The Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts is a 43,000-square-foot multi-use cultural facility on 1.5 acres of land directly on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill’s downtown core, at the corner of Yonge and Wright Streets.
The Town of Richmond Hill Council approved the site of the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts at the former site of the old Town Hall in September 2003. The centre was designed by Jack Diamond and his firm Diamond and Schmitt Architects. The 30 million dollar construction project was the largest ever undertaken by the town. The centre integrated the fully restored Richmond Hill High School (circa 1897), which houses the Centre’s administrative offices and commercial space (Cover notes Tea and Coffee House).
The Centre includes Main Auditorium seating 631 guests, the largest seating capacity of any theatre in the York Region, The 150-seat Rehearsal Hall with a flexible configuration for interactive presentations, dinner theatre, award ceremonies and corporate events, Lobby Galleries where an array of visual arts are displayed, Outdoor Piazza for exhibitions of large-scale art and productions and presentations in the open air, Multi-purpose rooms for meetings, classrooms etc, and Restored Heritage Building which houses the Centre’s administrative offices on the second floor while future commercial and/or retail spaces are being considered for the ground level.
In addition, the theatre is the largest of its kind in the York Region with a full hydraulic orchestra pit (which can be raised to stage level) and a three-storey fly system capable of flying in large set pieces. Its 30,000 square ft backstage area allows for the largest touring shows. The theatre will also have provisions for audio recording.
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts is home to the Ontario Concert Choir and the York Youth Symphony Orchestra. It also provides space for local community groups such as Peter Pan, Richmond Hill’s Children’s Musical Theatre, and many others. The facility hosts a variety of events including theatre, dance, music concerts (classic and modern), recording artists (local and international), lectures, receptions etc. In addition to this, it also includes several programs with funding from all three levels of government – municipal, provincial and federal – that provide developmental programs in the arts aimed at children and youth, beginning with Early Learning programs like the Little Rockers program through to school programs like Art Time in the Schools and Arts Alive!, and culminating in programs offered by professional cultural organizations such as Ontario Concert Choir, Richmond Hill Pops Orchestra and others.
The theatre offers an annual educational series featuring productions (theatre, dance and music) and workshops for young people. They also offer workshops for adults on a wide range of topics from Shakespeare workshops to yoga workshops.
In 2006, the Centre for Performing Arts launched a special educational program called Firebird Fire, aimed at introducing children in pre-school and school grades to dance. The workshops are dedicated to getting kids away from video games and computers and incorporating physical activity into their lives, with workshops that have included hip hop lessons with Young Nations. This is just one of the many workshops offered throughout the year.
The centre provides educational workshops for adults on a variety of topics including workshops on plays by Shakespeare as well as yoga workshops. They also provide workshops for youth such as dance workshops where students get hands-on experience about dance styles from around the world while learning how to make dancing a part of their daily lives. These workshops can be anything from hip-hop workshops with Young Nations to flamenco workshops.
Overall, the Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts is a great location to host any event. It provides space for theatre, dance and music events as well as workshops throughout the year which will benefit adults and children alike.
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