Outreach Program started in 2022, including pay-what-you-can performances, an LGBTQ+ Summer Social, a Relaxed Performance intended as a safe space for families and people with special needs, and free theatrical workshops for the community led by CMS professionals. This year’s venue for “As You Like It” is a tent (donated by the Catskill Mountain Foundation) at The Red Barn on Main Street in Hunter, continuing the organization’s mission to stage shows in beautiful existing locations that offer the necessary infrastructure and accessibility while leaving a minimal carbon footprint. Sydney Berk, a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, is directing a diverse cast of New York City imports and locals.

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“We are ecstatic to bring CMS to the mountaintop for our third summer season and look forward to welcoming back our old friends and fans and making new ones,” says founder and artistic director Sarah Reny, a West Kill resident. Performances run from July 15–30. For ticket info, visit catskillmountainshakespeare.com.

Become a Volunteer! If you love live theater, consider helping Catskill Mountain Shakespeare grow its presence in the region. Very Important Volunteers, or VIVs for short, may serve as greeters, ushers, ticket takers, and more. Perks include a free ticket after volunteering for two shows and invites to special events. More info is available under the “get involved” tab on their website.

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

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