Award-Winning Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Presents:
First Annual Phoenix Live Arts Festival in Nyack, NY 
September 16 – October 16, 2022

Festival features live theater, music, interactive cultural programs
Five weekends of performances Fridays through Sundays
All performances live – all outdoors -- in repertory

 BOX OFFICE NOW OPEN: Early Bird Discounts

World Class Live Arts in Celebration
From Wilde to Wilder to Shakespeare to Symphony: Live arts for our time  
Classic plays presented by Phoenix Theatre Ensemble
Also featuring Children’s Shakespeare Theatre, Rockland Symphony Orchestra

Nyack is the Stage
Picturesque Hudson River town provides the backdrop
Unique shops, restaurants welcome visitors in stroll-friendly village
Augmented reality tour explores local history, contemporary culture

Rockland County community contributes -- and benefits
Festival opportunities support the county’s small businesses and workers
Special programs engage community organizations, non-profits and young people 

Craig Smith, Executive Director
Phoenix Live Arts Festival

Thomas Schneck, Director
Visit Nyack, Inc.

Nancy Phillips


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nyack NY, March 16, 2022 -- Nyack joins the roster of world class arts events with the launch of The Phoenix Festival: Live Arts in Nyack -- a performing arts celebration set for this fall 2022. The program kicks off on September 16 and runs for five weekends through October 16. 
All performances will be held outdoors in Nyack against a backdrop of majestic Hudson River vistas. Programs will include live performances by the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble and Children’s Shakespeare Theater company, as well as Rockland Symphony Orchestra concerts and a series of related special events – all in a setting a world apart from traditional performing arts venues.

The box office is now open at or 212-352-3101. Early bird ticket purchasers get special discounts. Ticket buyers should use the code BIRD when ordering.  More details about the Festival are available on the website. 

About the Festival.
The Festival is hosted and produced by the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, an internationally recognized leader in the world of creative contemporary theater and winner of multiple prestigious awards for excellence in theater arts. Founded in New York City in 2004, the Ensemble makes Rockland County its second home.

As the Festival’s cornerstone, the Ensemble will present three iconic plays in repertory: Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth and Anton Chekov’s The Harmfulness of Tobacco – classics revisited by Phoenix in the context of our current world.

The Festival program will also include performances by the Children's Shakespeare Theatre -- a Rockland County-based troupe of kids aged 8 to 18 who have since 1999 bravely and masterfully delivered the Bard's plays for 23 consecutive seasons. (Marydell Center, Oct 8 &9 at 11:30 AM)

Also featured and providing a live soundtrack for the Festival is the Rockland Symphony Orchestra -- a classical music institution that has provided a haven for amateur musicians, professionals and rising young soloists to the delight of local audiences for over 65 years. 

All live performances will be presented in the afternoon to allow patrons to enjoy the riverside, plus Nyack’s great shopping, dining, recreation and night life. Outdoor settings include pastoral Marydell at the foot of iconic Hook Mountain and the garden at the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center in the heart of Nyack village. 

“Our vision is to create an annual outdoor festival on the Hudson at the height of the beautiful fall season that will engage local talent and attract arts enthusiasts locally and globally,” said Craig Smith, Phoenix Festival Executive Director. 

Nyack is the stage. The ‘near-city’ village of Nyack -- with its first-class restaurants, shops, hotels, lively night life, and easy proximity to downtown New York -- is ideally positioned to support the annual Phoenix arts event, especially during the fall season when leaves are turning and the beauty of the river is at its height.

Celebrating the ‘power of place,’ Festival goers will have access to an exciting multimedia, family-friendly chronicle about Nyack, incorporating augmented reality, documentary video, and walking narratives. The program, entitled Nyack Digital Dreaming-AR Adventures, guides a journey through local history, lore and legends -- from early seaport days to the Industrial Revolution, Underground Railroad, World Wars, 1960’s urban renewal, and beyond -- arriving in the vibrant local community of today.

The Adventures program is created and directed by Clara Francesca, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble member and founder of XRE Extended Reality.

"Nyack is a treasure -- the perfect anchor for this unique festival that blends classic theater and music with breathtaking natural beauty in a jazzy, upbeat river town setting," said Smith. 

About the plays. The Phoenix theater productions are family-friendly, high-spirited -- and just plain funny.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – For over 125 years considered by many to be the best comedy of all time. A formidable lady presides over her family, avoiding scandal while arranging courtships for her renegade nephew. A frothy farce of famously witty dialogue fueled by copious supplies of cucumber sandwiches. Directed by critically acclaimed director, playwright and actor Jason O’Connell. (Marydell Center, Sept 17, 23, 24, 25 at 2:00 PM)

The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder – A timeless, uplifting and visionary masterpiece chronicling the triumph of one family against thousands of years of natural disasters and other monumental challenges. As relevant and humorous today as it was at its premier. Directed by Robert Hupp, Artistic Director of New York’s Syracuse Stage. (Marydell Center, Oct. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16 at 2:00 PM)

The Harmfulness of Tobacco by Anton Chekhov – A classic and hilarious precursor to Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. A nervous middle-aged man attempts to appease his demanding wife with a lecture on the deleterious effects of tobacco, but in his speech wanders off into musings on the ridiculousness of life. Directed by Phoenix Associate Artistic Director Leo Lion. (Marydell Center, Sept 16, 30; Oct 7 at 5:30 PM)

Festival bonuses. Festival goers will have ready access and connections to pop-up events, such as rehearsal viewings and up-close meet-and-greets with actors, directors, and designers, plus Festival-related film screenings, jazz performances, guided nature hikes, river excursions, art exhibits and more.

Just one of many contributors, community leader ArtsRock will play a role in supporting the Festival. “Our mission is to provide increased access to professional performing arts and multi-cultural programs for diverse and underserved audiences, in and around Rockland County,” said Elliott Forrest, ArtsRock Executive Artistic Director. “This amazing festival is a great opportunity, and we’re planning to participate.”

"A big bonus to Festival goers is Nyack village itself," added Smith. "Covering just a little over one square mile, Nyack packs in an amazing array of arts organizations, restaurants, pubs, one-of-kind shops, spas and salons -- plus access to the Mario Cuomo bridge pathway offering majestic vistas of the Hudson river. Combined with the Festival program, it's a great place to spend a weekend -- or several." 

Tours combining theater performances, special arts programs, hotel stays, dining and shopping will be available through the Festival website. (Details to be announced.)

Boon to the community. In addition to audience enjoyment, the Festival is expected to deliver positive results to the local community in important ways -- including jobs for local sound engineers, carpenters, caterers, backstage crews, graphic artists, and a variety of tradespeople. 

Local businesses are also expected to see significant increases in revenue over the five Festival weekends. According to market intelligence gathered by Brockport Research Institute, the Festival could produce a net cash infusion of well over a half-million dollars to local businesses collectively. 

"The vast majority of Nyack's businesses are small, individual- or family-owned operations," said Roger Cohen, President, Nyack Chamber of Commerce. "After tough times during the pandemic, the Festival promises to bring a welcome wave of relief. What's more, this exciting Festival puts Nyack on the map as a destination where art enthusiasts, foodies and tourists can return again and again to enjoy everything Nyack has to offer."

The future: Youth involvement. There is no better way to build the future of the arts than by getting kids engaged – in the thinking, creativity, hard work, and excitement of live performance. The Festival will offer exactly that – learning through hands-on experiences working with professionals and peers on key aspects of the Festival program.

"We're partnering with BOCES of Rockland County on a unique internship program," said Smith. "Under the direction of Festival set designer Chen-Wei Liao, a highly regarded designer and recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, students will help build sets for the Phoenix Ensemble productions at the BOCES state-of-the-art facilities in West Nyack." 

In addition, BOCES students will be offered paid internships in Festival administration, audience services, hospitality, parking, and other activities. 

Notably, the Festival will present a special performance of The Skin of Our Teeth for over 100 students in the East Ramapo School District. The program will comprise both a performance and a "talk-back" session with the director and actors.
Looking ahead. “For the Phoenix Festival’s inaugural year, we’re celebrating the arts as we rise up from 24 months of pandemic. We’re offering a full menu of food for the soul -- great works of theater and music, with a taste of local culture and history, and opportunities for everyone to participate. And this is just the beginning,” said Smith.

"Nyack is privileged to host the Phoenix Festival in its first year,” added Don Hammond, Mayor of Nyack. “The Phoenix Festival brings history, location and creative energy together in a powerful way -- a celebration of our special village and Rockland County as a home for the best in the performing arts. We look forward to many years ahead.”

About the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble. Founded in 2004 in New York City, the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of the classic theater canon, and to the development and nurturing of classically trained, highly skilled theater artists. The company makes its second home in Rockland County, where its artists have created and performed both classics and original works since 2018.

Sponsors. The Festival organizers and the villages of Nyack and Upper Nyack gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of the many individuals and sustaining sponsors who are making this event possible, including: The National Endowment for the Arts, Humanities New York, New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockland Office of Economic Development and Tourism, the Zisson Foundation, Weld Realty, and Orange and Rockland Utilities. 



TOURS:    Ticket discounts for tours and groups of 10 or more are available at Or email for information. 

GENERAL INFORMATION: Go to  or leave a message at 212-465-3446.

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