Client: City of Toronto
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $4,560,000
Diamond Schmitt Architects
Theatre Consultants Collaborative Inc.
To adapt to changes in the live theatre market, the 1800-seat Toronto Centre for the Arts has been divided into two venues: a 300-seat black box theatre and a 574-seat proscenium theatre. The former occupies the stage and fly tower of the previous configuration. The larger room adapts the seating and balconies and adds a new stage. Creating distinct, sound-isolated theatrical environments while working with as much of the existing framework as possible drove the innovation to repurpose the facility and to realize the transformation in a sustainable manner and on a relatively modest budget.
This unusual project called for a signature design feature that would effectively rearrange the proscenium of the Lyric Theatre, provide a distinct identity for the Centre and enhance the theatrical experience. An innovative solution that addresses all three objectives is a system of lightweight architectural acoustic panels in bold geometric patterns that enwrap the audience and define the new proscenium.
Chevron-shaped fabric panels on a structural steel and tubular steel support system form the curved perimeter of the larger Lyric Theatre. Programmable LED lights within the fabric panels enhance this bold geometric pattern to allow for new forms of creative expression that can envelope the entire room in colour wash and movement in response to the dramaturgy. The lighting of each chevron panel can be controlled separately and presents infinite possibilities of expression.
Eventscape, known for its inventive installations for interior spaces, created, engineered and installed the custom architectural fabrication. Working closely with the architects to calibrate the ideal form, weight and structure, the team built many prototypes aided by Consullux Lighting Consultants. The artistic director of the Toronto Centre for the Arts also participated in the selection and introduced the idea to theatre producers and even directors and playwrights who took inspiration from its potential in order to develop original works and reinterpret existing repertoire.