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.

History

  • The Hangar Theatre opened in 1975 in a renovated municipal airport hangar. This unique conversion was made possible by a grant from Nelson Rockefeller and the combined efforts and support of the Ithaca Repertory Theatre, Cornell University, Ithaca College, and the City of Ithaca.
  • In 1986, the Hangar received a significant grant from the New York State Natural Heritage Trust to build an adjacent set and costume shop.
  • The Hangar embarked on a capital campaign in 1995, raising more than $270,000 for additional improvements to the facility.
  • In 2010, the Hangar for All Seasons capital campaign goal of $4.6 million was achieved, enabling the Hangar to designate $4 million for a complete building renovation. The remainder provides a year round home for the Hangar Theatre Company and to serve as a community asset.
  • From 1982-1996, under the artistic leadership of Robert Moss from New York’s Playwrights Horizons, the Hangar achieved national prominence as a professional regional theatre that produced exceptional plays and served as a fertile learning environment for rising theatre professionals.
  • In 1988, the Hangar teamed up with the Drama League Project to expand their directing internship program, enabling the Hangar to host emerging talents to direct plays for KIDDSTUFF and in The Wedge, and serve as the artistic leadership of the Lab Company.
  • Since its founding in 1989, the Lab Company has become one of the nation’s most prominent programs for young artists embarking on their professional career.
  • The tenure of Mark Ramont as artistic director from 1997-2000 signaled the beginning of another phase of creative growth on the Mainstage. Under Lisa Bushlow’s concurrent leadership as education director, the Hangar received recognition throughout New York State and across the country for its comprehensive, year-round theatre education programs.
  • In 2000, the board appointed Bushlow as the Hangar’s executive director; she was joined by Kevin Moriarty as artistic director. Under their leadership, the Hangar continued to expand their new play and cabaret programming. Peter Flynn was appointed artistic director in August 2008, bringing extensive credits in both New York and regional theatre.
  • In 2012, Bushlow stepped down after twenty-five years of service and Josh Friedman was appointed Managing Director.
  • After Stephanie Yankwitt served as Acting Artistic Director in 2012, Jen Waldman was named Artistic Director, serving until 2015 when Michael Barakiva was appointed Interim Artistic Director.
  • In 2016, following a nation-wide search, Barakiva was named the first full-time, in-residence artistic director. Artistic programming continues to expand, including a five- show summer play, the CaberETC, new play summer workshops, a year-round Artist-In-Residence Series (AIRS), and a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

The Hangar brings a variety of theatre experiences to younger audiences across New York State year-round, with the School Tour and Project 4 Artists-in-the-Schools programs reaching students during the school year, and performances by KIDDSTUFF and the Next Generation School of Theatre entertaining children during the summer months. The Hangar serves approximately 60,000 adults and children annually.