In late September, Young People’s Theatre (YPT) proudly unveiled their new and transformed spaces, and ushered in the next era in the company’s 57-year history. As Canada’s largest and oldest professional theatre for young audiences, the company produces and presents a full season of theatre and arts education programming, serving approximately 150,000 patrons annually.
For years, YPT had struggled with the constraints of a space that no longer fit their purposes. This led the company to embark on ambitious decade-long expansion project, Room for Imagination, which included both significant renovations at its existing 123-year-old heritage building and the addition of a brand new facility across the street — YPT 161 Studios.
One significant element of the renovations was the enhanced accessibility features throughout the heritage building, including redesigned box office and concession spaces with both accessible and touch-free patron features, and upgrades to backstage areas and dressing rooms with barrier-free features to better accommodate artists with varying abilities.
It was in this aspect of the project where the Metcalf Foundation saw an opportunity to commemorate Johanna Metcalf — who we lost in 2018. Johanna was a lifelong devotee and supporter of the arts and at the heart of our work for decades. As an arts funder, she was always motivated by a desire to help companies and artists overcome barriers. Supporting the accessibility upgrades in Johanna’s memory honours her legacy as someone who sought to be present in the spaces that were often overlooked, but crucially important.