ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Hangar Theatre is pleased to announce that R.J. Lavine (she/her/hers) has been named Managing Director, effective January 11, 2021.
R.J. Lavine is an Ithaca native who returned to the area nine years ago with her husband, Daniel Graham and children, Wesley and Kestrel Graham-Lavine. Since 1996, she has served as a co-director for Helping Hands Summer Camp in Windsor, NY. Helping Hands is an overnight nature camp for neuro-atypical adults with developmental and ambulatory disabilities. Most recently, she has served as the Director of Development and Communications for the Kitchen Theatre Company since 2018. She was promoted from her prior role as the Manager of Growth and Giving this past July.
Lavine has also served as Volunteer Coordinator at the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg, and has served on the Boards of Trumansburg Joint Youth Commission and Trumansburg Community Nursery School. She has also volunteered with the Multicultural Resource Center, and co-founded the Affordable Housing Alliance in Trumansburg. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from American University, and has studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute through a SOS grant from Community Arts Partnership, and is a graduate of the Actors Workshop of Ithaca.
Lavine states, “Upon returning to Ithaca, I’ve worked as a performer and producer, forging several collaborative partnerships. As an administrator at the Kitchen Theatre Company for over two years, I have expanded my social network (locally and nationally) to include hundreds of artists, patrons, funders, organizations, and businesses. Myriad experiences spanning twenty five years in non-profit direct service, retail, living and working abroad, and attending an international boarding school have prepared me for the exciting and rewarding work of the Managing Director position”.
Lavine played an FBI agent in the 2019 Hangar Theatre production of You Can’t Take it With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, part of the Hangar’s 2019 Big Play Festival!. Other select local acting credits include R.C. in Bug (House of Ithaqua) and Glinda in The Wizard of Oz (Encore Players).
She was selected by a search committee made up of Hangar staff and board members, after an extensive search spanning from August to December of 2020. She is succeeding MaryBeth Bunge, who served as Managing Director from 2017-2020, and retired in April of 2020. Alfred Butler served as the Interim Managing Director throughout the search, co-leading the organization with Interim Artistic Director Shirley Serotsky. “R.J. brings incredible skill, intelligence, thoughtfulness, and life experience to this role,” said Serotsky. “I’m so excited to work side by side with her, creating art and building community, as we navigate the twists and turns of these unprecedented times.”
The Hangar Theatre is currently planning a full summer Mainstage season with one virtual experience, and four live outdoor productions. Patrons can help support the Hangar with a 2021 subscription at www.hangartheatre.org/subscriptions.