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Elizabeth Williamson. (Photo by Liss Couch-Edwards.)

Geva Names Elizabeth Williamson Its New Artistic Director

Williamson, whose background is in directing, producing, and dramaturgy, will be the first woman to lead the Rochester company.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.: Geva Theatre Center has announced that Elizabeth Williamson will serve as the company’s new artistic director beginning in June. Williamson will also serve as co-CEO alongside executive director Christopher Mannelli. The announcement culminates a national search process that began immediately following artistic director Mark Cuddy’s announcement last June of his upcoming retirement.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, I am delighted to be welcoming Elizabeth Williamson as our next artistic director,” board chair Maggie Symington said in a statement. “Elizabeth will lead Geva into its sixth decade and beyond with a fresh perspective and innovative spirit.”

“I am thrilled to partner with Elizabeth as we go into our 50th anniversary season,” Mannelli said in a statement. “As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, I feel fortunate to have such an exceptional artist and leader joining this institution.”

Williamson, who will be the first woman to serve as artistic director of Geva, is a producer, director, adaptor, and dramaturg who has worked on and Off-Broadway and in London’s West End. She commissioned and served as dramaturg for Matthew López’s Tony and Olivier Award-winning play The Inheritance, was the creative producer, dramaturg, and co-director of Sarah Gancher’s Russian Troll Farm, and was the dramaturg of Robert Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s Tony Award-winning musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. She directed her own theatrical adaptation of Jane Eyre at Hartford Stage, where she served as the associate artistic director and director of new-play development from 2012 to 2020. Prior to Hartford Stage, Williamson served as associate artistic director and literary manager at Pioneer Theatre Company from 2008-2012.

“I’ve been an admirer of Geva for years and am honored by this opportunity to build on Mark Cuddy’s wonderful legacy at the company,” Williamson said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to leading Geva into its next chapter, with an emphasis on strengthening the company’s relationships in the communities in and around Rochester, building on its commitment to rigorous equity, diversity, and inclusion and anti-racist work, and continuing to bring extraordinary new theatrical productions from a broad array of brilliant, diverse, and groundbreaking artists to Geva.”

Geva Theatre Center claims to be the most well-attended regional theatre in New York State, serving as many as 160,000 patrons annually with world-class productions and extensive additional programming.

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