Mission and History


The Hangar Theatre creates and presents performances of exceptional quality in New York’s Finger Lakes region while training the next generation of theatre artists.  We inspire our community with work and classes that enrich, entertain, and enlighten.  We believe in the power of theatre to transform lives.


The Hangar Theatre is an artistic home that nurtures a lifelong love of the performing arts.


  • Gratitude
  • Generosity
  • Equality
  • Inclusion
  • Diversity
  • Quality
  • Integrity


The Hangar Theatre is committed to an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. We strive to offer all patrons an enjoyable experience in safe and accommodating surroundings. We will do our best to make any necessary adjustments or modifications to enhance your theatre experience. Please let our box office know of any accommodations or requirements when purchasing tickets.

Equity, diversity, inclusion, & access:

The Hangar Theatre’s Commitment to Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppressive Practices

The Hangar Theatre Company believes we must examine our participation in upholding the structure of white supremacy, which throughout history has centered and prioritized the lives and stories of white and white passing individuals. We acknowledge the pain our complicity may have caused, and are dedicating time and thought to learning about the history and pervasiveness of systemic racism and the racist and exclusionary practices in our industry. Click HERE to learn more.

LAND acknowledgment:

The Hangar Theatre is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of the Hangar Theatre, New York state, and the United States of America. With this statement, the Hangar Theatre acknowledges the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ dispossession, and honors the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.


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)

50 Seasons of Hangar History:

In honor of our 50th Mainstage season in 2024, a look back at the past five decades of Hangar history.
1975-1984: The Hangar Takes Flight
1985-1994: Growth and Innovation
1995-2004: Transitions and Trailblazing
2005-2014: A Hangar for All Seasons

History of the Hangar Theatre Building: click here

Hangar History Timeline: click here

Hangar Theatre Awards History: click here

Leadership History: click here

Production History: (updated September 2019): click here

Annual Report: to read the current and past Annual Reports, 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                              2015-2020

Shirley Serotsky                                2020-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                                      2019-2020

Kristen Burt                                         2021-2022

Liebe Meier Swain & Nichole Gantshar   2022-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                              2017-2020

RJ Lavine                                             2021-2022