A New Stage is Set at the Hangar Theatre

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hangar Theatre's
outdoor stage (Michael Memis/WRFI)
Ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hangar Theatre's outdoor stage (Michael Memis/WRFI)

The Hangar Theatre is finally re-opening to in-person performances after a year and a half without them. The Hangar celebrated it’s new outdoor theater with a blue ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday. 

There to celebrate were city officials, members of Tompkins Trust Company, and Mayor Svante Myrick.

Myrick thanked the theatre for their commitment and investment for this project, calling it a great idea to bring the arts outside because of COVID.

This week Governor Cuomo lifted most COVID restrictions for the state with 70% of the population having received at least their first dose of the COVID vaccine. Even so, Hangar Theatre Managing Director R.J. Lavine says the venue is playing it safe.

“We're not necessarily throwing open the doors,” Lavine said. “We're sort of like, okay, we're feeling it out and seeing how many people can we get in here safely so people feel comfortable.”

Seating is still socially distanced at the outdoor stage. The area will be frequently disinfected, and business is paperless to avoid unnecessary contact.

Though there are elaborate and very impressive outdoor sets, there are weather challenges for the outdoor stage. In the case of a sudden thunderstorm, Lavine said the show can be paused and people would be, “slotted into other shows.”

Overarching changes to the Hangar’s organizational policies were also announced at the ribbon cutting event. The Hangar says it will be adopting a lens  of anti-racism, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. 

“Everybody in the company this year is getting a workshop training in unconscious bias and challenging unconscious bias,” Lavine said. “We worked on our harassment, anti harassment, anti discrimination policy and made reporting systems very simplified for people.”

The Hangar Theatre will have 5 performances this summer outdoors. The first one, called The Realness, opens Friday.