Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is a professional regional theater that attracts audiences of up to 37,000 from the New York tri-state area and beyond. Since 1987, the company has produced over 40 Shakespeare and classical productions and has refined a unique playing style that virtually eliminates the use of props and scenery and focuses its energies on script, actors, and audience. The guiding principle of each performance is the emphasis on engagement, to employ a contemporary sensibility and clear delivery of language that will make the works of the Bard understandable and relevant to all audiences. Fifty miles north of Manhattan, the performances under an open-sided tent employ the magnificent panoramic views of the Hudson River as the plays’ three-dimensional backdrop. In addition to summer productions, the Festival produces year-round education programs, including a fully-staged touring production, youth summer camp, and artists-in-residence program that together reach over 40,000 students annually from elementary school through college students. The Festival is committed to producing exceptional outdoor performances of Shakespeare and other classical playwrights, to bringing theater and acting opportunities to young people in the region, and to expanding the theatrical literacy of the next generation of actors and patrons in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
As part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, Hudson Valley Shakesepare Festival will present a contemporary production of Othello specifically imagined for a teenage audience with a retelling of the story set in a modern-day military school. It will reach an anticipated audience of 22,000 students, including 10,000 underserved students, in 35 schools throughout the New York tri-state area. Jealousy, love, hate, anger, intolerance, secrets, and violence are universal themes that both the characters of Othello and today’s youth must grapple with. The set design will be minimal, contemporary, and urban; the performance will include modern-day costuming and current rock and hip-hop music. Othello will be staged with an eye toward accessibility, enabling a student audience to explore, experience, and engage Shakespeare through live performance. Following each production, the actors will interact with students in a post-performance discussion. Prior to the school tour production, the company's teaching artists will conduct workshops to familiarize students with the language of the play and teach the relevance of the text. The company will also develop a study guide to help teachers prepare students for the performance.