Mission and History

Mission

The Center for the Arts at Ithaca, Inc., d.b.a. the Hangar Theatre, is committed to providing exceptional theatre experiences of high professional quality to enrich, enlighten, educate, and entertain the diverse audience in the Finger Lakes region.  Strong education and training programs are central parts of our commitment to the local and national artistic communities.

ABOUT THE HANGAR THEATRE

On July 11, 1975, the Hangar Theatre opened with Man of La Mancha, thanks to more than a decade’s effort by impassioned citizens in Ithaca, NY. Today, the Hangar Theatre has achieved national prominence as a regional theatre producing exceptional plays and serving as a learning environment for rising theatre professionals.

Visionary leadership, community support, and challenges posed by the facility’s unusual structure all weave together in the Hangar’s history. The original conversion of a municipal airport hangar was made possible by a grant from Nelson Rockefeller and the combined efforts of the Ithaca Repertory Theatre (renamed the Hangar Theatre Company in 1978), Cornell University, Ithaca College, and the City of Ithaca.  In 2010, the Hangar for All Seasons capital campaign met its $4.6 million goal for a complete building renovation, creating a year-round home for the Hangar Theatre Company as well as a venue for other national artists and local organizations. The Hangar hosts events from folk concerts to opera galas for audiences of all ages.

Arts education and training have always been central to the Hangar’s mission. In addition to its summer Mainstage and KIDDSTUFF productions and annual winter show, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the Hangar is home to the Lab Company, a nationally recognized incubator for rising actors, directors, and playwrights as well as an extensive apprenticeship and intern program in our Production Department. The Hangar’s Next Generation School of Theatre offers classes for students in grades 3-12, and Project 4 sends teaching artists into area classrooms.

The Hangar exists today because of hundreds of individuals passionate about the arts. In addition to skilled theatrical professionals, they include committed volunteers, teachers, and mentors; community businesses and professionals; and elected officials and foundations. It is a “cast list” far too long to record in full, but all have made the Hangar Theatre an essential part of the quality of life in our region.

“The Hangar belongs to Ithaca. It is one of those rare theatre companies that was started not by an artist, but by the community.(Mark Ramont, Hangar artistic director for 1997-2000)

History of the Hangar Theatre Building: click here

Hangar History Timeline: click here

Leadership History: click here

 

Artistic Leadership

Robert Moss                                      1982-1997

Mark Ramont                                    1997-2000

Kevin Moriarty                                  2000-2007

Robert Moss (interim)                    2008

Peter Flynn                                         2009-2012

Stephanie Yankwitt (interim)      2012

Jen Waldman                                     2013-2015

Michael Barakiva                              2015-Present

 

Board of Trustees Leadership

Thomas Niederkorn                        1975-1983

David Allee                                         1984

William Downing                              1985

Jim Novack                                         1986

John A. Elliott                                     1987-1990

Andrea Fleck Clardy                         1991-1992

Julia C. Bonney                                  1993

Raymond Schlather                         1994-1996

Linda Trees Mack                             1997-1999

Laurel Southard                                2000-2002

Roy Dexheimer                                 2003-2005

Paula Peter                                         2006-2008

Mary Kane                                          2009-2010

Ann Costello                                       2011-2012

Shelley Semmler                              2013-2014

Margaret Shackell                            2015-2016

Jamie Wells                                         2017-2018

Jessica Casey                                      2019-Present

 

Management Leadership

Carol True Palmer                            1987-1992

Lynn Fitzpatrick                                 1992-1993

Jerold R. Smith                                  1994-1998

Jamie Grady                                       1999

Lisa Bushlow                                      2000-2012

Josh Friedman                                   2012-2017

MaryBeth Bunge                              2017-Present