The Theatre Centre Breaks Ground at New Permanent Home

From Press Release

The Theatre Centre, a nationally-recognized arts organization, broke ground today on the site of its new permanent home in the revitalized West Queen West neighbourhood. The 104-year-old heritage property known as the Carnegie Library (1115 Queen Street West and Lisgar) will undergo a $6.2 million renovation to house the new live arts hub and incubator.

“After inhabiting more than 10 locations in 33 years, we are thrilled to finally have a permanent residence. The Theatre Centre board, staff and artists have worked diligently for many years to create a space that will be fully and permanently integrated into West Queen West,” says Franco Boni, General & Artistic Director. “This project will be truly transformative for the neighbourhood. The venue will welcome and engage with the community and be a destination point for those visiting this increasingly popular part of the city.”

The facility will also benefit the broader artistic community by providing access to affordable space for production and creation. “The new performing arts space will provide a much-needed permanent facility dedicated to the under-served smallscale, culturally-diverse, and interdisciplinary companies in the city,” he adds. The Theatre Centre’s $6.2 million campaign received support from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. “We are pleased to announce that we have reached 84 per cent of our campaign goal,” says Mr. Boni. “This would not have been possible without the generous support from our partners in government, industry and the local community.”

“The McGuinty Government is proud to partner with The Theatre Centre,” says Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “For over three decades, the Theatre Centre has been an important cultural institution for artistic expression here in Toronto and across the province. Today’s groundbreaking at the historic Carnegie Library will ensure that the Centre will continue to be a place for artists to create innovative work, and a place for the community to experience diverse life performance art.”

Toronto City Councillor Ana Bailão says, “I am overjoyed with the Theatre Centre’s new location, and join with the local community in celebrating the groundbreaking ceremony. The Theatre Centre has been performing a vital role as promoter and developer of local theatre programming for more than 20 years and will continue to anchor this area as the West Queen West arts scene continues to develop.”

Transforming the Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Library, a magnificent heritage property built in 1908, will be transformed into a multi-purpose arts venue and public space. The building’s grand façade will remain and the interior will be retrofitted into an innovative space for creativity to flourish and the public to gather.

The venue will feature a flexible performance space with seating for up to 200 people, a large incubation and rehearsal laboratory, a multi-purpose café that will host the building’s lobby and serve as a casual performance space, as well a gallery space for presentations of visual and media art. The entire facility will be physically accessible for audience members and artists and will feature a green-roofed terrace that overlooks the art-park, which is being developed just south of the property. The project design is led by Philip Goldsmith, of Goldsmith Borgal & Company Architects, who is best known for his transformative work on historic properties such as Canada’s National Ballet School and The Toronto Brickworks.

About The Theatre Centre

The Theatre Centre is a nationally-recognized arts incubator and presenter. Its programming challenges the definitions of theatrical performance by embracing music, dance, visual art and new media. The Theatre Centre works to emphasize artistic process over product, to invest in ideas and champion new work and new ways of working. As a Canadian leader in performing arts research and development, The Theatre Centre fosters a culture of innovation by embracing risk and questioning traditional notions of failure and success.

The Theatre Centre has played an integral role in shaping the cultural fabric of Toronto since 1979, when a co-operative of five independent theatre companies – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Autumn Leaf Theatre, AKA Performance Interface, Necessary Angel and Nightwood Theatre – was founded. The group of artists that formed The Theatre Centre went on to define a generation and inspire a new way of thinking about performance in Toronto. More than 33 years on, The Theatre Centre’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of artistic agitators and to promoting creative exchanges between local, national, and international artists is stronger than ever.

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