Running to Places Theatre Company incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in September 2008. The mission of providing opportunities for middle and high school students to create great theatre while obtaining life skills and strengthening our community continued to be refined as we continued putting up six fully staged productions each year for our second through fourth seasons.
In our third year, we expanded to include “R2P2” projects—student-directed productions and projects. The first such project was “The Last Five Years,” directed by Nathan Hilgartner and music directed by Jeremy Pletter (now Resident Music Director) as part of a credit-bearing student project for their studies at Ithaca High School. The show ran at Risley Theatre at Cornell University. We also began a collaboration with Shakespeare in the Basement, providing an umbrella under which they could continue to rehearse and perform in Ithaca City School District spaces with them serving as a show sponsor for one of our shows each season.
The Last Five Years
We consider it a milestone that with this and other projects, such as Viva La Femme and Sing Out for Haiti, our student company members were fundraising and sponsoring shows for their own theatre company and other worthwhile causes.
The 2011 season brought about much change. We added the rental of a scene shop in which to build and paint our sets, as well as store our considerable costume and props stock. R2P2 expanded programming to include workshops in dance and stage combat. We also performed for the first time at Hangar Theatre with a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as regularly appearing at the State Theatre of Ithaca.
Our fifth season felt significant to us from the start, knowing that surviving the first five years is an important milestone for any theatre company. We enjoyed holding all five of our mainstage shows at either the State or Hangar Theatres.
In 2013, after years of running to various places for rehearsals and office space, we were delighted to move into our first real home at the Just Be Cause Center for Not-for-Profit Development (1013 West State/MLK Jr. St. in Ithaca).
Created by Jerry Dietz to honor the memory of his late wife Judy, the Center has provided R2P with beautiful office space (that doubles as a bustling hangout space for teens during rehearsals) and two rehearsal rooms, including a dance studio with a sprung floor and a full wall of mirrors – a tool we had never, ever had before!
Beginning with the 2015 season, R2P as an organization rededicated itself to its founding principle of universal accessibility to all of our community's youth by eliminating any financial obligation for participation. This means that any interested young person can be in shows and share in the R2P experience FREE of any charge. If you believe that R2P should continue to remain open to all, please consider making a donation to support us.
In 2018, we began a journey to create a home to call our very own, and have been working to transform the original abandoned movie theaters at the Ithaca Mall into a space where we could house all of our operations under one roof. This project has gotten stalled due to unanticipated issues with the facility – and then the pandemic. While we may need to shift our dream into another direction to finally find a permanent home, we have not given up hope.
Theatre brings people together in unique and unexpected ways. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Founder / Artistic Director / Resident Director
Joey grew up doing community theatre in a company that was surely the spiritual ancestor of Running to Places. He founded R2P in 2007 as a way to bring together the many passionate and talented young people of this area so they could create theatre, develop life skills, and make some of the best friendships of their lives – much as he did when he was young. He has been teaching, acting in, and directing theatre for young people throughout Tompkins County since 1993, and received his BFA in Acting from Ithaca College in 1996. Over the years, he has directed musicals and plays at Ithaca and Dryden High Schools; Dryden, Boynton, and DeWitt Middle Schools; the Northern Lights Learning Center; and the Hangar Theatre’s Kiddstuff series. Joey has taught acting at Ithaca College, Cornell, SUNY Cortland, Hangar Theatre’s Next Generation program, and the Ithaca Youth Bureau. As an actor, he has appeared in many productions with the Kitchen Theatre Company, most recently in Peter and the Starcatcher as Mrs. Bumbrake, Teacher, and Mutey.