Exploring the neighbourhood: The Theatre Centre

Posted by Stephan Petar, October 18, 2016
The Theatre Centre

We love our West Queen West neighbours. They are vibrant, fun, theatrical and so much more. The Drake Hotel is dedicated to collaborating with others and building relationships to foster the creative development of the area. One of our current partnerships is with The Theatre Centre, a nationally recognized live-arts incubator that develops, presents and produces live performances through collaboration between artists, staff and audiences. In honour of the partnership we thought we'd explore the history of the organization and the building it calls home. It's time to meet our neighbour.

The Theatre Centre sits in the historic century old Carnegie Library on the corner of Queen St. W. and Lisgar St. The organization has a mandate to support artists who develop experimental and/or alternative works that challenge the definition of theatrical performance. They also provide the infrastructure and resources required by artists to help fulfill their vision. The theatre dates back to 1979 when five independent theatre companies came together to form The B.A.A.N.N. Theatre Centre. In the mid-80s the founding members left and the space became an incubator where it continued and thrived as it served its mission to artists and the community.

The Theatre centre

Carnegie Library

In 2014, The Theatre Centre moved into its current location at the Robert McCallum designed Carnegie Library. The library was constructed as part of Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy program which helped finance 125 free libraries in Toronto. This west end hub was the second branch built and served as a library until 1964. The Theatre Centre purchased the building and transformed the space into an art oasis, which includes a 200 seat theatre in the former reading room, an incubator space with a sunken floor, a rooftop patio and cafe, which is the only new addition to the building.

The Theatre Centre 3

On now at The Theatre Centre

Currently audiences can enjoy three performances including the double-bill show from Bad News Days titled Italian Mime Suicide // Three Red Days (Now until Oct. 23) about a mime who jumps off a building in Rome and a Russian composer who waits three anxious days for his arrest after an absurd interrogation. The second show, by Birdtown and Swanville, is titled Even This Old Town Was a Forest (Now until Oct. 23), which is set in 1735 Toronto and examines how we got here, our colonial histories and how the past continues to haunt the future. Lastly the venue is hosting the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art which brings a series of performances from international emerging and established artists to the venue.


For all you starving artists, now until August 2017, theatre-goers can enjoy 15% off their meal at The Drake Hotel when they present their ticket for same-day performances.

Posted in: Community

Tags: Arts  Community  Food  Partnership  Stage  The Drake Hotel  The Theatre Centre