The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Opens Its Doors

Cover Oct 8, 2010

You’re In For A Big Night Out!
The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Opens Its Doors

Story and Photographs: Natasha Slinko

Just when you thought something couldn’t get any better, it does. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts unveiled its swank all new look in celebration of the 50th Anniversary Season on Friday, October 1st, 2010. The press was invited for a sneak peep earlier in the week.

The Centre has gone through many shows and many changes. Torontonians first fell in love with it as The O’Keefe Centre and brought their families to experience the arts from its opening on October 1st 1960. At one point it was briefly re-branded as The Hummingbird Centre, but in truth most Torontonians still called it the “O’Keefe”.

Dan Brambilla, CEO of The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, says that it has been “an incredible undertaking” but that they are “eager to welcome Torontonians into the venue to see the exciting new technologies integrated with the magnificent architectural beauty of this historic building”.

The Surround Sound WallThe Surround Sound WallA huge undertaking of renovations, design, new technologies and innovations, this wonderful theatre is now being re-launched in its 50th season of celebrating the Arts as The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

The renovations have been meticulously planned and a surprising target date with a two-year time frame, an incredible undertaking, has been reached. As to be expected with Sony for a sponsor, the sound is impeccable in the theatre. No expense was spared, and you can definitely hear the difference in the floor-to-ceiling surround sound walls, that architecturally speaking, look stunning.

From the design to the materials, everything has been considered and created to enhance the theatre experience, through sound, sight, touch and comfort; from the seating right down to having a special beverage holder in every seat. From matching the right woods, colours and stains, to finding the hidden treasures of marble and coned ceilings.

The cast of iD and founder Jeannot PainchaudThe cast of iD and founder Jeannot PainchaudOpenings and re-openings are common fare, but the team at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts has taken it much further. They want the Centre to be an experience that doesn’t end, even when the show does. They are inviting the public to “come on in”, and see how they have preserved this incredible theatre, uncovered some of its hidden beauty and enhanced and polished what was so special about this historic theatre in the first place.

A one-stop-shop but in a cultural, innovative, cool and eclectic way. No other theatre is doing things quite like this, and once again Sony is bringing quality and innovation to the people and visitors of Toronto. Everyone is in on the change. Bustle has designed and produced a collection for uniforms for the entire staff. Doormen, ushers, security, kitchen staff and management; all will be heading into work in Bustle style.

The programming is multi-cultural and cross-generational, following the flow of Toronto itself. From iD, the hip-hop theme of Cirque Eloize, to the Russian Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet’s Swan Lake, to Kodo Drummers of Japan, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas-The Musical to the Canadian Tenors & Friends (Christmas) Concert, there is something for every demographic, age and culture.

Some lobby artSome lobby artTorontonians will also be introduced to Breakin’ Convention, the critically acclaimed International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre and the 1964… Tribute (to quote Rolling Stone Magazine “The Best Beatles Tribute ever”. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts has a mandate to offer programming of appeal to Torontonians of all ages and cultures.

It’s not only about the show, it’s aiming for a total experience. The international theatre shows are being paired with international food menus. Media was treated to a taste of the variety of foods that will be available with the various different programs, and the verdict is in, it was all delicious.

The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is also opening its doors as an event rental facility for corporate and private functions. Dan Brambilla happily announced that he and the love of his life Nancy, recently celebrated their wedding reception in the beautiful lobby of the Sony Centre. It truly must have been a stunning event.

Sony's Stairway to HeavenSony's Stairway to HeavenThe Sony Centre for the Performing Arts doors are always open and they have extended an invitation to all of Toronto to come in, stay awhile and enjoy the view. This invitation is extended to people even without a theatre ticket. The Sony Centre would like Torontonians to come and enjoy the beauty of this incredible building, sit at the bar over a relaxing drink and maybe have a bite to eat. See the latest developments in Sony 3D technology, browse through the art gallery or shop at The Sony Store.

Come in for an after work drink and stay awhile, be it for another drink, dinner or even to enjoy the incredible collection of shows. View the Hall of Fame wall with multiple screens; see all the incredible people and shows that have graced the stage in the history of this wonderful theatre.

The New Season at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts 50th Anniversary was launched by the Cirque Eloize, direct from a sold-out run in Montreal, the new production of iD, which has been described as “West Side Story gone hip-hop circus”.

The historic marquee's new lookThe historic marquee's new look

Created by Jeannot Painchaud, founder and artistic director of Montreal’s Cirque Eloise. iD runs for six performances from October 1 – 9, 2010, and is sure to be back for a return run in the future.

Anyone into Toronto’s culture scene should drop by and check out The Sony Centre for Performing Arts. It’s got loads of ‘wow’ factor and enough hooks to guarantee a return visit.

As their slogan says “You’re In For A Big Night Out”… and everyone is welcome!