The Capitol Theatre outfitted with new orchestra pit lift, thanks to grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs

As the first anniversary of its reopening approaches, the historic Capitol Theatre has received over $100,000 in two grants that will enhance its mission to provide world-class entertainment in downtown Flint.

The Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and the Consumers Energy Foundation each contributed $50,000 to Uptown Reinvestment Corp. (URC) to outfit the theater with a mechanized orchestra pit lift. The new equipment will effectively and efficiently provide more flexible configurations for a variety of performances at Capitol, which re-opened a year ago after a $32 million renovation and now managed by the Flint Cultural Center Corp. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provided the additional grant funding on the $340,000 mechanized lift.

“The lift serves as an extremely useful and cost-effective way to route production equipment from backstage/loading dock locations to front of house/auditorium positions,” said Jarret Haynes, executive director of The Whiting, which manages the theater’s programming and operations. “The mechanical operation allows for reconfigurations to be undertaken in a timely and cost-effective fashion, as opposed to manual adjustments to the height of the pit floor.

“This will allow us to assure accessibility for an array of local and regional performances by keeping the expense profile of presentations in the venue as low as possible, without sacrificing the artistic vision and design of any production.”

The MCACA grant was awarded through its peer review process and was one of 575 applications to compete for the council’s 2018 fiscal year funding. Organizations receiving a MCACA grant are required to match those funds with other public and private dollars.

The Consumers Energy Foundation – the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider – builds sustainable communities by supporting education, social services, arts and culture, business and the environment.

“We appreciate the strong local support for this project, which has enabled us to incorporate greater flexibility to enhance the venue’s overall appeal,” said URC President Tim Herman.

The Capitol was designed by the world-renowned architect John Eberson and constructed and developed by WS Butterfield Theatres, Inc. in 1928. Built in Italian renaissance style, one ceiling was designed after the outer vestibule of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, according to the Flint Journal files, and interior walls recreate views of buildings that evoke old Italy. The history of the theatre is not only important for the sense of place and pride it promotes but is critical in the overall vision of revitalized Flint.

The MCACA peer review process allows for each grant application to be competitively considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors and residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences.