About Factory Theatre

Factory Theatre is a professional non-profit theatre in Toronto Ontario, founded as Factory Theatre Lab in 1970 by Ken Gass and Frank Trotz.  Factory was the first theatre to announce it would exclusively produce Canada plays but it soon became a widely emulated policy for other theatre companies.  Factory quickly became known as the home of the Canadian playwright.  It has been located ain a number of venues across the city of Toronto, finally moving to its current location in 1983. In 1999, the company was able to buy its building, which houses two theatres: the 200 seat MainStage proscenium theatre with balcony on the second floor and the flexible 'black box' Studio Theatre of 100 seats on the ground level.  It is currently lead by Co-Artistic Directors Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams with Managing Director Sara Meurling and continues to make a vital contribution to Canadian theatre.

Building History

Factory Theatre consists of two main buildings - the first is an 1869  house originally designed  by Architect Gundry and Langely and the second is a 1910 addition by J.M. Cowan.  The original building is also know as John Mulvery House.  It was given heritage status by the Ontario Heritage Board in 1987.

The original house was constructed in a classica Queen Anne Gothic design for the prominent merchant John Mulvey. The house's architectural features include:

  • an assymetrical facade
  • an irregular gabled roof
  • a fine buff brickwork with stone sills and hood mouldings
  • a Gothic arch entry

In 1909, the property was sold to the Roman Catholic Church, Parish of St. Mary and was used as their Arts and Literary Centre.

The larger addition to the compex was built in 1910 and designed by J.M. Cowan.  It includws a church hall set up in theatre style with an overhanging balcony still in use today. The addition's main architectural features all face Adelaide Street.  They are

  • a distinctive facade
  • a central oriel window
  • two flanking entrances with arched transoms

Before Factory Theatre occupied the building, it had been used as a residence, a manse, and a daycare.

In 2013 Factory Theatre undertook a renovation to make both theatre spaces accessible to the mobility challenged, with a new contemporary ground-level Courtyard Lobby with two walls of mullioned glass and housing a centralized box office and elevator to the MainStage.  The design is by unit a architecture based on original concepts by acclaimed hertiage Architect Philip Goldsmith.


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Building Activity