Beautiful Boscobel

Boscobel and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival part, gracefully

Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison is not only one of the finest extant examples of neoclassical (early-19th century) architecture and interior design, it’s also one class act. For more than 30 years, Boscobel has been home to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which has used its grounds effectively to stage thought-provoking, tented productions of some of the Bard’s greatest works, including a memorable “Hamlet” for the festival’s 30th anniversary.

Now HVSF has found a home nearby, and Boscobel, which waved the festival’s $50,000 rent during the pandemic, couldn’t be happier

“No one knows better than Boscobel what an extraordinary gift it is to be given a permanent home,” says Executive Director Jennifer Carlquist. “Without the gift of our Garrison site by Lila Acheson Wallace, Boscobel would merely be a footnote in history as New York’s most beautiful— but demolished — house. Along with the security of site ownership came deep community roots, ever-evolving inspiration from history and nature and the pragmatism that landscape stewardship demands. We are thrilled for HVSF to be given a place of their own and can’t wait to cheer them on as neighbors.”

Boscobel—famed for its stunning views of the Hudson River, world-class decorative arts and community programs such as its Independence Day Symphony Picnic— first welcomed the festival to perform onsite in 1988. Since that time, HVSF has grown from a single show with a portable backdrop in 1988 to 80-plus performances for up to 540 patrons each night and a complex of structures in place from April into early September.  

In recent years, Boscobel’s programming has also expanded, and the museum is welcoming an ever-growing, younger audience. Boscobel had been in discussion with HVSF since 2018 about modifying the site to best accommodate the two institutions. HVSF’s decision to relocate opens up enormous opportunities for both.

“Boscobel applauds the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival for sharing their creativity and talent here for three decades. Their decision to relocate frees Boscobel to focus every effort on planning for our next act—an exciting, collaborative process to reimagine Boscobel for its next 60 years.”

But this is not quite the last of HVSF at Boscobel. The site – which is home to the Cold Spring Farmers’ Market, opened its grounds to health-care workers during the pandemic and is looking to reinterpret its history in light of new findings on slavery in this region — has invited the festival back for 2021 to say “thank you” to the players and their audiences.

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Georgette Gouveia

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