Crow’s Theatre Announces New State-of-the-Art Performing Arts Facility in Toronto’s East-End
Crow’s Theatre is thrilled to announce the launch of its new performing arts facility and community hub. This exciting news coincides with its 30th anniversary year as one of the country’s most acclaimed and award-winning independent theatres.
Endorsed through the City of Toronto Section 37 Planning Act as approved by City Council on October 30, 2012, Crow’s Theatre will be the first professional performing arts facility of its kind east of the Don Valley Parkway, an area that is home to over 1.3 million people.
“There couldn’t be a more auspicious moment to make this announcement,” comments Artistic Director, Chris Abraham. “Crow’s has spent three decades becoming one of Canada’s most important new play creators, and we will continue to bring our own award-winning original works to the stage, but also, a host of new live events, performances, art classes and community programming in the heart of Leslieville.”
Located at the landmark corner of Dundas Street East and Carlaw Avenue in the Leslieville neighbourhood on the ground floor of The Carlaw, the facility is made possible through a symbiotic partnership with Streetcar Developments, Toronto’s leading mid-rise urban real estate developer. “Streetcar has always been a community friendly development team with a strong affinity for the Arts,” notes Jason Garland, VP of Development for Streetcar, “realizing the vision for a cultural hub in Toronto’s east end has been a collaborative effort for two years now, and we feel the presence of Crow’s Theatre at The Carlaw is a perfect fit to help cultivate a variety of artistic talents and bring quality community programming to the state-of-the-art performing arts facility opening in 2015”.
Crow’s will house three spectacular venues for cultural and neighbourhood programming and events: a Multi-Configurational Theatre (200-seat); a Studio Space for rehearsals, intimate performances, and community programming; and a Gallery Bar and Café. The facility will launch with a world premiere that will be showcased as one of the signature pieces of the Pan/ParaPan Am Games in 2015.
The facility design is led by architect Joe Lobko and his award-winning team at DTAH Architects. Mr. Lobko is the principal architect behind notable city-building projects in the GTA, including Wychwood Barns and Evergreen Brickworks. The design team also includes Trizart Alliance (Theatre and Technical), Swallow (Acoustical), Crossey Engineering (Mechanical & Electrical), and A.W. Hooker (Cost Consultant).
“The development team is comprised of seasoned experts with a track record for creating inspiring and vibrant culture and community spaces. Our facility will maximize the dynamic mix of performing arts, community programming, and events,” says Managing Director, Monica Esteves. Key elements have been given priority focus: versatile functionality, superior acoustics and soundproofing, and a landmark design that attracts local residents and citywide patrons with its quintessential Leslieville charm. “The ultimate goal is a superior experience for our audiences, artists and neighbourhood.”
The East-End, particularly Leslieville, has seen remarkable revitalization over the past decade, yet accessible cultural and community space has not kept apace. With Toronto’s professional arts facilities largely clustered in the downtown core, Crow’s strives to serve as a core cultural hub for East-End residents and their families, thereby playing a meaningful role in the community’s continued transformation.
“I couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity to lay artistic roots in this part of the city which I have called home for over 10 years,” says Artistic Director, Chris Abraham. “I look forward to an expanded company mandate, beginning with nurturing and shaping a conversation with a growing and under- served audience that is hungry for contemporary theatre, and also designing a program to include unique opportunities for non-professionals to take an active part in artistic creation. The future will also see us partnering with other Toronto theatre organizations to bring a diverse range of professional work to our audience. In the lead-up to 2015, we will be increasingly visible in the neighbourhood with two exciting site-specific events coming down the pipe in 2013 — details will be announced in the coming months.”
Supporting the facility is an entrepreneurial business model that will diversify Crow’s earned revenue streams. Notably, operating revenue generated through social events will be directly channeled to support the artistic and community mandates, alleviating the pressure caused by limited public funding. As a financially-sustainable not-for-profit, Crow’s Theatre further exemplifies the objectives and recommendations stated by the City of Toronto’s Creative Capital Report (2011), including the development of new creative clusters and emerging cultural scenes to capitalize on their potential as generators of jobs and economic growth.
“This facility is an important opportunity to develop professional award-winning theatre with an entrepreneurial, creative mindset in an under-served market of Toronto,” says Board of Directors Chair, Takashi Yamashita, “Toronto City Council’s approval is a welcomed endorsement of the contribution the arts make to the economy and city-building. As next steps, the Board and Crow’s leadership are focused on executing the project with various key stakeholders and achieving results.”
Crow’s acknowledges its partner, Streetcar Developments, for their commitment to the project and generous assistance throughout the facility development. “Crow’s is fortunate,” states Yamashita.