Newly renovated interior at Young People Theatre's 165 Front Street East location, including Celestial Creations mural by Indigenous artist Jay Soule, also known as Chippewar. Photo: Young People’s Theatre
Young People’s Theatre unveils transformative expansion project
2022

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.

 

YPT’s newly renovated heritage building at 165 Front Street East.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre

The Ada Slaight Stage at 165 Front Street East.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre

Newly renovated accessible washrooms at 165 Front Street East.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre

We were delighted to support the accessibility upgrades in Johanna’s memory.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre

Newly renovated interior at 165 Front Street East.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre

YPT 161 Studios – the new facility located across the street from the theatre at 161 Frederick Street. The new 12,000 square feet space features purpose-built spaces for YPT’s expanding education initiatives, community programs, and Drama School.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre

YPT 161 Studios includes three accessible studios/classrooms and barrier-free washrooms.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre

YPT Artistic Director Herbie Barnes, Executive Director Nancy Webster, and actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience) at YPT’s unveiling ceremony.

Photo: Young People’s Theatre