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Stratford City Council gives green light for Stratford Festival to proceed with Tom Patterson theatre project

February 2, 2018…Stratford City Council voted last night to sell the property known as 48 Water Street to the Stratford Festival, paving the way for the Festival to build a new Tom Patterson Theatre at its current site.

While there are still some details to be worked out before the sale is finalized, the Festival hopes to begin construction in March.

"We are grateful to members of Stratford City Council and the community they represent for their support of the development of the new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre," said Executive Director Anita Gaffney. "We respect the process that was followed and have taken our lead from Council and City staff each step of the way. We have worked closely with the leadership at City Hall to put forward a plan that allows the theatre development to proceed while caring for the needs of the community. We commit to creating a new venue that will represent a point of pride for the City of Stratford and the surrounding region. Construction is set to begin in March and we hope to unveil the new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre with the launch of our 2020 season."

"As an artist who has raised his family in this one-of-a-kind city, I am extremely grateful to City Council and the City of Stratford, and I know that the thousands of people employed, attending and supporting the Stratford Festival share in that gratitude," said Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. "I'm excited about what a new Tom Patterson Theatre will do to advance our art, make Stratford even more beautiful and increase the viability of the Festival in the future.‎ I greatly appreciate the positive manner in which all of the negotiations took place, with all of us focused on building a more vibrant community for our children and grandchildren."

"On behalf of City Council, I can say that we're excited by the opportunities that a new, world-class Tom Patterson Theatre Centre will create in our community, not only from a cultural standpoint, but also from an economic one," said Mayor Dan Mathieson. "This is a legacy project that will have a significant and meaningful impact on both residents and visitors for generations to come."

The new Tom Patterson Theatre has been designed by Siamak Hariri, of Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini. Winner of more than 50 architectural awards, including the Governor General's Medal, Mr. Hariri was the architect behind the breathtaking Baha'i Temple of South America. Closer to home, he designed the Richard Ivey Building at Western University in London, Ont.

With inspiration taken from the glorious riverside setting, the new theatre's design features undulating walls of shimmering glass, hung with thin bronze mullions. At the heart of the building, clad in softly lime-washed brick masonry, is the auditorium, designed to honour all that is cherished about the beloved Tom Patterson Theatre. A terraced garden, beautiful enough to be a landmark in itself, will stretch from one end of the site to the other.

The federal government has allocated $20 million to the project, and a further $20 million has been promised by the Ontario government. Gifts of $10 million have come from Festival Board Chair Dan Bernstein and his wife, Claire Foerster, as well as from Ophelia Lazaridis, a long-time member of the Board of Governors. A further $10 million has been raised to date, for a total of $70 million. Last month the Festival launched a $100-million campaign for the new facility. Approximately $68 million is earmarked for the building, with the remainder to be used to support the expanded programs it will house.

"We are eager to get moving on the magnificent design Siamak has created for us. Rebuilding the Tom Patterson Theatre is a key aspect of our strategic plan, and vital to the future success of the Stratford Festival," said Mr. Cimolino.

The Festival has agreed to pay the City $4.9 million for the property, including $900,000 in transition costs, which will cover the renovation costs associated with moving the Stratford Lakeside Active Adults Association to the Stratford Agriplex and relocating the Stratford Lawn Bowling Club to the municipal golf course.

The Stratford Festival has leased the Tom Patterson Theatre from the City of Stratford for 46 years. The building, originally constructed as a curling rink, is approaching the end of its viable life and the auditorium itself was desperately in need of updates to bring it to the level of other Festival venues. The Festival held its final performance in the Tom Patterson Theatre on October 1, 2017.


More information about the Tom Patterson Project.

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