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.
Over the past 15 years the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) has successfully managed the Shubert Theatre while expanding community programming and services. On December 11, 2013 the City of New Haven demonstrated the success of this organization both in the management of the theater and the community impact it provides by transferring ownership of theater to CAPA. With this transfer the City was confident the CAPA Board and Staff will continue to grow the vital resources this legendary theater provides to the community both economically and socially. Since 2001, CAPA has established numerous partnerships with organizations both in public and private sectors.
During the 2014-15 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 $340 million with an increased direct impact of over $20 million per year (Quinnipiac University study).
Our Education and Outreach programs cover a wide range of activities including in-school and after-school programs (Art in Action, STOMP Workshops, MOVIN’, Kinky Boots GSA Program), a girl scout patch program (2nd year), community impact events (Family Appreciation Events for Foster, Adoptive and Reunified Families and Open Houses), youth job training programs (technical theater and teaching assisting in the arts), summer camp and free community tickets to those who might not otherwise be able to experience live theater. This year our programs are directly serving over 3,300 members of our community, an increase of almost from 500 from 2014-15.
The Shubert is working to launch a 2025 Campaign that will help provide the necessary funding to address the specific operating needs of the theatre as well as expressed needs of community arts groups. The two main goals of the campaign are:
-Complete Necessary Capital Upgrades & Repairs as outlined in the Shubert Centennial Plan including the addition of a Flexible Performance Space creating a multi-functional Performing Arts Center along with greater economic impact for the region.
-Establishing an Endowment for the Shubert to create financial stability for generations to come.
The physical facility renovations include:
-Establishing a Second Multi-Functional Space in the current mezzanine lobby footprint that will - Provide the Region greater Economic Impact, Create New Jobs including our Youth Job Training Program, Expand Programming Options and Create New Opportunities for local Theater and Community Groups, increasing the economic and job creation impact
-Update the aging façade that is over 33 years old
-Reconfiguring the lobby spaces to better serve the public and community needs
-Repointing the exterior brick work which has not been addressed in 100 years.
On behalf of the Shubert administration and production staff, Board of Directors and our “Shubert Star” volunteers, we are proud to be charged with the stewardship of the legendary Shubert Theatre.
It was back on December 11, 1914, that the Shubert opened its doors and the curtain rose for the first production. Since then, the theatre has earned the title “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits” by hosting an incredible number of pre-Broadway tryouts and World and American Premieres including such classics as “My Fair Lady” with Julie Andrews, “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Marlon Brando, and “The King and I” with Yul Brynner to name just a few.
Today, the Shubert Theatre is owned and operated by CAPA, a Connecticut Not-For-Profit Organization and one of America’s most respected theatre managers and producers. As a leading arts organization in New Haven, CAPA and the Shubert continue to engage, educate and entertain our community by providing excited and unique theatrical, musical and other entertainment and educational opportunities.
CAPA is honored to be the owner of this historic theatre and we have achieved many successes in keeping the Shubert and its programs vital and thriving. With generous support from corporations, foundations and especially you, our valued donors, we have been able to keep the lights burning brightly.
With its proud history and continued bright future, this theatre belongs to the community it serves. We will strive to make you proud to be here with us as we continue to create a pathway that will ensure the vitality and sustainability of this theater while continuing New Haven’s rich history as a destination for the arts.
Thank you for your continued support,
John Fisher Executive Director
We envision a vibrant force for the performing arts in New Haven and Connecticut that will also be an economic cornerstone and placemaker for our neighborhood. In order to achieve our goals, we will bring together partners from the public, private and the community sectors to rejuvenate the theatre and the streetscape by addressing significant deferred maintenance and upgrades to this century old building.
The Shubert 2025 Campaign is the pathway to ensure the vitality and success of this legendary theatre while continuing New Haven’s rich history as a destination for the arts.
The 2025 Campaign will raise the critical funds needed to:
- Serve the evolving needs of the community by creating a dynamic and multi-functional performing arts center.
- Continue and expand the positive economic impact the theatre has on local businesses, drawing visitors to the city and enhancing the quality of life for current and future residents.
- Add vibrant new spaces and resources for the growing arts community.
- Create financial stability by establishing an endowment that will continue to provide for the theatre for generations to come.
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.
We hope you will join us as we continue these efforts and consider making a contribution to support this campaign.
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.
Partnering with local schools, non-profits and New Haven-based community and neighborhood service providers, this program makes free tickets available to underserved youth, senior citizens, and families.
Over 1,500 free tickets are distributed each year to over 100 groups in the New Haven community to provide access to the performing arts to those who might not otherwise be able to attend. Performances include Broadway events, concerts, ballets and operas.
“I think it is incredible that the Shubert makes these types of opportunities available for community members/non-profits. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to have fun night out with some women from the community who never would have had the opportunity to join in if not for these free tickets… Many thanks to those who have contributed towards making this program a reality. You no idea how much this experience meant…” – All Our Kin (CCC Ticket Recipient)
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.
Now in its 4th year, it addresses the needs of our community while introducing them to a Broadway musical. This gives young people the opportunity to explore the show’s themes through community action programming. This year we have multiple Art in Action Projects including:
- Kinky Boots: You Change the World When You Change Your Mind – Gay/Straight Alliance Workshop Project
- STOMP In-Classroom Workshops that reached over 800 New Haven students
- On-going Library Workshops for our Children’s Series at New Haven Public Libraries
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.
“Thank you for coming to Fair Haven today! I can tell the students thoroughly enjoyed your program. A few students came up to me afterwards to tell me how much fun they had. I too was inspired to incorporate those activities into my future lessons. We look forward to working together again in the future. “ - Michael McGinley, STOMP Workshop
Each summer we host over 100 students from around the region for our Summer Theater and Arts Camp at the Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School (one block from the Shubert). This camp gives rising middle-school students the opportunity to explore a wide range of art disciplines along with a Musical Theater program. This summer, campers will be performing Annie Jr. and Peter Pan Jr.
This innovative program gives students the opportunity to pursue the arts over the summer through a range of different classes while giving them a head start on what they’d like to pursue in high school. Through the generosity of the Shubert’s Education supporters we are able to provide financial aid for local students who might not otherwise be able to experience this camp.
Middle school students who participate in camp return year after year and even want to attend or work for us as teaching assistants when they get to high school. Our musical theater programs sell out each year and we have worked to accommodate as many campers as possible in this program.
Each season we host numerous Community Impact Events including our annual Holiday Open House and this year the addition of a Family Appreciation Event in conjunction with the presentation of Annie. We will be hosting over 25 families from New Haven who have children who are adopted, foster or have been reunified with their family.
Our Holiday Open House reaches thousands of members of our community and provides them a day of FREE activities including crafts, face painting, movie showings, photos with Santa and more!
As part of each program we conduct there is a post session survey for participants. This survey will be is customized to each program and asks direct questions about the participant in correlation with what the project addresses. This survey will give us quantitative data about the experience each participant had during the program and the data from all the surveys will collectively demonstrate the impact this program has/will have on our community.
“Our families had a wonderful time. One of our boys said “I really liked meeting the Elders! They have so much wisdom!!” The children were busy singing throughout and obviously when the children were on the stage, they were fully engrossed. A couple of them even got to meet the Girls at the side door afterwards and get their autographs!!” -Randi Rubin Rodriguez with ‘r Kids Family Center
Each year CAPA / Shubert provides two youth job training programs to local students:
Technical Theater Apprentices
Over the course of four weeks high schools students are taught all aspects of theater production including lighting, sound and other related backstage operations. Upon completion the students are then employed by CAPA to provide technical support at Co-Op’s theater facilities throughout the school year and other support positions at the Shubert.
Teaching Assistants in the Arts
During our Summer Camp program we hire high school students to work as teaching assistants and learn vital skills and resources in classroom management and curriculum development. Both groups of students will be able to carry on their training to higher education institutions and industry apprenticeships.
This program addresses job opportunity needs of our local youth and the community will be better off on multiple levels because the students are 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.
It is immeasurable the potential future outcomes a positive work and skill building experience can have on a student.
My name is Terrence Dowdye, and I am currently a junior at the University of New Haven. I attended Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, and while I was attending the school the Shubert Theater was a huge asset to have right next to building. The theater provided a lot of different theater equipment, and stagehands to help with shows. CAPA has employed me for 2 years, as part of the tech crew that works at the Co-Op. The Shubert has been nothing but an asset to me, because it has provided stable work for me while I am putting myself through college. The Shubert itself, along with all of its employees, has been a huge resource to me, because I am currently majoring in Theater Design. Working for CAPA has given me the knowledge, and experience I need to work in professional theater. I have worked on and off of the Shubert stage, and I am so grateful to have such a magnificent space, to have practiced my future career on.
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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Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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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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