A Message from Sylvester Manor Educational Farm: Due to excessive heat and Actors Equity requirements, the Saturday and Sunday performances of The Tempest at Sylvester Manor have been moved to the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church (32 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island), which is air-conditioned. Please feel free to bring a picnic to the Manor grounds before the performance and then join us at the Church, where the doors will open at 5:30pm and the show will start at 6pm. 

We appreciate your understanding. Thank you. Contact Alice Clark at with any questions.

Exiled from her native land at the hands of her power-hungry brother Antonio, Prospera and her daughter have made a new life for themselves on a remote island populated by fairies, spirits and other magical creatures. After twelve years of using her “rough magic” to maintain survival and control over the island and its inhabitants, Prospera summons a sea storm that brings her face to face with her former life and the people who betrayed her. In the ensuing action, this motley group of natives and transplants, humans and spirits, all grapple for dominance and personal justice.

When Shakespeare wrote The Tempest in 1610, England was in the early stages of its imperialist expeditions into America and the West Indies. Shakespeare’s text reveals a writer who was curious about this new world and the people and places found within it. In imagining such a place, Shakespeare’s fantasy play explores many real world themes: displacement, revenge, forgiveness, power, subjugation, and otherness all shape the events – sometimes joyful and sometimes sinister – that unfold on the island.

Those early colonial expeditions that sparked Shakespeare’s imagination can be traced directly to Sylvester Manor – established in 1652 as a provisioning plantation for the Barbadian sugar trade, and worked by enslaved Africans and indentured Native Americans. The shadow of European imperialism continues to shape our modern world, making The Tempest an important play to engage with today, especially here on the Manor. Bringing to life this 400 year-old text (on a nearly 400 year-old property) offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared history and on the timeless impulses, both for good and evil, that make us human.

Bringing wonderful, engaging Arts programming to Shelter Island is a vital part of our mission at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. For centuries, the Sylvester family and their descendants celebrated the arts, exemplified at the turn of the 20th century by Cornelia Horsford’s ‘summer salons’ featuring poetry and literary readings, music performances and ‘theatricals’. As we continue to explore a new era at Sylvester Manor, “Shakespeare at the Manor” remains a cornerstone in our commitment to encouraging deeper connections to culture and place through programs like this.

We encourage our local community to engage beyond being members of the audience. Volunteer hosts house artists for the duration of the production, donate and host meals, or otherwise contribute and make the company welcome during their stay on Shelter Island.

Special note of thanks to Samara Levenstein, Producer for lending her incredible talent, creativity and devotion to “Shakespeare at the Manor” since it began in 2009.

Photos from the 2018 Production: Romeo & Juliet