Engagement at Geva

Engagement at Geva Theatre’s overarching objective is to connect more people and organizations with the art presented on its stages. To build more connected relationships with existing patrons and partners. To build new and meaningful relationships with people and organizations with whom we have traditionally had no or little connectivity, the sticky kind of connectivity that endures.

Leading these initiatives is Rachel Y. DeGuzman, Geva’s Director of Engagement.


Geva Insights Logo red

Geva Insights is a series of post-performance conversations with thought leaders, experts, and members of the community who contextualize or provoke more in-depth consideration of the themes inherent to each play in Geva’s 50th season. These unscripted, unrehearsed chats are produced and hosted by Geva’s Engagement department.

Coming Up Next:

Guest: Dr. Elizabeth Johnston
Hosted by: Rachel Y. DeGuzman

TUESDAY, MAY 16, following the performance of
Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Elizabeth Johnston


Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose (she/her) is a Rochester-based scholar noted for her cross-disciplinary contributions to the fields of Eighteenth-Century Studies, Romanticism, Gender Studies, and Popular Culture. With an academic and creative focus on literary and cultural representations of female rivalry, maternity, monstrosity, and gender-based violence, her writing appears in journals like The Atlantic, Women Studies Quarterly, and Feminist Formations, as well as in edited collections such as Bad Girls and Transgressive Women in Popular Television, Fiction, and Film (Palgrave, 2017), The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge, 2019), and Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: Addressing Gender-Based Violence in the Classroom (Emerald,2022). A Professor at Monroe Community College since 2003, Elizabeth holds a PhD in English Literature from West Virginia University and teaches courses in British Literature, Women’s Writing, Women in Popular Culture, and Girls Studies. For over a decade, she has also taught writing therapy classes at the Rochester Breast Cancer Coalition. She is the recipient of several teaching awards, including The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014) and The SUNY Traveling Lecturer Award (2017), the latter of which took her to Russia to guest-lecture on Medusa and Barbie at St. Petersburg State University and Novgorod University. Winner of the 2021 Rattle Chapbook Poetry Prize, she is currently at work on a full-length memoir about growing up in the evangelical church. Elizabeth is a founding member of the four-woman group Straw Mat Writers and lives in Rochester with her husband, two daughters, and four rescue animals.

See all of our Insights conversations from this past season on our YouTube page.

Mondays at Geva

The stages are dark on Monday evenings at Geva, so the art and action shift to the lobby and café where brilliant local visual artists, performers, musicians, and speakers broaden our consideration of the onstage productions. Geva Theatre invites the community to join us for a series of art openings and to party for a couple of hours each month!

Stay tuned for details about upcoming Mondays at Geva events happening during our 23/24 Season!

2023 Recipients

Dangerous Signs

Dr. David Anderson, Sankofa

Shawn Dunwoody

Tonia Loran-Galban (Akwesasne Mohawk, Bear Clan)

The Essie Calhoun Diversity in the Arts Award recognizes that art allows for the expression of truth and beliefs, and helps us gain an understanding of one another and the world. It is presented annually by Geva Theatre Center to individuals and organizations who embody these values in their work.

Out of The Rehearsal Hall

“Out of the Rehearsal Hall” takes a deep dive into the theatrical process, spotlighting special guests whose areas of expertise span the full range of artistic disciplines that bring theatre to life at Geva. Actors, playwrights, designers, composers, choreographers and more. In this podcast series, we explore it all.

Sunday Salon

Following every second and fourth Sunday of our Wilson Stage productions, Geva presents a special live talkback with some of the actors from the show. This is a free, moderated discussion where the audience may ask questions.

Season 50 Salon Sundays:

Ain’t Misbehavin’ 
January 29 & February 12

Russian Troll Farm
March 12 & March 26

And So We Walked
April 16

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
May 21 & June 4

Actors Madeleine Lambert and Cedric Mays with Geva Associate Director of Education, Lara Rhyner.

Meet Rachel

Rachel DeGuzman

Director of Engagement

Rachel DeGuzman comes to Geva Theatre Center with more than 20 years of experience in the arts and community engagement/activation. Her achievements have earned her a number of awards, including the 2016 Essie Calhoun Diversity in the Arts Award, presented by Geva. She was also honored as one of the accomplished leaders featured in Rochester Museum and Science Center’s recent exhibition, “The Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World.”

In addition to her work at Geva, Rachel is also the founder and executive director of 21st Century Arts Inc. and is the managing curator of the community-rooted arts space, The Black House.

DeGuzman’s past positions include director of advancement and external relations at Rochester City Ballet, marketing and publicity manager at Nazareth College Arts Center, director of development and marketing at The Commission Project, and director of development at Garth Fagan Dance. Rachel currently serves on the board of Visual Studies Workshop (VSW). Her past board positions include the Women’s Council: A Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Affiliate, William Warfield Scholarship Fund, Greentopia, and Rochester City Ballet, among others. She has worked with Visit Rochester, Janklow Arts Leadership Program at Syracuse University, the Avenue Black Box Theatre, Artists Co-creating Real Equity/PISAB, and other local and national organizations to create opportunities and foster greater equity in the community at large and the arts and culture sector, in particular.

It’s no secret that the programming at Geva Theatre Center is evolving with the rest of the nonprofit theater world to begin to reflect the authentic creative expressions of more people, from multiple perspectives. As director of engagement programs, I ask myself, everyday, “How can engagement programs at Geva reflect the art on the stage and a strategic shift in vision and mission as well as contribute to building the meaningful relationships that are necessary to achieve equity and live up to our organizations anti-racism commitment?”

– Rachel