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.
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’s capital campaign in 1995 raised more than $270,000 for additional improvements to the facility.
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 produces exceptional plays and serves as a fertile learning environment for rising theatre professionals. In 1988, the Hangar’s directing internship program expanded when the Drama League Project began sending emerging directors to the Hangar to direct plays in The Wedge, and in 1989 the Lab Company was formed.
The appointment of Mark Ramont as artistic director from 1997-2000 signaled the beginning of another phase of creative growth on the Mainstage. Concurrently, under Lisa Bushlow’s leadership as education director, the Hangar became recognized 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 first executive director, at which time she recommended Kevin Moriarty as the artistic director. Under their leadership the Hangar continued to grow with the addition of a New Play Festival in 2001, the Starlight Café in 2002, and expanded artistic and educational programming, including the commissioning of new plays. During 2008, Robert Moss returned as Interim Artistic Director for during the summer and Peter Flynn was appointed Artistic Director in August, 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. During 2012, Stephanie Yankwitt served as the Acting Artistic Director through the end of the Mainstage season. Jen Waldman was then named Artistic Director.
During the school year, the Hangar brings a range of theatre experiences to students across New York State, with the School Tour and Artists-in-the-Schools programs. Throughout the summer KIDDSTUFF performances and the Next Generation School of Theatre reach thousands of young people. The Hangar serves approximately 60,000 adults and children annually.
As of December 31, 2010 the Hangar for All Seasons capital campaign goal of $4.6 million was achieved, designating $4 million for the building renovation and $600,000 for endowment for the future. The team is working toward a super goal of an additional $300,000 to renovate the shop and purchase new equipment.