Trillium grant provides support to theatre Youth Academy

WATERLOO – Drayton Entertainment’s plans to create a home for community building and arts-based learning for youth is one step closer to reality, thanks to a $100,000 Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, (OTF).

The award-winning not-for-profit arts organization will renovate a former industrial space to create an accessible multi-use and multi-flex cultural incubator that will host a range of programs for young people throughout the Region of Waterloo.   

“I keep hearing from constituents that the arts and creative outlets are keeping them hopeful and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am thrilled that Drayton Entertainment is continuing to expand its reach in our community, with specific investment in youth. This Ontario Trillium Foundation Capital investment will further this critical work,” says Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife.

Budgeted at $3 million, the renovations will result in multiple rehearsal halls, classrooms, music rooms, and acting studios, all located adjacent to Drayton Entertainment’s Production Centre for the Technical Arts.

The resulting synergies will generate thousands of hours of new arts activity every year.

“With 800 performances on our various stages, current facilities are at capacity,”  stated Drayton Entertainment artistic director Alex Mustakas.

“Our new Youth Academy will provide the necessary physical footprint to deliver many exciting new programs for young people that will foster a lifelong appreciation for the arts.”

The theatre company states the project will “set Drayton Entertainment up for many more years of continued success as it adapts and evolves its acclaimed theatre model beyond theatre experiences to include other related activities – all of which will help it serve established, current, and future audiences. “

Theatre officials state the new Youth Academy underpins Drayton Entertainment’s commitment to supporting a broader generational shift in society and advancing inclusion for marginalized and underrepresented groups in the community, including youth identifying as Black, Indigenous, and/or Persons of Colour (BIPOC), LGBTQ+, new Canadians, and Persons with Disabilities.