Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge, Ontario Arts Building, Canadian Architecture

Dunfield Theatre, Cambridge, Ontario

Canadian Arts Building – design by Diamond Schmitt Architects

8 Mar 2013

Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge, Ontario

Drayton Entertainment opens Dunfield Theatre

Design: Diamond Schmitt Architects


March 8, 2013, TORONTO – One of the largest performing arts companies in Canada is set to open a ‘cultural hub’ and 500-seat theatre in Cambridge, Ontario. Drayton Entertainment inaugurates its seventh and largest venue, Dunfield Theatre tonight. The facility consolidates the company’s operations under one roof and revitalizes the riverfront district of this historic city.

Dunfield Theatre Cambridge Arts Building, Ontario
picture Courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects

A design team led by Gary McCluskie, Principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects, created a limestone, metal and glass structure that reflects the former industrial heritage of the neighnourhood. The volumes of the building act as a series of progressions to capitalize on the natural slope of the site and provide enhanced functionality to a large back-of-house program. There are five multi-purpose rehearsal stages plus wardrobe and set design, administrative offices for 60 people and living accommodation for 33 artists.

“As the creative centre for all of Drayton’s shows at different stages of production, rehearsal and performance, this versatile facility creates a strong sense of theatre community and creativity,” said McCluskie, whose previous performing arts projects include Maison Symphonique in Montreal and the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

The auditorium is designed for intimacy and spectator engagement with only 62 (19m) feet separating the stage from the last row in the 80-seat balcony. Diamond Schmitt configured the acoustics for the amplified room, which has a large wood-lined proscenium.

“This is not only a facility for Drayton to grow into but also to accommodate other types of performance and be accessible to the community, where a symphony can perform and local theatre groups can rehearse and build their sets,” said Steven Karcher, Executive Director with Drayton Entertainment.

Ample public amenity space includes a double-height lobby that overlooks a large forecourt and a second-floor event room for 80 people that can be booked along with the balcony for private functions.

The third floor dormitory-style accommodation has pods of four to six single bedrooms around a common room and kitchen. Loading docks have direct access to both stage level and the second floor workshops. The 53,500sf (4,900m2) facility was built for $14 million.

“This is a unique complex, there’s nothing else quite like this,” added Karcher.

Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge, Ontario image / information from Diamond Schmitt Architects

Diamond Schmitt Architects

Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

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