Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Steps Down

Oct 8, 2013

Credit William Marsh, courtesy of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

The artistic director and co-founder of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is stepping down. He has been the festival’s only artistic director.

Terrence O’Brien is stepping down as artistic director of the Putnam County-based Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at the end of the year. In a press release, he says it has become clear to him that for the festival to move into the next stage of its growth, it will need someone at the helm who is not only a talented artistic leader but can also make a substantial commitment to its fund development and long-range financial planning activities. Abigail Adams is managing director of the festival.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival began in 1987 with an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was performed at Manitoga, industrial designer Russel Wright's home in Garrison. O’Brien co-founded the festival with actress Melissa Stern. The Festival then moved just a bit north on Route 9D, also in Garrison, to a three-sided tent overlooking the Hudson River at federal period Boscobel House and Gardens. The festival has grown significantly ever since, along with the festival’s fundraising needs. Again, here’s Adams.

Adams notes that O’Brien will stay on through December for the festival’s holiday offerings, directing An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe and his adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, both inside the Boscobel mansion. The festival’s board of directors will form a committee to conduct a national search. O’Brien, in the release, says his passion is for directing and helping to evolve the work of actors and directors. And while he loves doing Shakespeare plays and is proud of what he has accomplished at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, he says it is important that he also explore material that falls outside the scope of what the festival has traditionally presented.

Asked whether she were surprised by O’Brien’s decision to step down, Adams replies:

O’Brien will retain the title of founding artistic director. The festival’s 2014 summer season will mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.