Marsha Hanna, Artistic Director of Human Race Theatre Company, Dies at 59

Obituaries   Marsha Hanna, Artistic Director of Human Race Theatre Company, Dies at 59
Marsha Hanna, the artistic director of The Human Race Theatre Company of Dayton, OH, died Jan. 3 from complications from esophageal cancer. She was 59.

She had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in spring 2010 and had surgery several months ago.

Born in Tiffin, OH, Ms. Hanna had been associated with The Human Race since its beginnings in 1986, and became the company’s artistic director  in 1990. She produced more than 100 plays for the theatre and directed dozens, including Angels in America: Parts I and II and Copenhagen.

Ms. Hanna and Human Race executive director Kevin Moore received the 2010 Ohio Governor’s Award for Arts Administration. The two knew each other from their student days at Bowling Green University in the 1970s, and, in 1978, along with future Human Race resident artist Scott Stoney, formed Dayton’s Illumination Theatre, which folded its resources into The Human Race in 1986.

Ms. Hanna has long been associated with Moore and Stoney. "The three of us have been called the triumvirate for a long time," says Stoney, "And that’s over. I’ve always considered her my directorial mentor. I will sorely miss my best friend."

Ms. Hanna also taught classes at numerous local colleges, and she was active in establishing cooperative programs with other arts organizations. Also an actor, she appeared in Dancing at Lughnasa, Mrs. Coney and The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Ms. Hanna is survived by her sister, Judith Smith of Tiffin, and nieces and nephews. Burial will be in Tiffin. A Dayton memorial service will be held at a later date.

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