Representatives at Geva Theatre Center announced at a Thursday morning press conference that the organization has publicly launched a $10 million capital campaign. About $8 million toward the $10 million has already been raised since the campaign entered a quiet phase of fundraising in 2009. Front & Center: The Campaign for Geva seeks to transform Geva through major exterior and interior renovations. Funds raised have so far been used to make crucial repairs and upgrades to the historic building, which was formerly the New York State Arsenal, Rochester Convention Hall, and the Social Welfare Department before housing Geva since 1985.
"The goal of Front & Center: The Campaign for Geva is to transform Geva Theatre Center's historic home into a world class, dynamic, 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," said Tom Parrish, Geva's Executive Director. "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."
Through the past four years, Geva has completed renovations to enhance the entertainment experience and comfort of the audience, and have included improving the box office and restrooms, the replacement of the roof and masonry restoration, production equipment and acoustical enhancements, window and door restoration and replacements, two phases of HVAC replacement, and improvements in accessibility for patrons who use wheelchairs.
Projected renovations to come will include a transformation of the lobby, which will include display areas to showcase costumes and artifacts; a streamlined, larger, centralized bar area; an open concept kitchen where patrons can view the chef's process as an added theatrical element; and additional seating in intimate and larger configurations.
The theatre itself will be refurbished with newer, more comfortable seating, enhanced lighting and acoustics, and elevator access to the Mainstage balcony. Further enhancements include the addition of a balcony level patron lounge in the lobby, rentable entertainment suites, and upgraded administrative offices. Geva also projects an increase in artistic enhancement, education, and facility endowment funds by at least $2 million.