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Detroit Opera House (Grand Circus Theatre, Capitol Theater)

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Grand Circus Theatre, Capitol Theater
1922, C. Howard Crane; 1996 interior, Albert Kahn Associates; 2004–2006 Ford Center for Arts and Learning addition, Albert Kahn Associates. 1526 Broadway St.

The adaptive reuse of the movie palace as a sumptuous opera house speaks of the power of one person dedicated to reviving arts and culture in Detroit. David DiChiera, founder and general director of Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT), led the establishment of the MOT in 1971. MOT acquired the run-down Grand Circus Theatre in 1989 and converted it into an opera hall, adding new space for rehearsal, administrative, and educational needs. In 2006 the renovation and transformation of the opera house's six-story Broadway Street office tower into the Ford Center for Arts and Learning brought a dance studio, black-box theater, classrooms, costume shop, library, and other amenities to the opera house and lifted the surrounding area from blight. Today MOT is among the nation's ten largest opera companies. Ford Motor Company Fund and Kresge Foundation gifts aided completion of the addition.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Detroit Opera House (Grand Circus Theatre, Capitol Theater)", [Detroit, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 68-68.

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