The Shubert Theatre opened on Friday evening, December 11, 1914 with “The Belle of Bond Street.” From its very first season, the Shubert Theatre has been a performing arts center presenting plays, musicals, dance and a variety of solo performances. Since opening, the theater has played host to over 600 pre-Broadway tryouts, including over 300 world premieres and 50 American premieres. The totals are double that of any theater in New York City or any of the other try-out cities. While the numbers of Pre-Broadway productions alone are impressive, even more impressive are the quality and importance of the work that has been presented on its stage and the array of celebrated artists who have performed there. The Shubert was the site for the “birth” of many of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatest triumphs. Seven of their musicals had their premieres at the Shubert starting with their first collaboration, “Oklahoma!” and continuing with “Carousel”, “Allegro”, “South Pacific” with Mary Martin; “The King and I” with a young Yul Brynner; and their final musical, “The Sound of Music”.
The Shubert closed in 1976 and was threatened with destruction. Through the efforts of many the theater was saved. The interior of the theater was handsomely restored with particular care and attention given to historical accuracy. The Shubert, New Haven re-opened in December 1983.
Today, the Shubert is the heart of a thriving downtown neighborhood bustling with alluring restaurants, cafes, shops and museums and continues its role as a key economic driver for the community. The Shubert is a cultural centerpiece for New Haven and an economic engine for downtown growth, attracting more than 100,000 diverse audience members annually and generating an estimated $25 million in related revenue.
It is currently owned and operated by the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts, Inc. (CAPA) a not-for profit arts, education, and community institution serving the people of Connecticut and in particular the City of New Haven. CAPA’s management of the Shubert has produced unique economies of scale with shared back office support with “parent organization” CAPA-Columbus. With this support programming has been enhanced by the increased buying power that a nine-venue consortium offers. Centralized accounting, advertising production, and development offer the potential for cross-venue collaborations and cost savings. All the funds that CAPA (Connecticut) raises go to support the functions of the Shubert Theater.
Each season CAPA / Shubert Theatre present diverse programs that welcome the entire community. Presentations this season feature the National Tour build and launch of Matilda the Musical, Peter and the Starcatcher, White Christmas, and Million Dollar Quartet along with favorites Beauty and the Beast, Patti LuPone, Jim Brickman, Mary Mary, Broken Umbrella’s Seen Change, Comedian Demetri Martin and the return of New Haven Symphony.
Each year we expand our education and community outreach initiatives including our Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camp that will be entering its 4th year this summer. Additional programs include Art in Action, CAPA Community Connections, MOVIN’, master classes, student performances and more which continue to provide vital arts education resources for our community.
During the 2013-14 season the Shubert welcomed over 120,000 guests representing the full diversity of the region while “keeping the lights on” downtown for more than 100 nights. Since the re-opening of the Shubert in 1984, the theater has provided an economic impact of over $320 million with an increased direct impact of over $20 million per year (Quinnipiac University study).
The Shubert continuing to work on the Centennial Improvement Project which will ensure the vitality and success of this legendary theatre while continuing to provide the community with access to the performing arts. With this project the Shubert will become a multi-functional facility providing greater access to a variety of entertainment offerings and provide an additional resource for the growing arts community. This project will also help us to expand job opportunities including our youth jobs training programs along with our economic impact on the region.
Phase 1 of the project was completed in October, 2014 and in Phase 2 we would like to address the additional vital needs of the facility including:
By adding an additional performance space to the Shubert it will be fulfilling a great need in our community as per our Board of Director Chairman's remarks below.
CAPA has managed the legendary Shubert Theatre on behalf of the City of New Haven since July, 2001 and ownership of the theater was transferred to CAPA in December, 2013. We present diverse programs including ballet, Broadway, children’s programming, classical music, dance, jazz and light opera. Our education and outreach programs range from an in-school residency of our MOVIN’ program, to children’s programs and free tickets provided to low income New Haven residents. We also serve the arts community by providing production and administrative services, such as booking and producing the Summer Concerts on the Green and providing box office services for local arts organizations including the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. CAPA’s programs reach not only students but also seniors, families and groups who might otherwise be unable to attend live theater.
Each year CAPA’s presentations are designed to welcome, embrace and engage the entire community in this legendary theater.
Community involvement and enrichment: More than 100,000 patrons attended events at the Shubert over the past year. By offering diverse presentations, CAPA draws in people of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds.
Service to the arts community is a vital part of our mission, and we will continue to work closely with community groups who use our facilities, and will provide production support, collaborate on ticketing and other administrative services while providing a central downtown location for patrons. These partnerships provide significant savings to organizations including the New Haven Ballet, International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Yale School of Music
Broadening and diversifying our audience: CAPA strives to enlighten and engage the community through programs highlighting cultural and physical diversity. These productions give the community a chance to experience different cultures while making live theater accessible to a broader audience.
Education and Outreach Programs: The Shubert’s Education & Outreach programs include the MOVIN’, Summer Theater & Arts Camp, Art in Action, Student Performances as well as unique opportunities for artist visits and master classes that also serve as a resource for our partnership with Co-Op High School.
In 2010, CAPA entered into a partnership with the New Haven Board of Education to manage the theatrical spaces at the Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School located next to the Shubert. CAPA works extensively with the administration of Co-Op to create opportunities for the students including artist visits, master classes and technical theater training. With these and other opportunities it is our hope to build a core group of students who can serve as a workforce for community events that take place in their facilities. This will provide students with training they can take on to higher education programs and give them part-time job opportunities.
In addition, each year CAPA provides over 90 community organizations with 4,000 free tickets through our community outreach programs, providing access to performances for groups who might not have the financial resources to attend.
John FisherExecutive Director
As a member of the CAPA New Haven Board of Directors for the last seven years and the Chairman for the last 5, we are excited to embark on the next 100 years of the Shubert Theatre. CAPA has managed the historic theatre for 14 years and over this time this stewardship has fostered great partnerships with the City, State, private sector and the community. In December 2013, the City demonstrated this by transferring ownership of the theatre to CAPA.
As we continue the Centennial Improvement Project our goal is to make the Shubert a multi-functional performance arts facility that will fulfill a great need in our community as outlined by the EmcArts New Pathways Study we completed. Per the study results which included community input from over 50 key stakeholders the project will provide:
Continue the profound, positive economic impact that the Theatre has on non-arts-related businesses, drawing visitors to the city and enhancing the quality of life for current & future residents.
In the next decade, we see our cultural and economic environments being impacted by the following:
Continued challenges for our global economy
Opportunities for deep partnerships across cultural institutions
Multiple, local and large-scale development plans for downtown New Haven
The Shubert will play a leadership role in addressing these opportunities by diversifying our partners, creating a flexible multi-use space along with new job opportunities for our community both inside and outside the theatre. The proposed changes will also complement and add momentum to the on-going economic development in downtown New Haven, especially along College Street.
By diversifying the physical spaces and their uses, we will also diversify the Shubert Theatre’s sources of earned income through rentals and new activities.
The board is committed to these efforts and the potential this project has to create a support system for the arts within Greater New Haven. The strength of this plan is the Shubert Theatre itself. The theater has a history of its own and continues to be the pride of New Haven. Its restoration and renovation is a visible tribute to the arts and the Shubert Theatre as the premiere venue.
Kevin Burke Chairman of the CAPA Board of Directors
Patrons come from all cities and towns in the State of Connecticut to attend events at the Shubert Theatre. CAPA's programming directly serves the Greater New Haven area in particular the City of New Haven.
CAPA's most extensive arts education program is a residency program called MOVIN', now in its 18th year. Over an eight-week period, this program reaches more than 850 young people in 15-20 schools in the New Haven area. The program utilizes non-traditional dance techniques to teach MOVIN' students important life skills including communication and cooperation, while building self confidence, discipline and focus. Through teamwork and group problem solving exercises, participants explore alternative non-verbal methods of self-expression. Each MOVIN' program runs for two weeks for an hour and half after school each day. The program is concluded with a final presentation of the skills they learned before an audience of classmates, schoolmates, parents and teachers. Past participating schools include Truman School, Clemente Leadership Academy, Celentano Museum Academy, Wexler-Grant School, Betsy Ross Magnet School and more.
The MOVIN’ program has significant impact on enrollees, as the artists work with at-risk middle school students to develop valuable life skills through movement such as team-work and problem-solving. Students who complete the program serve as mentors to the new incoming students, helping the development of both groups. The motto of the participants in MOVIN’ at Truman School was “With your respect, with my confidence, with our communication, we gain trust!”
To date, more than 5,000 students and more than 500 teachers / administrators and parents have participated in the MOVIN’ program. In 2011, Truman School was our pilot school for brining the MOVIN’ program to a group of at-risk girls. We found some interesting differences in how the girls handled the program compared to the boys, including:
When the girls felt uncomfortable they still participated but giggled, when the boys felt this way they pulled back and acted out. We did not have as many discipline issues with the girls as we had with the boys giving the girls more time to complete tasks. Girls “attached” themselves more to the program and took it more seriously from the beginning. They were more emotional and open about their feelings. They expressed their gratitude and what they learned on their own accord without prompt.
The MOVIN’ program fills a great need in these students’ lives and we have seen the results in the responses we get back from them. This past year we had one of the MOVIN’ participants who went on to high school come back and speak with the girls. Her testimony was moving and included how much this program helped break her out of her shell and gave her the confidence to pursue opportunities outside of her neighborhood. She didn’t realize how much would be expected of her in high school and this program helped prepare her with new skills to help focus and communicate. Participants in the MOVIN' program learn skills they will need throughout their lives and we are working to build ways to monitor them as they continue into high school to track their growth outside of the program.
We work closely with the school administrators throughout the program and afterwards to see how the students are handling and applying the skills they learned. A couple of months after the initial two week program we will bring back the Pilobolus teachers to follow up with the students to work with them further and see how they are applying the lessons they learned. This gives us and administrators a tool to evaluate the program, to see which students took the most from the program and which ones need more attention. As we go through these follow up sessions we work with the administrators to make changes to the program as necessary.
Here are some quotes from participants and administrators in the program:
“I had a great time,” said a 7th grade participant. “I learned to be more aware of my surroundings and more focused.”
“It’s taught me how express my feelings better, and to stay focused. Oh, and to always say yes to new opportunities!” said an 8th grade participant.
Truman School Vice Principal Idris Trotman made the following comment about the students participating in the program:
“Some of these students don’t know anything beyond the 7 blocks they live in. By the Shubert bringing this program to them it shows them that they are worth it and they are special. It says to them that there is more out there and to reach for whatever they want.”
Partnering with local schools, non-profits and New Haven-based community and neighborhood service providers, this program makes free tickets available to disadvantaged children, senior citizens, families and teenagers. Over 1,500 free tickets are distributed to over 100 groups in the community to provide access to the arts for our most deserving residents. Free performances range from our Broadway events to concerts, ballets and operas.
“Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to promote ourWednesday’s Child and Adoption. Together we put smiles onthe faces of 75 children who have had a lot of disappointmentin their lives.”—Veronica Douglas, Director of Special Events,WTNH
“The children enjoyed the singing and dancing. I would liketo thank the Shubert for making it possible for my childrento witness such a great show and help develop theirimagination.”—Lillie Chambers, W.I.R.E. (Women in Recovery)
“I believe children should be exposed to other cultures earlyin life; it makes for better understanding of different people.Thank you very much!”—Carlota Williams, Village Grandparent
The Shubert Theater’s programs and services continue to impact the New Haven community both economically and socially.
-Since the re-opening of the Shubert in 1984, the theater has provided an economic impact of over $300 million. With a conservative estimate of direct annual impact of over $15 million (Quinnipiac University study).
-The Shubert is responsible for over 3,000 hotel room nights a year generating $385,000 in hotel bookings and nearly $70,000 in hotel taxes that is direct tax revenue for the state.
-Parking accounts for 30,000 cars a year and $255,000 in income for the city.
-Since 1984, the education and community outreach programs have served over 100,000 people comprised of at-risk students, family groups and senior citizens from the Greater New Haven area.
-Each year our community ticketing programs provide more than 90 New Haven based community organizations with over 1,600 free tickets.
-School residencies and student performances serve 3,000 students each year.
CAPA’s unique business model gives us multiple ways to gauge the effectiveness of our presentations & programming including:
Ticket SalesCAPA’s primary income source is generated by ticket sales to our presentations. Through the use of a number of analytic programs (i.e. Google Analytics) we monitor the effectiveness of individual marketing campaigns. With each ticket purchase we also track where our patrons learned about our programs and which media was the most effective in translating to ticket sales. This information along with the success of each show gives us the data we need to effectively make marketing and artistic related decisions for future programming.
Patron SurveysEach season we collect surveys which provide information about our patrons’ Shubert experience, buying habits and lifestyle. These surveys also feed the Quinnipiac University economic study that is conducted each year. All of this data provides us with ability to respond to social and economic changes in the market place and to help us effectively communicate and program for the community.
Community Focus GroupsDuring CAPA’s management of the Shubert Theater we have participated in a number of arts-wide as well as independent studies which have included community focus groups. These groups have consisted of one-to-one conversations to multiple groups of 12 or more. The information that we have garnered from these groups has been instrumental in helping us with our long-term programming goals.
Please see above long-term and short-term successes for examples of our presentations & programming success.
Art in Action is an exciting arts education initiative that will provide CAPA/Shubert Theater with an opportunity to create a new social and artistic collaboration with a group of students in the New Haven community. This program will help us to truly integrate the arts and the academic curriculum through this award-winning musical while allowing CAPA/Shubert Theater to share this exciting creative venture with a new generation of potential theatergoers. It will give students the opportunity to see how art can be taught and enacted together. Furthermore, it will give us the chance to interact with and connect to the community in a way we never have before.
In addition, this partnership supports an important aspect of CAPA’s mission by providing a resource for a segment of its education community while also engaging local professional artists.
There are several additional goals/outcomes we hope to gain with this project:1. Introduce theater and an exceptional musical to students.2. Enhance teacher’s ability to connect their curriculum to the arts.4. Provide access to a professional theatrical performance for students who would not otherwise be able to attend.5. Provide opportunities to strengthen the exiting partnerships between CAPA / Shubert Theater and the New Haven Public Schools.
The Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camp is a summer program for middle-school students who want to explore interests, potential, and opportunities in the arts. The camp offers students a chance to take in-depth classes in dance, music, theater, visual arts, and creative writing while in an arts rich environment. The camp is open to both New Haven and non-New Haven residents. Located at the adjacent Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, the Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camp is situated in the heart of downtown New Haven, surrounded by theaters, galleries, and museums. In addition to an arts atmosphere, the camp is staffed by a combination of professional artists, teaching artists, and emerging student-teacher-artists from Co-Op High School.
The camp also provides vital work training opportunities for high school students as teaching assistants and the technical theater apprenticeship program. These programs give over 20 students each year job training that they can take on to higher education institutions and job opportunities throughout the school year during rental events at Co-Op High School.
This program addresses both the arts education and job opportunity needs of the our youth, the community will be better off on multiple levels because all of the students are either learning about the arts or working while bettering themselves for their futures instead of being on the street or getting into trouble. Also, students who work are helping their families at home by either contributing to their family's earnings, or just by being able to afford things for themselves and take some of that burden off of their family resources.The opportunities this program offers will have a ripple effect for these students and our community not just today but for years to come as we are building a foundation for them to make positive decisions about their future, inspiring their dreams and career goals and encouraging them to learn both inside and outside the classroom.
As Executive Director of the Shubert Theatre, John Fisher is responsible for overseeing the management and operation of a legendary and historic theatrical landmark. Prior to the City of New Haven contracting CAPA to manage the Shubert, John was General Manager from 1997.
Nationally and working with CAPA’s international partners, John general manages CAPA’s touring productions which have included the North American tour of Tim Supple’s spectacular production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the production celebrated India’s multi-cultural heritage using seven languages. Past productions include Sir Peter Hall’s acclaimed productions of As You Like It and The Importance of Being Earnest. CAPA also produced for North America; Dublin’s Abbey Theatre’s 100th Anniversary production of Playboy of the Western World. Currently CAPA is touring the acclaimed production of Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker staring Jonathan Pryce from the Everyman Theater and the West End with engagements in Adelaide, Sam Francisco and BAM in New York.
Fisher has more than twenty-five years of experience in the arts, and an extensive background in theatrical production, operations, and facility management. Prior to coming to the Shubert, John directed eight Olympic villages for the Atlanta Olympic Games, serving nineteen hundred athletes and officials from ninety-one countries. He has also served as the General Manager for The Big Apple Circus, where he was responsible for all aspects of the production and the tour. He has worked on numerous national tours in stage and company management, and his early background is in technical theater.
Locally, John is a former commissioner and chairman of the Coliseum Authority for the City of New Haven for five years, and currently serves on the boards of the New Haven Ballet, and The Workforce Alliance, and is a member of both the Arts Industry Coalition, and the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. He is a Tony voting member of the Broadway League, and a member of Actors Equity Association. John was the recipient of the New Haven Arts Council’s 2002 Arts Award.
Mr. Fisher was a tenured member of the instructional staff at City College of the City University of New York, teaching stage management from 1979-1987. He is an alumnus of the University of Utah.
CAPA / Shubert Theatre partners and collaborates with numerous organizations throughout New Haven. Service to the arts community is a vital part of our mission, and we will continue to work closely with community groups who use our facilities, and will provide production support, collaborate on ticketing and other administrative services while providing a central downtown location for patrons. These partnerships provide significant savings to organizations including the New Haven Ballet, International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Yale School of Music.
In 2010, CAPA entered into a partnership with the New Haven Board of Education to manage the theatrical spaces at the Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School located next to the Shubert. The school has a state of the art facility that includes a 350-seat theater with balcony, orchestra pit, scene shop, black-box theater and video & music recording studios. CAPA works extensively with the administration of Co-Op to create opportunities for the students including artist visits, master classes and technical theater training. With these and other opportunities it is our hope to build a core group of students who can serve as a workforce for community events that take place in their facilities. This will provide students with training they can take on to higher education programs and give them part-time job opportunities.
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Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
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