Teaching Artists

Holly Adams
 has been a Teaching Artist at Sinatra School, Greater Hartford Academy of Arts, and the Hangar Theatre since 1995. She is SAG/AFTRA, a grad of Dell’Arte School, and holds a Master's in Theatre, Education, and Social Change. She performs for stage, film, and audiobooks with Audible. You may see some of her work here and on her website.

Jan Nigro
is the co-founder and a songwriter for the nationally acclaimed young people chorus Vitamin L. He is also founder and director of The Mostly Motown Chorus. He has written music for National Geographic and Disney and is a guitar instructor on the faculty of the Community School Of Music and Art.

Camilla Schade, a theatre artist for innumerable years, with the Hangar since 2003, freelances throughout the southern tier performing, directing, teaching and playwriting. She previously performed as graphic artist, theatre owner, company manager, and college adjunct professor in PA. She now conducts The Pathways Players in Corning, tours her solo show Performing Therapy, is publishing her play Emily Sticksenstones and lends her voice to radio. 

ohn Simon is a musician with Project 4 and has been working in schools since the early '70’s. Throughout his career John has worked with groups of children and young people as a youth worker, drug and alcohol counselor, and teacher-- usually bringing music into the mix! His song written with students at Beverly J. Marting Elementary, “We Love Raw Veggies and Greens”, was featured on the Grammy Nominated CD, Good Enough to Eat (along with songs by Julian Lennon, Beck, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Tom Chapin and Russel Simmons). 

Gabriella Patricia Carr is a recent graduate of Ithaca College’s Department of Theatre Arts with a concentration in musical theater direction and vocal coaching. Gabriella was previously based out of NYC, where she was a performance advisor with Broadway Artists Alliance and an assistant to Artistic Director Jeremy Quinn at The White Plains Performing Arts Center. Gabriella is now based out of the Ithaca, New York Greater Area. She is an Artistic Associate with Civic Ensemble as well as a teaching artist in residency with the Hangar Theatre and runs a private voice and acting studio in Ithaca.

Karen Stanley
 is honored to be back at the Hangar Theatre offering a week-long puppetry class.  As a Next Generation alum herself, it’s fabulous to be back as a teacher.  Karen is a member of Kakeru Physical Theater Company, a company that specializes in clowning, mask work and other physical theater, and her most recent performances with Kakeru include Museum Trip, Raven Brings the Light to the People and How Loon Became a Water Bird.  For several years Karen was the assistant director for three Binghamton area performing programs- Peacetown Puppets, Mental Health Players and Ray of Sunshine Clown Therapy Program.  Karen graduated from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts where she studied acting, directing, playwrighting and stage management. 

Michael Fambro
is delighted to be teaching at the Hangar Theatre. She was previously the Artistic Director with the WNY Performance Center, and now divides her time directing in the Rochester area, as well as doing sound design and stage management. She holds both a BA in Theater and Psychology from SUNY Geneseo, and has enjoyed teaching, directing and performing all over the country. Favorite directing credits include Clue, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and The Woman In Black. When she’s not found onstage, or backstage, she can usually be found reading, writing, or cooking up a storm! 

Fatima Sowe is an Ithaca-born dancer, coach and choreographer. She received her dance training at the Armstrong School of Dance and is an engaged alumna of the Running to Places Theatre Company as a dance teacher and choreographer. She specializes in Tap, Hip-Hop and Contemporary Jazz styles. 

Mike Stanley
has been a magician for 28 years. He is presently, and has been for 3 years, President of the Finger Lakes Magic Club Ring 140 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He has performed magic all over the world, including numerous venues here in Ithaca. He has taught Magic at almost every school in this area, as well as at conventions. He has also founded, taught, and performed with a troupe of special young adults called "The Cayuga Wizards."

Venissa Santi - singer . composer . recording artist . educator, was born in Ithaca NY to Cuban parents. For a long time she was involved with Next Generation with the Hangar Theatre as a child and pursued every performance outlet in school. She then traveled to Philadelphia where she studied jazz voice. In 2001 her career as an educator began as a vocal and performance coach. In 2009 she released her first album Bienvenida a combination of jazz, and Cuban iconic songs along with some originals with fresh and innovative arrangements. In 2013 Big-Stuff Afro Cuban Holiday - a tribute to the great Lady Day came out, both albums on independent jazz label: Sunny Side records. Santi currently is based in Ithaca NY with her family and continues to teach, record, and play concerts locally and abroad. For the Hangar, Venissa has taught music for Project 4 and Next Gen, and has been the composer and music director for Spring Break-a-Leg since 2015.

Allison Popieski is new to the Ithaca area after traveling around, a bit, working in the professional theatre world. She was raised in Florida and studied Theatre and Dance at Florida State University. Allison developed her passion for theatre and dance in the fifth grade at a summer theatre camp, and hasn't stopped working in the performing arts world since. She has worked as a Teaching Artist and Choreographer at a number of professional theatres, such as the Florida Repertory Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, and the Cortland Repertory Theatre. Allison has also been practicing yoga for about 10 years and believes it is very important to know where the movements in dance are coming from in correlation to the body. To Allison, dance and theatre create a world where anything is possible and everyone fits just as they are.

Brien Bianchi is a Dramaturg, teaching artist, and environmental performer. He received his Master of Arts from the University of Houston in Theatre Studies, with a focus on Renaissance and Shakespearean performance. As a veteran performer for the Sterling Renaissance Festival and ‚Äč‚ÄčSkaneateles Dicken's Festival he trains and teaches youth in physical clowning and the embodiment of character outside of the text of the script.

Kelci Loring is a previous Next Generation camper, who has now returned as a teacher! She has previously just completed her year long National tour teaching,directing, and performing with Missoula Children's Theater. She is a graduate of Russell Sage College in Troy, NY with a BS in Musical Theater with a minor in dance. Kelci has taken private vocal lessons for 8 years, and has been in several musical favorites such as Spring Awakening (Theater Institute at Sage),  Les Miserables (Theater Institute at Sage) and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Adirondack Theater Festival.) Kelci has also performed in several plays such as The Comedy of Errors (Saratoga Shakespeare), And Then They Came for Me, In the Next Room, Romeo and Juliet, and The War of the Worlds (Theater Institute at Sage.) She is so happy to be returning to her roots and to give the gift of theater to her students. She also offers private acting coaching.

Lucy Walker has taught and cared for children in formal and informal roles for over a decade: camp counselor, dance teacher, nanny, teaching artist, daycare teacher, stage manager for children's theatre... Locally, she has taught at Hangar Next Gen, Sciencenter Camp, Acting Out NY, and New Roots. She finds particular joy in sharing and creating art with the very young.
Beyond teaching, Lucy directs, dramaturgs, and produces new plays. Currently Civic Engagement Associate at Civic Ensemble. She has worked previously at Portland Stage, SHAPES Theatre Project, and Geva Theatre Center, among others. Graduate of Ithaca College.


Miranda Bianchi is an actor and teaching artist based in Central New York, and the Artistic Director of The Underground Players. She is thrilled to be returning to the Hangar Theatre this Summer as Head Counselor for the Next Generation School of Theatre! Miranda is a graduate of SUNY Oswego's drama department, and has also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre and Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass. She has worked in professional environmental improvisation for seven years, and has taught beginning acting, improv, and voice with the Hangar Theatre, SUNY Oswego's Dramafest, Redhouse Arts Center, and the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival. Miranda strives to bring the joy and freedom of improvisation and freeing the natural voice to all of her students, and has more than a bit of a soft spot for Shakespeare. 

Rachel Hockett, co-founding artistic director of the Homecoming Players, studied with Lynne Meadow, Walter Dallas, and Nikos Psacharopoulos as a member of the first class of women at Yale. She co-founded OOBA West-Park Theatre in New York, which produced classics and new works (including two by Oscar winner Ted Tally). Rachel acted in the inaugural season of the Ithaca Summer Repertory, stage managed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and directed at San Luis Obispo Little Theatre and with the Shotgun Players in Berkeley, California. In addition to her duties as AD for Homecoming Players, in Ithaca Rachel has directed for the Kitchen Theatre, the Cornell Savoyards, and Wolf’s Mouth Theatre Company. She has taught acting to students ages 4 to 18 in New York and California, and is the author of two published novels.

Zeek Smith is excited to return to the Hangar for the second year in a row! He currently serves as both Artist-in-Residence at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY as well as Music Director at The Episcopal Church of Saints Peter and John in Auburn, NY. Zeek is also Sub-Dean for the Ithaca Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and has been seen collaborating with numerous local arts organizations including Opera Ithaca and the Ithaca Gay Men’s Chorus.

During his time as a graduate assistant at Ithaca College, Zeek conducted and assisted with several productions including Titanic (Music Director), La Clemenza di Tito (Chorus Master), Company (Assistant Conductor), Semele (Assistant Conductor), and A Chorus Line (Keyboard).

He was spotted last year at the Hangar in In The Heights (Associate Music Director), Louis Braille: The World at your Fingertips (Music Director), and NextGen’s My Son Pinocchio Jr. (Music Director).

Zeek holds a M.M. in Conducting from Ithaca College, and a B.A. in Music from Jacksonville University. He currently resides in Ithaca, NY. 

Scott Hitz is a Director, Producer, Puppeteer, and educator who’s work has been seen worldwide. His company, PuppHitz, is dedicated to promoting the art of puppetry, and to expanding the idea of what that art form can do. Scott was also a co-founder of Monkey Boys Productions where he still serves as an Associate Artist and Producer from time to time. His work has been seen on television: TV Funhouse (Comedy Central), The Book of Pooh (The Disney Channel), Mother Goose Jams (Sprout), and on stage: Avenue Q, (Vineyard Theater, NYC), Hand to God (The Kitchen Theatre, Ithaca, NY), Bunnicula (The Arden Theater, Philadelphia), Little Shop of Horrors (Ford’s Theater, Washington DC), Animal Farm (Synapse Theatre, NYC). Directing and writing credits include: Carnival of the Animals (Philadelphia Orchestra), Orchestra 2000 (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), Little Shop of Horrors (Associate Director, The Hangar Theatre), Spring (Sprout Television). Scott has also been honored with the position of Artist in Residence at the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center summer puppetry program, where he began work on his stage adaptation of The Little Prince, which premiered at Cape May Stage in NJ and eventually played at the New Victory Theatre on 42nd street in NYC. His work has taken him to Korea as part of the Chunchon International Festival for Puppetry, and he has also been the recipient of a Henson seed grant for his production Ursa Major: The Voice of the Bear.

This is Arthur Bicknell’s third year as Next Generation’s playwriting instructor. He has written the books for four original musicals for young audiences for the Hangar’s Spring Break-a-Leg program (three under the inspired direction of Helen Clark and with music by Venissa Santi). He returned to his hometown of Ithaca eight years ago where he and his partner Rachel Hockett co-founded the Homecoming Players, a theater company dedicated to providing a collaborative, gender and age-friendly environment for local actors and writers. He currently serves as the company’s literary manager and has overseen several concert readings and full stage productions of classic and new American plays including Dustin Lance Black’s groundbreaking 8 (about the federal trial leading to the overturning of California’s Proposition 8) and the world premiere of his own comedy Dotty. This summer he will debut his latest play, Easy Out, as part of the Kitchen Theatre Company’s Kitchen Sink series. Arthur’s full-length plays, including My Great Dead Sister and Masterpieces have been produced Off Broadway and regionally. In preparation for his return to his native Ithaca, he’s been an innovator, a visionary, and a tenacious and loyal arts administrator for both profit and nonprofit organizations. He inaugurated the literary division for Abrams Artists and Associates and served as the literary director for their New York City office for several years, and was director of communications for StageWest in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he designed and coordinated educational and outreach programs and activities with several of the area’s secondary schools. As an actor, local audiences have seen him as Henri in Heroes at the Kitchen Theatre Company, the Stage Manager in Theatre Incognita’s Our Town, and, most recently, as the befuddled “Uncle” Vanya in HP’s production of Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. As the poet Cavafy put it in his haunting poem Ithaka, Arthur returned to Ithaca “rich with all I have gained on the way,” and has spent the past eight years rediscovering all the reasons he’s so grateful to this gorgeous place that raised him. 

  • Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter

Powered By WebTree. Site by AWP.