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Our history

The Capitol Civic Centre, Inc. established in 1987 in Manitowoc remains a cornerstone of our community today. Spearheaded by Ron Kaminski with the commitment of members of The Masquers, many community members, and professional craftsmen, the Capitol was restored and the vision realized with the opening performance on October 30, 1987. Much of the renovation focused on the theatre, which resides in what was originally operated as the Ascher Brother’s Capitol Theatre, opening as a vaudeville house on June 16, 1921. Funding for renovations came from local businesses and individuals with a lead gift from the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation, Inc.

In addition to what was the original vaudeville house, the Capitol properties presently total seven individual buildings topped by 14 roofs. The West Auditorium is enhanced by the Capitol Grand Lobby (The Mertens Lounge featuring The Cawley Company Bar and the Salutz Family Lobbies). Additionally, the second level features the Webster Family Lobby and the Tim and Heather Schneider Family Bar. The annex houses the administrative offices, the technical department, the green room, and loading dock facilities. Capitol Studios and expansive storage complete the properties.

The elegant performing arts center is home to the Marquee Series (typically national professional tours and big-name talent), as well as the annual performances of more than 12 community partners, arts education activities, and civic events. Further, the West Auditorium, lounges, and lobbies are available for rent.

And, the value of the Capitol reaches beyond providing a home for live performing arts. The Capitol is, indeed, a prime example of the economic value of historic preservation.

The Capitol serves as an anchor for activity in the heart of historic downtown Manitowoc. More than 40,000 people from the greater Northeastern Wisconsin region attend performances and activities at the Capitol anually.

As a not-for-profit organization, the Capitol’s operating budget is 65 percent earned income (box office and rental revenues, concessions, and advertising) and 35 percent philanthropic in nature (memberships, donations, grants, sponsorships, underwriting, and an annual CCC Foundation, Inc. allocation).

Staffed by five full-time and five part-time employees and with the support of more than 170 volunteers, the Capitol Civic Centre has been honored with The Chamber Manitowoc County’s Non-Profit of the Year award in 2007 and 2014, respectively.