Front & Center: The Campaign For Geva

Campaign Overview

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Dynamic Facility
Creative Engine
Community Leader

Front & Center: The Campaign for Geva will transform Geva Theatre Center’s historic home, the former New York State Arsenal, into a dynamic world-class cultural asset that serves people from all over the country, provides exceptional arts and cultural programs, and contributes to the economic vibrancy of our region. Through major exterior and interior renovations, Geva will provide more opportunities to entertain, inspire, educate, engage and lead. The building in its current form has served Rochester well for over a generation, and these renovations will prepare it to serve and attract future generations.

Emotion defines memorable experiences. When you connect with a story on stage, you forge emotional bonds with the play and its characters, as well as with the artists and audience around you. Geva Theatre Center’s transformation will extend the reach of a captivating performance to the moment you enter the door. From a great meal featuring local wines and culinary treats to an experience that will engage all the senses, Geva’s renovation will bring the art of design and illusion together to create a thoroughly captivating experience where artists and patrons are at the center. Interweaving staff, artist and patron spaces, Geva will be a hub of contemporary community energy, showcasing artistry and innovation and fostering lasting relationships between first class artists and loyal patrons.

Founded in 1972, Geva Theatre Center has grown into an indispensable jewel of the region. Geva has educated and entertained millions of people, introduced hundreds of thousands of students to live theatre, developed tomorrow’s plays and artists, and helped transform downtown. As your theatre company, Geva remains steadfast in its commitment to artistic excellence, making theatre of a national standard right here in Rochester.

The Front & Center Campaign will create a first class facility for you to find the country’s top theatre experience and for artists and professional staff to work. A growing endowment will ensure Geva’s future as the leading performing arts facility in the region.

Campaign Goal: $10 Million

  • $8 million to fund building restoration, renovations and improvements
  • $2 million in artistic enhancement, education and facility endowment funds


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A Home For First Class Artists


Rendering of Education, Rehearsal and Conference Center

Education, Rehearsal and Conference Center
The front half of the building’s top floor will become a multi-use space to benefit students, educators, patrons, artists and staff. The current space suffers from a number of issues related to the age of the building, including deteriorating finishes, lack of soundproofing and failing equipment. The renovated space will be well equipped to offer the best learning experience for the children and youth we serve and an exceptional environment for creating national level theatre productions and events. The reconfiguration will establish a dynamic hub of creation, innovation and education, including the ability to expand in-house education programs and events.

  • Reception Area – A community resource and central gathering area. Guests will find an open area with views through the Education and Rehearsal Hall and library to the outside.
  • Henry Williams Library – A location for small meetings, classes and events. The room will feature audio/visual technology to facilitate long-distance learning and artistic collaboration.
  • Lounge – The central hub, this open kitchen and lounge will be a gathering place for artists, educators, staff and patrons. With views directly into the Education and Rehearsal Hall, it will serve as the green room and observation area for the Hall, as well as a food preparation area for special events.
  • Stage Management Office – Important support space for the rehearsal process.
  • Education and Rehearsal Hall – A multi-use, flexible space for hosting educational offerings, rehearsals, staged readings and special events. The room will feature a lighting grid, sound system and wall coverings that will allow it to transform from classroom to performance or event space in minutes.

Dressing Rooms & Green Rooms
Located in the basement, Geva’s Dressing Rooms and Green Rooms serve over 200 professional performers and artists each season. Much-needed improvements include replacing the bathrooms and showers, improving the layout and amenities to better serve Geva’s first-class performers, and updating the dressing rooms. In addition, this project will improve the adjoining wardrobe facilities to allow for the proper care and maintenance of Geva’s costumes and wigs, which are handmade right here in Rochester for each production. Quality artist support spaces will help give Geva a competitive advantage in recruiting the country’s top artists and performers.

New Artist Housing in Former Merkel Donahue Complex

Artist Housing
Located only 150 steps from Geva Theatre Center, Geva is partnering to develop and furnish 11 studio loft apartments, each averaging 500 square feet, to house its guest artists. The redeveloped building will highlight the existing architectural features of the building and also include modern, loft-style design with exposed brick, soaring ceilings and windows, access to a rooftop deck, polished concrete floors, and on-site laundry. Each unit must be fully furnished. Per its collective bargaining agreement, Geva must provide its actors with housing while they are in residence for the nine weeks of rehearsals and performances.

Enhanced Audience Experience

Rendering of the new warm, cozy and engaging Lobby.


Rendering of the larger and centralized bar area.

Lobby Renovation
The lobby is the central gathering place and amenity for audiences before and after a performance and at intermission. Increasingly, these spaces are engaging environments for social interaction between audience members, a critical element of the theatrical experience. The renovated lobby will be a warm and cozy environment, featuring wood, brick and texture that showcases the spectacular verticality, volume and historic character of the space. Last updated in the 1980’s, Geva’s lobby and café spaces require significant renovations to serve the needs of the next generation of theatergoers. Updated materials and furnishings will add dramatic visual interest. Audience amenities and the overall patron experience are critical elements of audience development in the 21st century.

Theatre Refurbishment

Geva’s performance spaces are praised for their intimacy and warm aesthetic. Improvements to these spaces will update finishes after 30 years of wear and tear, while maintaining the characteristics we have come to know and love.

  • New seating to enhance patron comfort and aesthetics
  • Updated finishes to freshen and liven the spaces
  • Enhanced theatre lighting
  • Additional acoustical enhancement
  • Elevator access to the Mainstage balcony

Rendering of the new Entertainment Suites used for event space that will accommodate donor receptions, business meetings, group outings, and community rentals for 20-75 people.

Entertainment Suites

The Patron Lounge will be a new, flexible event space located on the balcony level.
This comfortable, well-appointed lounge will feature a bar and private restrooms, as well as sliding glass doors to provide visual and acoustic privacy. The sub-dividable event space will accommodate donor receptions, business meetings, group outings, and community rentals for 20-75 people. This new patron amenity will increase the square footage and seating capacity of the lobby, restrooms and event spaces, while providing a valuable perk and thank you for Geva supporters.

Nurturing Support and Service

Administrative Offices
Artist and patron service are supported by a full-time professional staff of 50 administrators, technicians and resident artists. To recruit and retain top talent, Geva’s office spaces will undergo improvements to encourage collaboration, creativity, efficiency and professionalism.

  • Upgraded office area to provide better workspace
  • Updated design to attract and retain top talent
  • Collaborative space to facilitate the creative process
  • Efficient and open concept work spaces to maximize employee comfort

Endowed Funds

The Front & Center Campaign will increase endowment funds by at least $2 million to help secure Geva’s future as the premier producing theatre in the region. Artistic enhancement, education and facility endowment funds will generate interest, dividends and investment income to ensure long-term fiscal health and stability. Comparable regional theatres have an average endowment of approximately $8 million. Geva Theatre Center currently has approximately $1.8 million in endowment assets, which are overseen by the Board of Trustees and managed by The Community Foundation.

Completed Renovations and Improvements

Completed Projects
Since the initial acquisition and renovation of the Arsenal in 1985, Geva has welcomed over four million theatergoers. This constant wear and tear coupled with nearly 30 years of Rochester weather created significant damage to the roof, masonry, windows and cornices. To date, the Front & Center Campaign has funded the following much needed repairs and improvements:

  • Improved Box Office and Restrooms (2010)
  • Roof Replacement (2010)
  • Production Equipment Enhancements (2010)
  • Masonry Restoration (2011)
  • WiNdow & Door Restoration/Replacement (2012)
  • Acoustical Enhancements (2013)
  • Accessibility Improvements (2013)
  • HVAC Replacement – Phase I (2013) and II (2014)

Seat Campaign

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Create a Legacy

Geva’s performance spaces are praised for their intimacy and warm aesthetic. As part of Front & Center: The Campaign for Geva, improvements to the Wilson Mainstage and Fielding Nextstage will repair and update the theatres’ finishes and replace seating after 30 years of wear and tear, while maintaining the characteristics audiences have come to know and love.

Be a part of Geva history, and participate in Geva’s Front & Center Seat Campaign. With a pledge of $5,000 per seat ($1,000/year for 5 years), you can play a leading role in creating a first class facility for students, artists, audiences and your community to experience theatrical excellence. In recognition of your support, a plaque bearing your name or someone you choose to honor or memorialize will grace one of the theatre’s seats.

Seat Holder Benefits:

  • Recognition on seat plaque for 15 years
  • Contributions are 100% tax-deductible

To secure a seat please call (585) 420-2013.

Naming Opportunities

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Permanently Endowed Positions

Artistic Director: $2 million
Executive Director: $1 million
Education Director: $500,000
Literary Director: $500,000
Guest Director: $500,000

Permanently Endowed Artistic Or Program Funds

Musical Theatre Fund: $1 million
Classical Theatre Fund: $1 million
World Premiere Fund: $1 million
Diversity Fund: $1 million
Production Design Fund: $1 million
Education Fund: $1 million
Student Matinee Fund: $500,000
Prologue Fund: $500,000
Magic in the Making Fund: $500,000
New Play Development Program Fund: $500,000


Entry Portico/Theatre Marquee: $250,000 (25-year recognition)
Clinton and Woodbury Digital Marquee: $150,000 (5-year recognition)


Box Office: $500,000 (25-year recognition)
Café: $500,000 (25-year recognition)
Entry Vestibule: $250,000 (25-year recognition)
Artistic Company Lobby Display: $250,000 (10-year recognition)
Grand Staircase: $250,000 (25-year recognition)
Kitchen: $150,000 (15-year recognition)
Women’s Lobby Rest Room: $100,000 (20-year recognition)
Men’s Lobby Rest Room: $100,000 (20-year recognition)

Patron Lounge and Entertainment Suites

Patron Lounge Suite (1): $75,000 (15-year recognition)
Patron Lounge Restrooms (2): $50,000 (20-year recognition)
Lounge Level Elevator Lobby: $50,000 (15-year recognition)


Mainstage Balcony: $500,000 (25-year recognition)
Mainstage Seats: $5,000 (15-year recognition)
Nextstage Seats: $5,000 (15-year recognition)

Education, Rehearsal and Conference Center: $250,000 (25-year recognition)


Actor Facilities

Actor Apartments (11): $50,000 each (10-year recognition)
Dressing Rooms (4): $30,000 each (10-year recognition)
Actor Lavatories/Showers (3): $25,000 each (10-year recognition)

Production Facilities

Costume Shop: $100,000 (25-year recognition)
Lighting and Sound Studio: $100,000 (25-year recognition)
Stage Automation/Trap Room: $50,000 (15-year recognition)
Control Booths (2): $30,000 each (10-year recognition)
Wardrobe Maintenance Rooms (2): $25,000 (10-year recognition)
Catwalks (6): $25,000 (10-year recognition)

Administrative Offices (2nd floor): $150,000 (25-year recognition)

Executive Offices (2): $50,000 (15-year recognition)
Administration Offices (Mezzanine): $100,000 (25-year recognition)

For more information or to secure your naming opportunity, please call or email
Emily Marullo, Development Manager at (585) 420-2013 or

Ways to Give

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Outright Gifts and Campaign Commitments

Gifts to the campaign can be pledged over up to five years. Commitments can be fulfilled by check or credit card via mail or online. Visit www. and click “Donate” or call (585) 420-2013.

Matching Gifts

More than 7, 700 employers match their employees’ gifts to charitable organizations. In this way, it’s possible to double, sometimes even triple, the value of your gift. To see if your employer matches charitable donations, contact your personnel office.

Transfer Securities

Securities may be given as campaign gifts at their present market value. Transferring securities can allow you to avoid capital-gain taxation and receive an income tax deduction based on fair market value. The following information is required by your broker to make a transfer:

Broker: Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., 211 Main Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
DTC Clearing: 0164
FBO: Geva Theatre Center
Account Number: 6251-4435

Please notify Geva Theatre Center when you intend to make a gift of securities so there is no delay in crediting and acknowledging your gift. For more information or questions, please call (585) 420-2013.

Bequests and Other Estate Gifts

Charitable bequests, annuities and trusts are meaningful ways to make a campaign gift of lasting value. Such provisions can be structured to fit your personal, family and financial needs. When designating any type of planned gift, it is important to use our full legal name: Geva Theatre Center, Inc., EIN: 23-7202906. For more information, please call (585) 420-2013.