Located on the 250-acre grounds of historic Boscobel, overlooking the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival envelops theatergoers in worlds long past. Its inaugural production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1987 carved a path of critical acclaim for it to expand into summer-long festivals, ongoing educational outreach, and artist-in-residence programs. The organization's canon even extends past that of the Bard on occasion: past seasons have taken on The Three Musketeers and Tartuffe.
The Schoolhouse Theater really did start as an elementary school. But in 1983, founder Lee Pope turned it into a visual arts center. And four years later, she invited the New York company Acorn Productions to put on a show in the auditorium. That play did more than pack the house—it also signaled the former school's birth as a haven for community theater.
Since then, The Schoolhouse Theater has developed the second part of its moniker. Theatrical amenities were added and theatrical ghosts politely asked to leave, and in 1998, the building was officially designated as a non-profit, professional regional theater. Along with stateside premieres and revivals of beloved classics, the company has staged productions that have successfully rocketed their way to Off Broadway. And while the space has now moved on from its grade-school days, it continues its educational legacy by hosting classes on topics such as photography and dance.
From her years of experience educating students in nursery schools in Westchester and Putnam Counties, dance instructor Kaysree Del Pilar knows it’s important to look after the developing ankles and knees of young dancers. She has equipped her dance studio with three layers of sprung oak wood, which is designed to absorb shock. This absorption reduces repetitive stress on the joints as students execute steps during ballet, hip-hop, or modern-dance classes, or trod the boards during musical-theater and other camps.