The Capri Theater Project: A Historic Renovation for the Community

The Capri Theater in North Minneapolis has been a community staple since it opened its doors in 1938. 

And after a recent renovation project, it’s poised to become an even more important part of the community fabric. At Baker Associates, we were more than grateful to be able to spearhead this project! We believe that the theater is now better than ever, and we’re excited to see how it will be used and enjoyed by residents in the future. But how did it all come together? Read on to see what inspired us to design this iconic theater remodel and how we worked closely with a community needing a space like this. Plus – see some of our exclusive pictures of the new and improved Capri Theater!

The Project Plan

For the Capri Theater project, our team was tasked with creating a space that was not only functional but also inspirational and impactful. We worked closely with the theater director to develop a plan of “must-haves” for the remodel – every theater area, from the theater itself to the crossover space behind it – the dressing rooms, the green rooms, and the shop space. They all needed to fit together like a puzzle. This wasn’t easy, but we’re proud of how it turned out in the end. We stayed true to our vision of designing a welcoming, impactful, inspirational, and neutral space.

We believe the Capri Theater Project was successful because it was community-oriented and driven. The goal was to create something the entire community could enjoy and benefit from, and we think we accomplished that.

The Design

Regarding design, some of our favorite elements of the new Capri Theater include the updated lobby and concessions area. We wanted to create a bright and welcoming space for all.

Initially, the community theater, called the Paradise Theater, was going to be a black box theater.  There were a couple of renderings and iterations where it was a solid massing along West Broadway Avenue, but the city requirements didn’t allow that. We had to be creative with getting transparency into that space, satisfying city requirements, and making it a black box theater.  We ended up installing blackout curtains that were a light block for the window components and the interiors. 

There were a couple of iterations of our ideas. Initially, we proposed something theatrical and tied to the exterior of the building. The client said they wanted something softer and welcoming. This project at its core was really about bringing the community together. We wanted it to be nice, but it also needed to be designed for the North Minneapolis neighborhood and the city’s diverse events and needs.

Our client also wanted it to be welcoming and neutral with not a lot of color for specific reasons. They wanted something that could be a neutral backdrop to many different events such as weddings, family gatherings, union meetings, or holiday parties. This is another reason there was such an emphasis on creating a welcoming space so that people could feel comfortable renting it out for any occasion.

Our Inspiration

Built in the 1920s, the theater was a solid massing with a natural stone finish – darker brick with black trim. It was a little heavier on the eyes, so our goal with this restoration was to make it lighter and brighter. We had done some repair on the original building, but on the addition, we wanted it to be neutral.  We didn’t want it to compete with the original theater design, but we wanted it to stand proud.

As far as the interior design goes, Kristy said, “I really relied heavily on my previous knowledge of theater design that Baker has done. I was also very focused on ensuring it hit all the clients requirements. I guess the end product was my interpretation of all that it needed to be.” Kristy also commented on how it needed to be functional for students who would be using the space. “Students of the Plymouth Christian Youth Center are using this space so that was also a leading inspiration for what our goals were for the theater.”

Theater Design done right

The project taught us an in-depth knowledge of theater design and the importance of all the subtle details in lighting and acoustics. “We were able to provide these very important acoustic and lighting solutions,” Kristy mentioned. “The community loves the building. The school loves the building. It’s been a huge success for them.  So I’m proud of that aspect, considering there are many lessons learned on that project for me.”

If you’re in the Minneapolis area, we encourage you to come to check out the new Capri Theater. We believe that this renovation will allow the Capri Theater to serve the community in an even greater capacity than before. The new Capri Theater is truly a community space, and we’re grateful to have been a part of its transformation. The theater has always been where people can come together and enjoy live performances. Still, now it will be able to accommodate more people, like students, and provide an even better experience. We’re excited to see how the community will use and love this space for years!

We hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the Capri Theater! What do you think of our new design for it? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to check our website for more information on our projects. Thank you!

Historic Paradise Theater in Northern Minneapolis