Lennon Xin Wen Hu, who played Longaville in Love’s Labor’s Lost under the tent, will portray Claudio in the Much Ado school tour. Photo by T. Charles Erickson/HVSF
Lennon Xin Wen Hu, who played Longaville in Love’s Labor’s Lost under the tent, will portray Claudio in the Much Ado school tour. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson/HVSF)

HVSF brings workshops to school, and begins final tour

The plays under the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival tent receive the lion’s share of attention, but the Garrison-based nonprofit has, for 20 years, also presented programs designed to introduce the Bard to students, including by demystifying his 17th-century language.

Each spring, HVSF actors hit the road and head to schools to present a streamlined version of a Shakespeare play, along with workshops. 

This year, the tour will make a final run to middle and high schools in the region, performing a 90-minute version of Much Ado About Nothing with six actors. Its visit to Haldane is scheduled for April 17 and the Garrison School is on April 19. HVSF also works with the Poughkeepsie, Arlington, Lakeland and Peekskill districts.

There will be no traveling show in the spring of 2025, says Sean McNall, HVSF’s associate artistic director and director of education. Instead, in the fall, HVSF will shift performances for students to its new home at the former Garrison Golf Course.

Garrison School students work on their plays during an afterschool program.

At the Garrison School, playwright Serena Norr runs an afterschool program called Let’s Make a Play, in which students write their own 10-minute scripts. The class includes readings, acting, improv, art and costume design and ends with a staged reading of the student plays. An eight-week session ended earlier this month, and a 10-week session begins soon. The cost is $105. Register at gufspta.memberhub.com.

Norr is also working with sixth graders on Reader’s Theater, a language arts and social studies course in which students share literature, read aloud, write scripts, perform and collaborate. At Haldane, she leads one-day workshops for sixth graders to focus on character development, establishing tone and setting, and creating structure. 

Norr will also oversee HVSF’s participation in the annual Arts Alive program at Haldane on April 26, leading 45-minute playwriting workshops for six to 10 fifth graders at a time.

In addition, HVSF underwrites an award for achievement in theater presented annually to seniors at Haldane High School.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Rooney was the arts editor for The Current since its founding in 2010 through April 2024. A playwright, she has lived in Cold Spring since 1999. She is a graduate of Binghamton University, where she majored in history. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: Arts

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