HVSF Welcomes Drama League Directing Fellow

The Drama League recently announced its 2017 Classical Directing Fellowships for Artists of Color. One of three theaters participating in the program, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce that Damascus native Kholoud Sawaf will join the company in July to assist directors Penny Metropoulos on THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA and Ian Belknap on LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST. Sawaf will also direct the Festival’s two-day Community Bakeoff, part of the HVSF2 new play reading series at the Philipstown Depot Theatre.

HVSF Artistic Director Davis McCallum was part of a distinguished panel that selected this year’s fellows: “I was blown away by Kholoud when I met her in the interview process,” McCallum noted, “and I am delighted that she will be joining HVSF as our 2017 Drama League Fellow.”


Kholoud Sawaf

Sawaf has worked as a theatre and documentary maker in Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. In collaboration with TheatreSquared, she’s adapting and directing R&J Damascus, a recipient of a $250,000 grant through Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Program. Some of her directing work includes The Chairs (U of A), Merci Maurer (devised) with ArkansasStaged and Vietgone (TheatreSquared, 2018). Sawaf’s assistant directing credits include Vietgone (Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Manhattan Theatre Club). She received a BA in Mass Communication from American University of Shajrah and a MFA in Directing from University of Arkansas.

The Classical Directing Fellowship for Artists of Color immerses a director in the productions and institutional life of a company working in the classical canon. In addition to their work with each respective theater, Fellows participate in Professionals Week, an intensive week of professional theater immersion including performances, seminars, workshops with industry professional, and field-focused discussions. Past Drama League Fellows at HVSF include Emily Lyon (2015) and Noa Egozi (2016).

Welcome to HVSF, Kholoud! We can’t wait to meet you this summer!


Revisiting WillFest

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival hosted a day-long celebration of Shakespeare and all things theater titled WillFest. Through free, all-ages activities, several hundred community members filtered in and out of St. Mary’s Parish Hall, the HVSF Administrative Office, the Old VFW Hall, the Cold Spring Waterfront, and along Cold Spring’s Main Street for performances, workshops, movie screenings, and activities.

Here’s a quick look back at the day’s festivities! Photos by Gabe Palacio. 

Costume Photo Booth with HVSF at the Cold Spring Farmers’ Market

…and our next big star, Eamon!

Performance: Scenes from ROMEO & JULIET with HVSF

This production is currently serving over 31 schools through our Spring Education Tour and will visit several regional venues this summer as part of our HVSF On the Road series!

Performance: Scenes from “The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet” with Students from Garrison Union Free School

Performance: “Academy Idol” Monologues with West Point Cadets

Workshop: Theater Games with HVSF Teaching Artist Gianna Cioffi

Gianna is one of four Resident Teaching Artists who brings HVSF Education programming – such as in-school workshops and residencies – to regional schools.

Workshop: “Shakespeare Shakedown” with The Middle Company

Workshop: Stage Combat with HVSF Teaching Artist Michael Irish and Students from Haldane High School

Around Town: Trivia, Movie Screenings, Discount Partners, Art Making & Info at the HVSF Office, and More!

Over 20 local businesses offered special discounts to attendees sporting their WillFest stickers, and our program partners – Cold Spring Film Society, Story Screen Beacon, The Middle Company, Cold Spring Farmers’ Market, Garrison Union Free School, Haldane High School, and the United States Military Academy at West Point – had the chance to engage locals and visitors alike. Many thanks to all of our program partners, discount partners, and donating partners (Whistling Willie’s in Cold Spring for their donation of movie screening popcorn and Grey Printing for their donation of art-making supplies)!

Volunteer staff support provided by students from NYU’s Goddard Residential College Service Learning Program, led by Cold Spring resident and 2016 OUR TOWN actor Megan Shea.