Toronto centre
for the arts

It was a time of transformation for the Toronto Centre for the Arts (TCA). Their main stage was being
split and the curtain was set to rise on two dramatic new performance spaces. What better
time to introduce a new website?

Since 1993, the Toronto Centre for the Arts has welcomed thousands of visitors, patrons, performers and artists through its grand main entrance. Their stages have hosted a pageant of world-class productions and legendary performers to please patrons, from Annie Lennox to Yo Yo Ma. They presented the world premieres of Tony Award-winning musicals Show Boat, Ragtime and Fosse before they headed to Broadway. TCA patrons have seen Diahann Carroll in the magnificent Sunset Boulevard and the legendary Christopher Plummer in Barrymore.

The Centre has presented countless orchestras, and is also the home of resident theatrical producer Encore Entertainment. The Classical Theatre Project (CTP) has enthralled and educated high school students in the same glorious performance space.

But what not all of the Centre’s audience members realize is that the TCA has two separate groups of customers: those who are purchasing an experience, and those who are renting a venue in which to create that experience.

And that was an important distinction for creating the Centre’s new site: that we were building an online venue for these two distinct, and equally important audiences. If we did a good job, we’d encourage a valuable chain reaction - helping the TCA sell more tickets would benefit their rental audience, which would increase the rentals, which would mean more shows for the TCA’s performance audience. “Et cetera, et cetera and so forth,” as the King of Siam would say.

By building a bridge between the two spaces, making a connection between the two worlds. And that’s where we perform. The TCA wanted a site to reflect their priorities for their two audiences. We created a digital transformation to complement their physical one.

The Centre has always been a versatile venue, with spaces not just for performances, but also for art shows, receptions and corporate presentations, among other uses. The revamped TCA has four theatres—the George Weston Recital Hall, which is widely recognized as one of the top concert venues in the world; the versatile "black box" design of the Studio Theatre; the inspiring new Greenwin Theatre, with its cutting-edge tension grid system; and the TCA’s literally multifaceted new jewel, the Lyric Theatre—plus the lobby, an upper and lower gallery and a VIP suite.

So how best to showcase these unique spaces? By designing the site to match the theatres, which are all individually branded by layout, fabrics, colours and tones. In essence, we created an online mate to the real-world theatre, allowing potential patrons to experience each space digitally before they visited in person.

We created a website that was easy to use, no matter which audience you were. We made it accessible, and mobile friendly, with clear and simple navigation to get all of the TCA’s audiences where they wanted to be online, in a digital environment that reflects the physical presence of the TCA. And we showcased the Centre and its offerings—using a clear calendar and compelling presentation of upcoming events—to lead visitors to their next step offline, whether that was buying a ticket or booking a theatre space.

The site has just been launched, so we can’t yet share the results. But we were delighted to work with the TCA on this challenging and inspiring project, and we thank them for this opportunity to tread these particular digital boards. We believe we’ve created an engaging and effective platform for this important cultural centre, one that works for all of their audiences. We look forward to sharing the results of the revamped site.

Creating connections. Exciting and delighting visitors. And presenting the community cultural asset that is the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Let the shows begin!

Meet the Team BEhind toronto centre for the arts

Project Skills

Website Design & Development: UX and design process, Drupal CMS
Training: Drupal CMS

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