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hangar barakivaMichael Barakiva - Photo by Rachel Philipson

After five years co-leading the Hangar Theatre to sustainable growth, Hangar Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Barakiva will be leaving to pursue personal artistic opportunities. Michael joined the staff in September 2015 as Interim Artistic Director and became the Hangar’s first full-time, in-residence Artistic Director in 2016.

Barakiva shares the following with the Hangar community: "After much deliberation, I have made the decision to step down from my position as Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre, which I have been lucky enough to call home for the last five years. Someone asked me recently what was the biggest surprise about becoming an artistic director. My answer was, the amount of love that dedicated supporters such as yourself have for this institution! The times we're living in have presented us with extraordinary challenges and opportunities, and I have full confidence that the Hangar will adapt and inspire, as it always has.”

Barakiva has been pivotal in the development and success of the organization, having played a central role in expanding artistic endeavors and educational curriculum, as well as shaping the Hangar’s strategic vision. Following his departure, Michael plans to focus on writing and directing opportunities, including two upcoming programs at the Hangar. These include directing Dear Hope by Joy Peskin on November 1, and producing his own new work, The Nature Of Things, in January 2021.

The Hangar thanked Barakiva for the last five years of dedicated service, which involved many significant accomplishments, including:

Five Mainstage seasons, including the first-ever virtual season
Reintroducing the five-show summer season in 2017
Premiering the first full holiday production, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Creating the Artist in Residence Series (AIRS) and Young Professional Company
Directing over nine productions

Board President Jessica Casey said, “We cannot thank Michael enough for the dedication, passion, enthusiasm, and motivation he brought to the Hangar. He led the organization through challenging times and delivered significant results in bringing theatre to the Ithaca community. Thanks to Michael, we set our sights on increasing growth and mission impact. We hope you’ll join us in thanking him for his dedication to our beloved theatre and in wishing him continued success in his career. Thank you for your commitment to the theatre, and for your support during this transition.”

Shirley Serotsky (currently Associate Artistic Director/Education Director at the Hangar) will serve as Interim Artistic Director and Alfred Butler (who joined this summer as Administration Director) will serve as Interim Managing Director.

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