Our Islands, Our Future

In December 2023, Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) started construction on its new black box theater at 2027 Main Street in Wailuku. Completion is scheduled for March 31, 2025. The culmination of a 30-year dream, the Naylor Family Theatre will seat 185 audience members with a flexible seating system that can be re-configured to accommodate different types of performances. In the heart of historic Wailuku, the theatre will serve people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and economic circumstances.

“Recently, MAPA received a $1,000,000 donation from philanthropist Susan Naylor Moulton for the black box theatre,” said Carolyn Wright, MAPA Executive Director. “When tragedy struck Moulton’s family 17 years ago on Maui, she said it was the people in the arts who lifted her up.”

David Johnston and Carolyn Wright, MAPA

Named in memory of Moulton’s two sons, the facility will also include state-of-the-art audiovisual and lighting systems, lobby, box office, concessions area, dressing rooms, rehearsal studios, restrooms, and storage. Moulton shared, “The arts are the voices of the island. We have so many creative people here, from cultural practitioners, to chefs, to painters, to performing artists. I’m honored to be involved in building this new theatre in Wailuku where the community will experience the healing power of artistic performance at every level.”

In addition to the economic benefits of the project, MAPA’s artistic director, David Johnston, also underscored the healing power of the arts. “MAPA’s Naylor Family Theatre will be a space for the community to experience the creative benefits that stretch beyond just entertainment,” Johnston shared. “I believe that the arts can be a powerful force for helping us navigate the uncertainties of these times, providing solace, awakening curiosity, and inspiring us to imagine a new future in a thriving community.”  Wright added, “The theatre will infuse a new vibrancy into Wailuku, sparking more economic activity for existing restaurants and shops while attracting new businesses to fill vacant storefronts. By creating jobs in the creative arts sector, our theatre will bring renewed energy to the town through creative expression and community engagement. Plus, it will foster a resilient local economy on Maui.”

The Naylor Family Theatre will be a gathering space where the community can generate a sense of collective healing.
Carolyn Wright, MAPA Executive Director