Geva Theatre Center announces new executive director 

click to enlarge James Haskins will begin as executive director of Geva Theatre Center in mid-January. - PHOTO PROVIDED.
  • James Haskins will begin as executive director of Geva Theatre Center in mid-January.
Following a national search for a new executive director to replace Christopher Mannelli, Geva Theatre Center announced Wednesday that James Haskins would assume the role in mid-January.

Haskins comes to Geva from the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where he served as managing director. Prior to that, he was managing director of The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia in partnership with Founding Artistic Director Blanka Zizka for 12 years.

"I am honored to join Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson, the board, and staff of Geva Theatre as its new executive director, and look forward to immersing myself into the Rochester community, where I seek to foster a culture that values the joy of live performance,” Haskins stated in a press release from Geva.

Haskins holds an MFA from the University of Washington and a BA from The College of Wooster in Ohio. He began his work in theater administration at Circle Repertory Company and went on to work with a variety of theaters in New York and Seattle, most notably the Seattle Group Theatre. Upon moving to Philadelphia, he first worked as managing director of InterAct Theatre Company, while also serving on the board of the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia as chair of the Barrymore Awards Oversight Committee. He subsequently moved into the executive director position of the Theatre Alliance before joining the Wilma.

Following the pandemic shutdown, Haskins joined committees of the Minnesota Arts and Culture Coalition and the Professional Non-profit Theatre Coalition to help build support and funding for arts and culture.

“I’m so delighted to have James bringing his impressive experience and expertise to Geva and can’t wait to partner with him as we head into the company’s second fifty years,” said Geva's Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson.

In October 2023, Geva's previous executive director, Christopher Mannelli, departed Rochester after eight years to begin a new role as executive director for The Huntington in Boston.

Mannelli oversaw the completion of the $10 million “Front and Center” campaign, which brought renovations to Geva’s lobby, Wilson Theater, and other aspects of the facility, and helped preside over the company’s anti-racist initiative, which began in 2020 to promote equity and inclusion in Geva’s programming.

Leah Stacy is CITY's editor. She can be reached at [email protected].
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