THE ITHACAN

Accuracy • Independence • Integrity
The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

Support Us
$1375
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Support Us
$1375
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Theater, theatres and theatrics galore across Ithaca

The+Hangar+Theatre+is+located+just+a+short+walk+from+Cayuga+Lake+and+has+the+ability+to+hold+364+guests+during+its+array+of+performances.
Courtesy of Katie Marks
The Hangar Theatre is located just a short walk from Cayuga Lake and has the ability to hold 364 guests during its array of performances.

The Hangar Theatre is a nationally recognized regional theater located on Taughannock Blvd in Ithaca. The Hangar Theatre is celebrating its upcoming 50th season. They put on many shows each season including three mainstage productions for adults and their “KIDDSTUFF” productions for children in the community. Their productions include mainly standard plays and musical theater. This season, their mainstage productions include “Ride the Cyclone,” “Ragtime” and “Todd vs. The Titanic.” They hold open auditions for equity actors, members of a union called the Actor’s Equity Association, and non-equity actors. 

The Hangar’s season is only over the summer from June to August, however, they do have ways to be involved outside of their main season. They have a program called the Hangar Lab Performance Fellowship which allows college students to be involved at the Hangar as a step into the professional world. The program allows them to rehearse, learn, teach and perform. College students can be employed in front-of-house jobs such as ushers. 

One of the Hangar Theatre’s main goals is to create a theater space for community members of all ages. Chris Pollock, the communications & development coordinator of the Hangar Theatre, said the theater invites children from local schools to visit the theater and perform which exposes children to theater from a young age.

“The Hangar Theatre helps engender a love of theater with the people that attend shows there and with the school kids that come and visit,” Pollock said. “Without the colleges and the local public schools around here, the Hangar could not be as strong and have endured as long as it has.”

Since the Hangar is a nonprofit theater, help with fundraising and production from community members allows for the Hangar to succeed. Pollock said the support means that the Hangar is able to fulfill its mission.

“The arts help us articulate emotions and thoughts that we couldn’t necessarily say, in straight words,” Pollock said. “Whether it’s a painting or a play or a song or anything else, it just allows us to creatively express our feelings.”

Uraina Bellamy and Carley Robinson performing in “Delia Divided,” which ran in May 2022 at Civic Ensemble. (Courtesy of Connor Lange)

Civic Ensemble is a community-engaged theatre company founded in 2012 by Sarah K. Chalmers, Godfrey L. Simmons Jr. and Ithaca College lecturer Jennifer Herzog. Their goal is to create theater for those who have not had access to it and tell true stories of the community. Ithaca College students can be involved through volunteer work and student employment opportunities. The main way to support them is to see their shows. Their tickets are “pay what you can” in order to accommodate audience members of any financial status.

They have three main kinds of programs. Their first program is called the ReEntry Theatre Program. This program allows people who were formerly incarcerated or court-involved to create new shows about their lives and experiences. Executive Director Julia Taylor said this program is a creative community for those who have shared this similar experience.

“We are really working to shift narratives around mass incarceration and who is impacted by this system,” Taylor said. “We want to tell people’s stories and celebrate joy and resiliency and power of people in our community even when they’ve experienced challenges and trauma within the system.” 

The ReEntry Theatre Program is performing an original musical called “Fallen Branches Plant Roots” about family from May 31 to June 9. The other programs are Theatre in Education and Community-Based Plays. Their education program aims to help students explore important community issues through theater. Their community plays focus on bringing to light difficult conversations that have been brought to their attention by members of the community. Civic Ensemble unites activism and theater to create art that connects to the people of Ithaca. 

“We’re working directly with a vision of wellness in our community and we understand that when people, especially folks who traditionally have been excluded or not had access to educational or professional theater opportunities have access, their lives can be greatly impacted for the better,” Taylor said.

The inside of Cherry Artspace includes seating designed to be moved around into any configuration. (Kaeleigh Banda)

In 2017, The Cherry Artspace was built, a performance venue that is adaptable for circus, traditional plays, theater in the round and more. In 2021, The Cherry added the Cherry Gallery and Camilla Studio. The studio is open to any group in need of a space to create art, which extends to Ithaca College students. They also have internships and work-study programs that are open to students. The work-study program allows students who qualify for Federal Work-Study to get paid to work with The Cherry on various tasks.

Since its founding, The Cherry has worked on creating English translations of international work. Their current production is a first-time U.S. English translation of an Italian play by playwright Pierre Lorenzo Pisano called “Carbon.The play runs from April 5 to 14. The Cherry is known for doing plays that are non-traditional and avant-garde. Jen Pearcy-Edwards, the general manager of The Cherry Arts, said this unique style of theater excites her.

“The work that’s coming from an international scope can not only reflect the outside world but can also help you look at your own very local environment in a new way,” Pearcy-Edwards said. 

In addition to their main works, The Cherry works with Ithaca Arthaus located directly above their gallery and studio. Ithaca Arthaus contains about 120 units of housing that are reserved for low-middle income families and 40 units reserved for unhoused people. The Cherry has “art hives” which are programs that are specifically for the Ithaca Arthaus residents to help build community and make change through art. Together, Ithaca Arthaus and The Cherry Arts are working toward making the arts accessible and positive. 

“The arts are important for healing and opening up conversation,” Pearcy-Edwards said. “We’ve got a lot of conflict in the world at the moment and I think the arts are able to transpose these things and make it possible for us to digest them.”

Kitchen Theatre Company performed the musical “tick, tick…BOOM!” by Jonathan Larson in October 2023, featuring many professional actors. (Courtesy of Rachel Philipson)

Kitchen Theatre Company is entering its 33rd season since its founding in 1991. The Kitchen is a professional theater company and venue located on West State Street in Ithaca that produces new and existing plays with a focus on newer works. 

Opening on May 8, the Kitchen is debuting “The Turnaway Play” by Lesley Lisa Greene, which is inspired by Diana Greene Foster’s research and book, “The Turnaway Study, that followed womens’ experiences with abortion and abortion access. Additionally, the Kitchen is hosting Ithaca College’s production of “The Liar” by David Ives from April 12–20. They also have opportunities for college students to volunteer at the theater and they plan to restart their fellowship program sometime in the future.

The Kitchen’s goal is to create an anti-racist, inclusive space. Emily Jackson, the incoming producing artistic director, emphasized their mission to be accessible.

“We are really interested in having a diverse body of work,” Jackson said. “Our plays are written by all kinds of people, men, women, LGBTQ+ across ethnicity and race, so we are very intentionally programming diverse shows so that our space can feel welcoming for a broader group of folks.

Their season runs primarily from September to May, but work is being done year round. They have auditions before and during their season that are open to any professional actor. Each season, they typically have around five productions and host many more. Compared to other professional theaters, the Kitchen is a smaller venue. However, Jackson said this is an advantage for them.

“We do character-driven plays that open our audience and our wider community to a greater dialogue with each other and with the art,” Jackson said. “[Our theater] is very intimate because we have only 98 seats, so we can really get to know folks who are in our space and make them feel welcome, heard and seen.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1375
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kaeleigh Banda, Assistant Photo Editor
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1375
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Ithacan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *