The Appell Center for the Performing Arts announced today that thanks to a $700,000 Pennsylvania First Grant commissioned by Governor Tom Wolf and two successful fundraising campaigns, the historic Capitol Theatre will undergo a $1.6 million full-scale renovation in summer 2018.
Scheduled to close on May 1 and reopen on October 1, 2018, the renovation will preserve the historic charm of the 1906 building and offer the customer experience amenities that theatre patrons expect from modern entertainment venues. Thanks to the project’s architecture firm, Warehaus Design, highlights of the renovation include: new seating, new restrooms (including an ADA accessible restroom), expanded lobby and concessions areas, sightline improvements in the balcony, upgraded lighting and audio technology, and a new wall between the theatre and lobby space to eliminate noise and light disruptions for audiences on the first floor.
The Capitol Theatre, a 450-seat performing arts venue in Downtown York, located next door to the Strand Theatre has a rich history. Originally built as a one-level dance hall in 1906, the Capitol Theatre was known as “The Theatorium” and later “The Jackson.” Nathan and Louis Appell, Sr., who built the Strand Theatre and whose family the Appell Center for the Performing Arts was recently named after, bought The Jackson in 1926, remodeled the theatre and reopened it as a movie theatre called the Capitol. The Capitol continued to operate as a popular movie house until 1977 and then closed for a few years. In May 1981, the Capitol Theatre reopened along with the Strand Theatre, thanks to a group of York leaders who rallied together in support of keeping these two theatres alive to support the revitalization of downtown York. They also added a restored 1927 “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ to the Capitol, which still plays before films to this day, thanks to the Susquehanna Valley Theatre Organ Society. Today, the Capitol Theatre is home to nearly 125 events per year, including the return of weekly films, the thriving CapLive music series, the recent addition of the CapComedy stand-up comedy series as well as numerous other local community events.
“We feel so fortunate to have received the funding necessary to make this renovation possible. A renovated Capitol Theatre has been a long-time goal of many in this community and it would not have been possible without our generous donors, campaign leaders, Governor Wolf and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This renovation is a big step towards our goal of the Capitol Theatre housing over 200 nights of performing arts and entertainment each year, all of which supports the ultimate goal of a more vibrant and economically flourishing downtown York – a city where people want to live, work and play,” said President & CEO of the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, Todd Fogdall.