Michael Barakiva

Michael Barakiva, of the Hangar Theatre Company. 

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Hangar Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Barakiva will be leaving the theater to pursue personal artistic opportunities. Barakiva joined the staff five yers ago as interim-artistic director, and became the Hangar’s first full-time, in-residence artistic director a year later.  

 "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,” Barakiva said. “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, according to a statement put out by the Hangar. He played a central role in expanding artistic endeavors and educational curriculum, as well as shaping the Hangar’s strategic vision. Following his departure, Barakiva plans to focus on writing and directing opportunities, including two upcoming programs at the Hangar. These include directing “Dear Hope”by Joy Peskin on Nov. 1, and producing his own new work, “The Nature Of Things”, in January 2021. 


The Hangar thanks 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.”

The Hangar team has been working diligently to ensure a smooth transition and open communication with the larger Hangar community. Barakiva is leaving the daily operations in the strong and capable hands of the dedicated Hangar staff and Board. As we search for new leadership, which we hope will be in place by winter 2021, 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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