THE CAPAWOCK THEATRE in Vineyard Haven opened in 1913. It had operated as a single screen movie theatre until it closed in 2012. It re-opens this summer
THE CAPAWOCK HISTORY- courtesy of Chris Baer, Tom Dresser and Skip Finley
In late 1912, the following announcement appeared in the Vineyard Gazette: “A large building for amusements and other public purposes is being erected on land owned by Smith, Bodfish, Swift Co. (SBS) next south of their No. 1 Store. It was noted that the building would “give an improved appearance to Main street. …” By January 1913, the new amusement hall was “assuming good proportions” and was expected to be finished before March 1st. It was designed for 332 “individual armchairs” and was to be heated by “hot air” and lighted by electricity.
In a March, 1913 Gazette article, the theatre was described as 32 x 54 feet and as having a seating capacity of 320 with a “clear view of stage and pictures.” The new hall was intended for “small entertainments and lectures.” (Chris Baer)
Michael J. Keegan of Oak Bluffs leased and managed the Vineyard Theatre in the 1920s. In 1931 he was listed as the proprietor. In July 1932, Alfred Hall of Edgartown, agent for Vineyard Theatres, Inc., leased and then purchased the Vineyard Haven theater, soon to be renamed the Capawock. This brought all the Island theaters, including the Strand, the Island and the Edgartown Playhouse, under the control of Vineyard Theatres, Inc. Michael J. Keegan continued as manager of the Vineyard Haven Theatre.
The name of the theater in Vineyard Haven was changed; now it was the Capawock. “Within a few days a new and brilliant sign bearing the new name has been painted and erected by A. H. Twite, and it may be truthfully said that the Capawock of historic memory has passed.” This refers to Capawock Hall, on Spring Street, which had served as a center of cultural activities in the town since the mid-nineteenth century. (Vineyard Gazette 6/10/1932) . This was truly the passing of the old-guard, both in name and with the type of entertainment desired by the residents of the Town.
The Capawock operated as a movie theater until 2012. It has since been shuttered.
On May 29, 2015 the Capawock will re-open after an extensive renovation by the MV Theater Foundation, including conversion to DCI digital projection and sound.
The Capawock will be under the management of the non-profit Martha's Vineyard Film Society.
43 Main St
02568 Vineyard Haven
Call: (508) 696-9369