Mission & History
Owner and operator of downtown Columbus’ historic Ohio, Palace, and Southern Theatres, and manager of the Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Lincoln Theatre, and Shubert Theater (New Haven, CT), CAPA is a non-profit, award-winning presenter of national and international performing arts and entertainment.
- Present and produce artistic programming of the highest quality to serve and educate diverse audiences and feature renowned artists of all cultures
- Operate and maintain world-class performance venues
- Strengthen our arts communities by providing facilities for resident companies and through partnership and collaboration, support those organizations
- Bolster the economies of the downtown communities we serve.
CAPA was formed in 1969 to save the historic Ohio Theatre (Columbus) from the wrecking ball. After an extensive CAPA-led renovation, the magnificent 1928 movie house is now celebrated as a vanguard achievement in the field of theatre rehabilitation and downtown redevelopment. In addition to the Ohio Theatre, a National Historic Landmark and the “Official Theatre for the State of Ohio,” CAPA also owns and operates Columbus’ Palace Theatre (1926) and Southern Theatre (1896). The 925-seat Southern Theatre was CAPA’s second major theatre rehabilitation project and reopened in 1998 following a dramatic $10 million renovation.
In 1994, CAPA entered into an agreement with the State of Ohio to manage the four contemporary-style Riffe Center Theatres in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts. CAPA’s consolidated management of these downtown Columbus facilities has produced a performing arts complex which provides space for quality arts experiences at reasonable rates.
Based on CAPA’s rising reputation in theatre management, the City of New Haven selected CAPA to operate the 1,600-seat Shubert Theater in 2001. CAPA established a Connecticut not-for-profit organization, the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), to operate the Shubert, one of the nation’s legendary Broadway tryout houses. In its first season, CAPA presented five Broadway productions while diversifying its concert events. CAPA (Connecticut) employs a resident staff of 10 and has appointed a local board of directors.
In 2007, CAPA was approached by the City of Columbus to renovate and manage the historic Lincoln Theatre. Originally opened in 1928, this Egyptian Revival-style theatre is one of the few surviving remnants of the affluent African-American downtown community which built and resided in the area in the 1930s and 40s. The Lincoln underwent an extensive $13.5 million renovation helmed by CAPA and reopened in 2009 as a multi-use, state-of-the-art urban performing arts and education center. A small resident staff has been established to manage the 566-seat venue and a local board of directors, the Lincoln Theatre Association, has been appointed.
In March 2009, CAPA took on production of Festival Latino, the largest Hispanic event in Ohio and an annual Columbus tradition. The event, previously funded and produced by the City of Columbus, was on the verge of being discontinued due to City budget cuts. However, CAPA stepped in, restructured the event to be more family-friendly, and hosts thousands of Festival-goers each year.
In 2009, CAPA entered into an agreement with the Toledo Cultural Arts Center to manage and operate the Valentine Theatre in Toledo, Ohio. The historic, 901-seat theatre was built in 1895 by George Ketchum. Ketchum built three additional Midwestern theatres under the Valentine Company banner, one of which was the Southern Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, also a CAPA venue. CAPA was engaged to help them establish long-term financial stability, streamline operations, and expand the theatre’s involvement with the Toledo arts community.
In August 2009, Broadway Across America and CAPA expanded their agreement, increasing CAPA’s responsibilities to include marketing, event management, ticketing, sponsorship, and public relations for all Broadway productions in Columbus.
In April 2010, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra engaged CAPA in a management agreement to help define a new financial model and achieve stability after years of turmoil and uncertainty. CAPA now manages the CSO’s finance, accounting, marketing, advertising, publicity, graphics, IT, ticketing, human resources, and operations functions.
CAPA also provides back office services to CATCO-Phoenix (the merged professional theatre companies of the Contemporary American Theatre Company and The Phoenix Theatre for Children) and the Franklin Park Conservatory.
CAPA continues to build its reputation as a respected producer and manager of world-class productions by collaborating with internationally recognized theatre companies. On the international front, CAPA managed the North American tour of Tim Supple’s spectacular new production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Past productions include Sir Peter Hall’s acclaimed productions of As You Like It and The Importance of Being Earnest.
For 40 years, CAPA has brought the best performing artists from all over the world to the communities it serves. Programming genres include jazz, world music, Latin, country/folk, Celtic, comedy, pop, theatre, dance, and family programming. The Ohio Theatre also hosts the annual CAPA Summer Movie Series, the longest-running classic film series in the nation. In 2009, CAPA also became producer for downtown’s Festival Latino.
CAPA has achieved international recognition over the past four decades for its diversity of performing arts and entertainment programming, dramatic restoration of historic theatres, excellence in facility management, and positive contributions to the downtown quality of life.