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 3 years CAPA / Shubert Theatre has had many successes, here are a few of the highlights:
Increased Community Access and OutreachRecent education research has demonstrated the benefits of arts education, especially dance. CAPA's most extensive education program is a residency of the Pilobolus Dance Company called MOVIN', now in its 18th year in New Haven. Over the past couple of years, CAPA has expanded this program from 3 to 8 weeks and increased the frequency of reinforcement of the programs’ philosophies throughout the school year.
Over the past year the MOVIN’ program has expanded to 4 groups of at-risk middle school girls at Truman School, Wexler-Grant School, Celentano Museum Academy and Clemente Leadership Academy. In response to the program, Vice Principal Idris Trotman made the following comment: “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.” In 2013-14 we expanded the program at Truman School to include both a group of girls and a seperate group of boys to run at the same time.
Expanded Economic ImpactDuring the last 13 years CAPA has built on the Shubert’s proud history as a premiere Broadway-presenting theater by working with Broadway producers to utilize the theater as a venue to build sets, coordinate the technical aspects of the production and rehearse the cast of new nationally touring productions. In recent years the Shubert Theater was used for the build of the national tours of Twelve Angry Men (2006), Jersey Boys (2007), The 39 Steps (2009), A Chorus Line and HAIR (2010), The Color Purple (2012), The Addams Family (2013) and most recently Bring It On (2014).
During a period of 2–4 weeks prior to each show, the theater is occupied by the show’s director, designers and creative teams; technical and production staff; and cast members. In addition to the regular work schedule for a Broadway show run, 75 to 100 local stage employees are employed during the pre-production period totaling on average 7,000 + work hours. Upwards of 80-110 show personnel are housed in hotels throughout the New Haven area and patronize area restaurants and contract with numerous local vendors for their on-site needs. It is estimated that 167 non-theater related jobs were created because of the existence of the Shubert Theater. The total economic impact during the pre-production period ranges from $850,000 to $1.5 million (depending on the size and scope of the production).
New Revenue SourcesAs one of America’s most respected producers and theater managers, CAPA began the ambitious project of producing and touring world-class productions in collaboration with internationally recognized theater companies. These tours generate income and provide expanded programming opportunities both for CAPA Columbus and Connecticut. Past tours have included Sir Peter Hall’s As You Like It, Ireland’s famed The Playboy of Western World, The Importance of Being Earnest starring Lynn Redgrave, and most recently The Caretaker starring Jonathan Pryce opening in Australia’s Adelaide Festival in March, 2012. In addition, CAPA receives national and international recognition by being associated with these highly acclaimed productions which have been seen by audiences around the world and throughout the United States.
Over the course of the next year CAPA / Shubert Theater’s goals are to continue to be a valuable partner within our community by offering programs that engage, educate and entertain.
The Shubert Theatre has not had a major renovation in over 30 years. The theater in its current state cannot continue to operate at the same level without capital improvements. Renovation is needed to preserve the stability of the physical structure and continue to operate without physical hazards to the public.
Physical threats to the preservation of the theater:Structurally, the building has not been re-pointed since the original 1914 craftsmanship. Loose brick and mortar have resulted in water penetration, which threatens the historic plaster restoration that was done in 2009. Leaks in the front plaza are causing damage to the structural steel of the building, and threaten equipment in the mechanical room below.
Mechanical system deficiencies:The current HVAC system is inefficient and it often does not work correctly, impacting the comfort and experience of patrons and future ticket sales. Exterior ductwork needs replacement and rooftop gas lines need repair—both integral to operation of the building and for safety.
Security and safety deficiencies:ADA access for wheelchairs and fire system upgrades for the hearing impaired need to be done in the lobby, office, and stage areas to increase accessibility for patrons. The lobby and ticket office need to be redesigned to improve patron access, and improve security from vandalism and theft. The air intake system at street level and room systems need to be secured against terrorist threats to protect the frequent prominent attendees.
As part of the needed renovations addressed above, there is a great need in the community for greater access to versatile performing arts spaces and services. This evolution of the reach of the Shubert represents a renewed business model that provides for continued operation, the opportunity to diversify revenue sources, and opportunities to support the arts. Therefore, other identified needs will focus on the reconfiguring of the Shubert’s physical spaces to serve the community better.
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 five years and the Chairman for the last 3, we are excited to embark on this new chapter in the history of the Shubert Theatre.
CAPA has managed the historic Shubert Theatre for 13 years and over this time this stewardship has fostered great partnerships with the City, State, private sector and the community. The theater has not had a significant major renovation in 30 years. With the 100th anniversary of the Shubert Theatre in 2014 this has provided CAPA with a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise funds to undergo and complete the renovations, and address significant deferred maintenance issues, so that we may create an efficient and user friendly theater for our community.
The campaign plan is composed of two components, the first for physical capital needs and improvements to the theater building and the second for an endowment to create financial stability for this community treasure.
In 2009 the board decided that we needed to create a pathway that will ensure the vitality and success of the Shubert Theatre while continuing New Haven’s rich history as a destination for the arts. CAPA along with the City’s Office of Economic Development, commissioned an architectural feasibility study to help define and evaluate possible physical alterations to the facility that would enhance its functionality and address current and future space needs. The study enabled the Board and management to focus on what is viable in terms of the current building structure and preliminary cost estimates of renovations and repairs.
This study was completed in the fall of 2010 and complimented the EmcArts New Pathways Program funded by the Arts Council and the National Arts Stabilization Committee. Community interviews, meetings and workshops were very successful and important key elements of the program. Members of the arts and business community met, in what we envision to be the first of a series of community sessions, as we plan and work toward the Shubert’s 100th Anniversary. This workshop and future workshops will enable the community to continue to contribute in meaningful and helpful ways, will embrace key stakeholders as we move forward, and will establish an open pathway with the community where they can remain current on CAPA’s thinking and strategy.
With the help of this study and the community workshops the following goals for the Shubert Centennial Plan were established:
-Serve the evolving needs of the community as a dynamic and vibrant performing, where work class performers can come to work, live and play.
-Continue the profound, positive economic impact that the theater has on non-arts-related 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 and community partners.
-Provide work for over 100 tradesmen in the construction, renovations and restoration industries while expanding the 167 non-theater related jobs the Shubert creates each year.
The board is committed to the Shubert Centennial Plan 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 to the arts and to arts outreach in the community.
Kevin BurkeChairman 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 17th 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: Les Miserables will be an exciting new 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, history and social activism 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 the teacher’s ability to deal with difficult social issues and engage students in processes that help them understand the many sides of these issues.3. Provide access to a professional teaching artist who will introduce and engage students in creative theater and writing activities, thereby infusing the existing curriculum with performing arts experiences.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.6. PR opportunities for the production from the billboard and art installation that will be created during the project.
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.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
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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