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Hangar Theatre Lab Company Performance Fellowship and Online Application Announced

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The deadline to complete the application and submit all videos is March 31, 2022.

Hangar Theatre Lab Company Performance Fellowship and Online Application Announced

As the Hangar Theatre enters its 48th year as a nationally recognized summer-producing regional theatre, we are thrilled to announce that the program previously known as the Hangar Lab Company is undergoing an exciting and essential transformation. Programs that center experiential learning have long been central to the Hangar's mission.

"When I took the reins of the Hangar, back in 1982" shared former Hangar Artistic Director Bob Moss, "I said that any true regional theater ought to have a hand out to the next generation of theater artists." With this in mind, The Lab Company-which has existed as a tuition-based program providing theatrical experiences and educational opportunities for young artists since 1991-will become a compensated performance fellowship in summer 2022.

While the Hangar Lab program has been successful in creating a space for young artists to learn and explore, attendance has required a level of privilege that excludes many potential participants. As a 2021 Lab member observed in a program assessment survey, "[the] Hangar did an amazing job cultivating a safe and brave space." The newly minted Lab Company Performance Fellows, designed for college students and theatre artists transitioning into the professional world and selected through an entirely virtual application process, will receive immersive hands-on experience in a repertory environment supplemented by classes and workshops taught by career professionals, while receiving housing and a weekly stipend.

Hangar Lab Performance Fellows will spend the summer learning, rehearsing, and performing at and around the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY. Fellows will enhance their craft by engaging in a series of professional level rehearsal experiences, workshop explorations, classes, and performances-all led, directed, or taught by guest artists, Hangar staff, and a team of FutureNow Directing Fellows, selected in collaboration with the prestigious Drama League in New York City.

In 1989, former Hangar Executive Director Lisa Bushlow led the effort to develop and expand the Hangar's offerings for young artists and audiences, when the theatre produced its first full KIDDSTUFF season of plays and musicals specifically created for young audiences. Since that time, the field of TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) has proven to be one of the most innovative and forward thinking genres within the American theater.

The transformation from tuition-based program to paid fellowship is a huge leap forward both for the accessibility of the theatre to emerging performers and the quality of the Lab Company's work. "By eliminating the barrier of requiring actors to pay for their experience," Bushlow recently observed, "the Hangar will unite the very best national talent (actors, directors, designers) to learn through creating diverse, provocative theatre."

In programming the 2021 Hangar KIDDSTUFF series, the Hangar Theatre prioritized stories from writers and creative artists with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and centered people who have historically been excluded or marginalized in literature for young people, including People of the Global Majority and LGBTQIA+ characters. Post-show surveys-which aim to measure the qualitative success of production-revealed summer audiences appreciated this effort. One patron noted, "As a Mexican-American family, we were so surprised and delighted by the culturally accurate Mexican character, plus my daughter's favorite song (in Spanish)! We greatly appreciated the show's diversity and message."

"The most important change the Hangar can implement towards making this nationally recognized program more fair and accessible is to reimagine the Lab as a compensated performance fellowship," remarked current Artistic Director Shirley Serotsky. "I was a Lab Company member myself when I was in college. The experience shifted the course of my artistic career in a deeply meaningful way. I want as many theatre-makers as possible to have that opportunity." As a 2021 Lab member shared, "It was beautiful to be a part of and I'm so glad to have been a part of this journey."

The cohort of Performance Fellows will join the FutureNow Directing Fellows and Hangar Production and Design Fellows to create a company of innovative and creative emerging artists. Artistic connections forged during a Hangar summer can last a lifetime. "As an emerging director with a fellowship from the Drama League, I spent the summer of 1994 working with the Lab Company," former Hangar Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty, remembered. "It was a summer that changed my life. I was inspired by the work that the company created. Artists with whom I worked that summer became lifelong friends and colleagues."

The Hangar will remove the barriers currently in place that keep young artists from engaging in this brave and creative space.

Applications for the Lab Company Performance Fellowship are available at www.hangartheatre.org/education.

The deadline to complete the application and submit all videos is March 31, 2022. Artists who have completed the previous iteration of the Hangar Lab Company are welcome and encouraged to apply for the new performance fellowship.


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