By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After 10 years of planning and fundraising, construction on a Twin Cities theater’s expansion and renovation project is underway.

The historic Capri Theater was once an anchor in a commercial corner of North Minneapolis. The new theater will feature spaces for the next generation of artists to learn and perform.

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Breaking ground on a $12.5 million project is something to celebrate. The expansion and renovation of the Capri Theater will breathe new life into a building that has and will continue to showcase the richness of the community.

The groundbreaking has been 10 years in the making, and the project is changing more than the landscape of North Minneapolis.

‘Turning the tide on the culture on the north side — that’s what the Capri is doing here, “ said Don Samuels, who lives in the area.

It takes the old and mixes it with new. The new Capri will feature a renovated theater, a Best Buy teen tech center, a Great Hall performance area, community space and classrooms.

The new entrance goes back where it was when the original building was constructed in the 1920s.

“There is an incredible arts community here in North Minneapolis: musicians, performance artists, visual artists. We’re creating space for them to be able to showcase their talents to not only to North Minneapolis but to the rest of the Twin Cities,” said theater director James Scott.

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Scott says this space will do much to nurture young north-side talent.

“To know that there is a place where you can come and express yourself and be open and honest with who you are and really be part of the revitalization of North Minneapolis,” Scott said.

“Over the years we’ve tried to end violence, end crime, end blight, end exploitation, end all the negative factors on the north side,” Samuels said. “This is building: building theater, building arts, building entertainment, building gathering spaces — that’s what the Capri represents.”

The Capri also represents history — it was in that space Prince held his first solo performance. The new Capri hopes to provide space for the next superstar performer to come out of the Twin Cities. It will reopen in Oct. 2020.

The Capri has campaigned more than 90% of its goal for contributions and donations are still being accepted.

The theater is owned and operated by Plymouth Christian Youth Center.


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Reg Chapman