Gift will fund renovation, endowment of downtown landmark


NEW HAVEN — The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven has awarded $250,000 to the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) for the renovation of New Haven’s 99-year-old Shubert Theater. The grant will be distributed from unrestricted funds over five years and provide support for the Shubert Centennial Plan, which includes a new orchestra shell and the addition of “The Little Shubert,” a flexible performance venue intended to transform the “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits” into a multi-functional performing-arts center for the community. The plan also addresses significant deferred maintenance and upgrades to the 1914 building.

“Since re-opening in the 1980s, the Shubert Theater has been a consistent force in creating downtown vibrancy,” said William W. Ginsberg, the Community Foundation’s president & CEO. “The Shubert Centennial Plan is the right strategy for the theater’s future, with its continuation of capital improvements, new endowment and transfer of the theater to CAPA. The plan requires city and state support and we are hopeful that this public support will soon materialize.”

CAPA’s request for Community Foundation funding is part of the Shubert’s Centennial Plan, which seeks to raise $7.1 million in public and private support for capital improvements and $4 million in private support to create a permanent endowment.

The Shubert has been managed by CAPA since July 2001. CAPA’s parent organization, Columbus (O.) Association for the Performing Arts, has experience renovating and restoring historic theaters. It will partner with CAPA New Haven throughout the local process, the group says. CAPA has succeeded in building the Shubert’s endowment over the last decade, which resulted in the establishment of a new organization fund at the Community Foundation in 2012 with a transfer of $2.5 million. 

“CAPA and the Shubert Theater are delighted to receive this generous grant from the Community Foundation,” said Shubert Executive Director John Fisher. The grant “creates a firm foundation to build the Shubert’s Centennial Plan and ensure the bright future for this legendary theater for generations to come.”

The Shubert is New Haven’s only year-round venue presenting music, theater and dance. Since it reopened in 1984, the Shubert has provided an economic impact of over $300 million, with a direct annual impact of approximately $15 million, according to Quinnipiac University studies of the theater’s 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons.