Design Fellows Testimonials


“Being a Hangar Theatre design fellow was like being adopted into a bold, innovative and prolific theatrical family. Not only I was given the opportunity to experiment, play, and hone my craft with inquisitive, innovative artists, but I developed the relationships I needed to be able to create a career from my passion.  Nearly every time I meet an artist whose work I find to be fresh and stirring, I discover that they were also nurtured at the Hangar.”- Colleen Toole ’11 Sound Designer

Colleen (also known to many as Slat) is now a freelance director/sound designer based in New York City. To see other work, you can refer to her website: including Hangar Mainstage credit 4000 Miles (2013).


“The Lab Company Program at the Hangar Theatre was one of the best summers of my life. Over the eleven weeks or so that I was in beautiful Ithaca, I gained experiences that pushed the limits of my understanding of art, theatre, design, and collaboration to a new level. It was a remarkably rewarding, but challenging period where I created work of a professional caliber, and developed professional contacts that I retain to this day.”- Matt O’Hare ’05 Sound Designer

Matt is a current freelance designer. You can see his work at, including Hangar Mainstage credits: Sleuth (2006), Art (2006), and The 39 Steps (2009).


“My summer at the Lab connected me with designers and directors who are not only my colleagues in the industry but also my friends.  The diversity of the work gave me a breadth of experience in one program that I don't think I could have found somewhere else.” – Mary Ellen Stebbins ‘09 Lighting Designer

Mary Ellen is a current freelance designer. Check out more of her work at

“The Hangar Lab program was speedy, insane, and completely accurate training for the professional lifestyle that lay ahead. It gave me the opportunity to practice juggling many projects at a time, meet some inspiring collaborators, and assist designers that took the time to share their advice and skills. Our time together at the Hangar built relationships that continue to this day.” – Masha Tsimring ’07 Lighting Designer

Masha is currently a freelance designer.  More of her work is available at including Hangar Mainstage credit 4000 Miles (2013).

“I worked at the Hangar as a costume designer my first summer out of graduate school.  What I discovered about myself as both a designer and a professional during those weeks has been invaluable to my career.  The intensive and overlapping nature of the show deadlines, as well as the artistic and high creative standards of the Hangar staff pushed me to new heights in finding my voice as an artist and collaborator.” – Eric Abele ’09 Costume Designer

Eric is currently a costume design professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. You see more of his work at


“My experience as the Costume Design Fellow for the Hangar's 2014 summer season was incredibly eye opening and beneficial to me as a young designer. Having recently graduated with an MFA, I had a lot of education but significantly less real life applications. The Hangar Theatre bridged the gap between my educational career and my professional one, challenging me artistically and giving me the experience and confidence I needed as I began my career as a theatrical costume designer.” – Becki Stafford ’14 Costume Designer

Becki is currently the resident costume designer at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. You can see some of the work at


“The Hangar Design Fellowship is where I learned to be an artist. In the fellowship I was pushed and challenged to take my work further and really dive into a script and focus on the visual story I was telling on stage. Not only did I discover my own personal voice, I also discovered and met artists that I still work with today. The Design Fellowship and Lab Company is a family, and I take pride in saying that I continue to nurture and work with that family today.” – Joe Klug ’12 Scenic Designer


“The Hangar Theatre provided the opportunity to meet so many professionals and emerging artists face to face, forming important relationships that I have collaborated with many times over the years. That experience gave me the confidence to continue expanding my design skills. The Wedge shows particularly let me experiment with site specific environments which I now apply to my opera designs across America.”  – Julian Noulin-Merat ’07 Scenic Designer

Julia is currently a freelance designer/principal at Noulin-Merat Studio.  You can see her work at, including her Hangar Mainstage credits: November (2009), Penelope of Ithaca (2010), Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (2011). 


All of the design work pictured above was created by our 2016 Design Fellows: Matthew S. Crane (scenery), Emily Clarkson (lights), Danita Lee (costumes), Almeda Beynon (sound).

Photos by Rachel Philipson 


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