Press Release

Flint Michigan’s Revitalized Capitol Theatre To Reopen as State-of-the-Art Performance Venue in Fall 2017

Flint, MI

Roster of Celebratory Community Programs to Welcome City Residents Back to Historic Building Beginning this Fall

This fall, the historic Capitol Theatre will once again open its doors to the Flint community, as a state-of-the-art performance venue presenting a diverse mix of programming including music, comedy, film, contemporary and modern dance, spoken word, and theater. In celebration of its reopening, the Theatre will welcome the public in a series of soft opening events and activities beginning in September, including film screenings, free performances by local groups, tours of the building, and more. The full season of programs officially launches after the fall’s soft opening and commissioning period and will be announced in the coming months. The revitalized Capitol Theatre will enrich and expand the robust arts and cultural resources in Flint, and will serve as an economic and cultural engine for the city with approximately 100 events of varying sizes projected per year that are expected to attract more than 60,000 visitors annually. 

“The Capitol Theatre is a symbol of the resilient spirit of Flint and we are so looking forward to once again filling its halls with vibrant performances and programming that welcome the community back to this beautiful and historic space,” said Jarret M. Haynes, Executive Director of The Whiting, one of the lead partners spearheading the Capitol Theatre project along with the not-for-profit Uptown Reinvestment Corporation. “We are excited to launch a new era of live entertainment within this architectural gem and serve generations to come.” 

The revitalization and restoration of the Capitol Theatre in downtown Flint began in July 2016, after it sat dormant for nearly two decades. The Theatre has long been a vital part of the city’s social and cultural fabric. First opened in 1928, it served as the center of arts and entertainment in Flint as a vaudeville house and movie palace. The most lavish of Michigan’s chain of Butterfield Theatres, the Theatre began to host concerts in the late 1970s, including performances by a range of popular musicians including Ray Charles, AC/DC, John Mellencamp, Green Day, Black Sabbath, and more before closing its doors in 1996. 

The restoration of the Capitol Theatre’s 1,600-seat building, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1985, reinterprets the Theatre’s original vibrancy while upgrading it to a state-of-the-art performing arts venue. The project preserves the original architect John Eberson’s signature atmospheric style, intended to mimic a Mediterranean courtyard with a ceiling evoking the open skies—enhanced by lighting effects that mimic transitions from sunset to dusk to the night sky—and decorative plasterwork and statuary throughout the theater, lobby, and interstitial spaces. The revitalization also includes the creation of an additional performance space on the lower level for small-scale, experimental workshops and performances and the renewal and refurbishment of 25,000 square feet of attached office and retail space within the Theatre’s building.

The operation of the Capitol Theatre will be managed as a nonprofit performing arts center alongside The Whiting Auditorium, in fulfillment of its mission to present and foster live performance and educational opportunities for the city and region’s residents. 

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Photo courtesy of Mike Naddeo Photography. © Mike Naddeo

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