HVSF Releases Theater Concept Drawings


A concept drawing of the proposed HVSF outdoor theater, created by Studio Gang

Festival drops plans for new Snake Hill entrance

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival on Sept. 2 released conceptual drawings of the open-air theater it plans to build at the former site of The Garrison golf course.

It said in a news release that the images, created by Studio Gang, will be submitted to the Philipstown Planning Board as part of an ongoing environmental review process.

At its former home at Boscobel in Garrison, HVSF used a fabric tent that was installed and removed each summer. At the new site, it hopes to construct an outdoor theater “with a thin, ground-hugging profile” and “a floating timber-framed roof” with “shallow horizontal curves [that] echo the ridge lines,” it said.

The structure would be the first purpose-built theater in the country with platinum certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the festival said. The plans include solar panels, rainwater capture, reduced embedded carbon and other elements. It would sit amid vegetative screening.

HVSF also said it has dropped plans to add an entrance and bridge on Snake Hill Road. It said the existing entrance was sufficient during performances over the summer. “The bridge would have been a major expense, and we are greatly relieved that it appears to be unnecessary,” said Davis McCallum, the HVSF artistic director, in a statement.

“Our audiences this summer loved our new home,” he added. “We operated without any of the impacts or problems that some had feared” and expressed during the Planning Board review.

The festival’s season continues through Sept. 18. The Planning Board next meets on Thursday (Sept. 15); it did not meet in August.

One thought on “HVSF Releases Theater Concept Drawings

  1. I was delighted to read about HVSF’s revised plans. What a difference a year makes! The bridge over the wetlands is gone, and the open air LEED tent is a vast improvement. Of course, I’d be happier with it off the ridge and located sensibly near the parking lots, but hats off to HVSF for listening and adjusting on these two important issues.

    The noise is now a real problem for the nearby residents on Philipse Brook Road, but as soon as the new tent goes up, wherever that is, that will reduce the problem significantly, for those residents anyway.

    Water will always be a problem. The water levels where I live on Coleman Road, across Route 9 from the former golf course, are dangerously low, and they are elsewhere throughout Philipstown. HVSF must come up with creative and effective ways to run their site using much less water. That is indisputable. This summer tells us why. If we have another summer like this one (and why won’t we? the climate has changed), it will be very difficult for any large, heavily visited site in Putnam County to stay open and operate as they have in the past. (Breakneck Ridge: take note.)

    One thing I wish HVSF would do now: Bring back the winter theater. Of modest size – about half the LEED tent. Noise wouldn’t be a problem as the winter theater would be a closed building. I was very sorry several months ago to see that it had been dropped from their plans. It would provide two things of great value: three extra seasons of first-rate theater for all of us lucky citizens of Philipstown and beyond, and, more important, three extra seasons of jobs for the hard working and courageous theater professionals who, at their risk, choose the stage as their vocation, for our benefit.

    Bottom line: Thanks, HVSF. You’re moving in the right direction.