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Hangar Theatre Appoints Michael Barakiva as Artistic Director

September 9, 2016

Michael Barakiva appointed as Artistic Director of Hangar Theatre

Ithaca, NY (9/9/16) – After a nationwide search, the Hangar Theatre announces the appointment of Michael Barakiva as Artistic Director. His tenure will begin immediately as he transitions from Interim to full-time Artistic Director. Michael will be the Hangar’s first full-time, in residence Artistic Director.

As the Interim Artistic Director, Michael directed Third and I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti for the Hangar's 2016 Season, which were both critical and popular successes.  Prior to this season, Michael had been a Hangar Directing Fellow in 2001 and a director for the Hangar School Tour in 2003.

Michael comments, “My stint as Interim afforded me the opportunity to get to know and fall in love with the Hangar Theatre and its surrounding community.  I am humbled and honored to become the first full-time, in-residence Artistic Director, especially as we expand the year-round artistic programming and reinstate the much-beloved fifth show into our summer season”. One of the first responsibilities Michael will have as Artistic Director will be to program the Hangar’s Mainstage and KIDDSTUFF seasons: look for an announcement in mid-November for the Hangar’s five-play Mainstage season.

The Hangar management and Board of Trustees are eager to continue their partnership with Barakiva. “I am thrilled that Michael has accepted the position of full-time Artistic Director,” says Board President Margaret Shackell. “Many people called, emailed, and pulled me aside to recommend that the board take the ‘Interim’ label off his title. Personally, I loved this season, and I think Michael had a lot to do with making it both an artistic and financial success. I can't wait to see what happens next!”

Hangar Managing Director Josh Friedman is thrilled to continue collaborating with Barakiva. “I look forward to growing a partnership that will be rewarding for the Hangar and our entire community,” Friedman says.  “Michael is a great choice for many reasons. He is an artist, a leader, and an educator. His heart is already tied to the Hangar and the Ithaca arts community, and will be a driving force in programming performances and events in an effort to build on the recent successful expanded seasons”.

As a director, Michael has worked in New York and across the country developing new plays and staging classics. As a freelance director Michael has worked Off-Broadway and at numerous regional theatres, including Syracuse Stage, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Primary Stages, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Credits include Perfect Arrangement by Topher Payne (Primary Stages), White People by Neil Cuthbert (Ensemble Studio Theater), UP by Bridget Carpenter (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Burn This by Lanford Wilson (Shakespeare Santa Cruz) and The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, Turn of the Screw by Jeffrey Hatcher and Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward (all at Syracuse Stage).  He is a graduate of Vassar College and the Juilliard School, where he studied as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Directing.

“Much like a Pokémon reaching its next phase of evolution, assuming the artistic directorship of the Hangar Theatre feels like the culmination of my twenty years in the field,” Barakiva comments. “I have been blessed to work in just about every arena of our profession – developing new works, staging classics, mounting musicals; in New York, regionally, and internationally.  I look forward to bringing that artistic experience along with my producerial background running a company in New York, as well as producing new plays festivals, to this position.”  

In addition to shaping programming for the Hangar’s summer performance season, which includes both mainstage productions and KIDDSTUFF performances for young audiences, Barakiva will oversee the organization’s diverse education programs. He will support Hangar staff in continuing to provide theatre arts training to area fourth graders through the lauded Project 4 program; guide the Hangar’s long-time Lab Company program, which offers unique professional training to emerging directors, actors, choreographers, and playwrights; and help to shape other educational opportunities such as school tours, Theatre for Young Audiences, and the Next Generation School of Theatre summer training program. Barakiva will also be responsible for growing the Hangar’s year-round artistic programming.

The Hangar began its search earlier this year after the departure of Jen Waldman late in 2015, who had been the theatre’s Artistic Director for the previous two seasons. Michael Barakiva has been serving as Interim Artistic Director since December of 2015.

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 and beyond. Strong education and training programs are central parts of our commitment to the local and national artistic communities.  Visit our website at

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