Aaaaand we’re back: Detroit Shoreway’s Capitol Theater set to reopen in August

The three-screen Capitol Theater in Detroit Shoreway has been dark since the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered venues across the country last March, but it’s time to fire up the projectors now that it has received a Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG) that will allow it to pay its back bills and reopen to the community.


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The three-screen Capitol Theater in Detroit Shoreway has been dark since the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered venues across the country last March, but it’s time to fire up the projectors now that it has received a Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG) that will allow it to pay its back bills and reopen to the community.

“What I hope comes out of the pandemic is that people realize how important the Capitol is and make conscious decisions to see movies there,” said Adam Stalder, executive director of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO), which owns the movie theater through a separate, for-profit LLC. “I think people appreciate it more now that it’s gone.”

Although the future of movie theaters is anything but certain, especially now as film companies release movies direct to streaming, Stalder said DSCDO is committed to keeping the Capitol going with its operator, Cleveland Cinemas. “We hope it breaks even, that’s the goal for it,” Stalder said. “We do it because the community loves the theater, and we’re only one of two theaters in Cleveland and the only one on the west side.”

The $299,000 grant from SVOG will certainly help with that. DSCDO continued to pay Cleveland Cinemas a nominal fee during the pandemic, so that they could keep the equipment in good shape. However, they ran out of funding mid-pandemic, and need to get caught up on their bills. Additionally, the grant will be used to help DSCDO maintain the historic building, which was renovated in 2009.

Stalder believes sustainability lies in creating a separate nonprofit for the movie theater moving forward. In the future, he said, audiences can continue to expect not only independent films and summer blockbusters, but also mission-oriented programs like the Racial Equity Film Series that DSCDO offered pre-pandemic.

The Capitol also made improvements in 2020, including adding more comfortable, reclining seats in the upstairs, thanks to the aid of a state capitol grant that was awarded pre-pandemic. Stalder said the community has also really stepped up and helped. So far, they’ve raised more than $18,000 towards their goal of raising $100,000 for the Capitol’s centennial campaign by April 2022.

Details for the Capitol’s reopening are still being sketched out, but DSCDO plans to share information about film schedules and tickets soon.

Lee Chilcote is a freelance writer and editor of The Land.

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