Meridian Arts Centre Main Stage Reconfiguration
When the Meridian Arts Centre, formerly the Toronto Centre for the Arts, opened in 1993, it created the first major multi-stage, cultural hub beyond downtown Toronto. The Broadway model of large touring productions has waned in many markets and theatres have sought ways to renew and remain viable to a changing theatre-going public.
The Main Stage Reconfiguration Project creates two distinct theatres from the existing program space: the 300-seat black box Greenwin Theatre and the 580-seat Lyric Theatre. The proscenium of the original stage separates the two theatres, each with their own dedicated audience access. The larger room adapts the seating and balconies and adds a new stage.
A signature design feature was sought for the larger Lyric Theatre to effectively reduce the room size, maintain the acoustics, provide a distinct identity for the theatre, and enhance the theatrical experience.
Chevron-shaped fabric panels on a structural steel and tubular steel support system form the curved perimeter of the theatre. Programmable LED lights 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.
Similarly, the Greenwin Theatre, with its monumental 90-foot fly tower overhead, transforms a traditional black box configuration with the ability to illuminate and give dramatic expression to this ‘fifth wall’ of theatre.
The transformation of the Meridian Arts Centre provides a versatile, adaptable configuration for community-based theatre to reach a wider audience and build a base of support north of the city centre in a first-class facility.