Known as “The Crown Jewel of Downtown York” the Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center offers the best in live, professional performing arts, film, and arts education, in two historic venues – the Capitol Theater (1906) and the Strand Theatre (1925).
The 1,260 seat Strand Theatre is a glittering example of Italian Renaissance architecture with its graceful archways and ornate decorative details, including 1,800 pounds of gold leaf, 100 pounds of bronze, and 4,000 pounds of ribbon gold in plaster moldings. Murals designed by Hungarian artist Willy Pogany adorn the north and south walls. Built at a cost of more than $ 1 million, the Strand prospered during the days of vaudeville and silent film in the roaring 20’s, withstood the depression in the 30’s and continued to show movies until February of 1976, when it closed.
Originally known as “The Theatorium” and later “The Jackson” the Capitol Theatre was built as a one level dance hall, with the balcony added in 1917 for films. Nathan Appell and Louis Appell Sr., who built the Strand Theatre, bought The Jackson in 1926, remodeled it again and reopened it as the Capitol in 1927. The theatre continued as a popular move house until 1977.
In the spring of 1976, a group of York leaders came together to rally support, raise money, and make plans for the renovation and reopening of both theatres.
On April 12, 1980, the Strand Theatre reopened its doors with a gala performance by Ella Fitzgerald and the York Symphony Orchestra. The Capitol Theatre reopened in May of 1981 featuring the fully restored 1927 Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.
A two year, $18.1 million facility renovation project was completed in September of 2003. The project increased the Strand’s backstage support areas, enlarged the Strand Lobby with expanded concessions and hospitality areas, and added a balcony, new seating, and education space.
The support of members and guests is crucial to the ongoing preservation and improvement of the Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center. $1 from every ticket purchased helps maintain and preserve the venues, ensuring they thrive as the home of the performing arts in York County.