New Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge will do the job!

Written on March 14th, 2013

Come to Cambridge!

It’s not ostentatious, there’s nothing flowery or especially fancy about it. There’s no plush carpet, no crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceilings. It’s almost austere. But to a fan of live theatre, the new Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge is beautiful.

With walls of glass, the building is attractive enough from the outside. But there’s no flashing theatre marquee over the door. In fact, the beauty is in the simplicity.dunfield-theatre 2

Inside the 500 seat theatre, there is plenty of room. Seats are spacious, and like Huron County Playhouse, the rows are far apart enough that latecomers (and why is that latecomers are always seated in the centre?) can squeeze in without making everyone stand or step aside. The sight-lines are good and the sound is excellent. The stage includes the high ceiling so that scenes and backdrops can “fly” up for changes, and in fact, actors on stage can fly, too (and they make good use of that ability in Mary Poppins!)

The word that comes to mind is “serviceable”. This is a good serviceable theatre – any theatre goer will be able to concentrate on the story onstage and not be distracted by the surroundings.

Six years in the making, and costing $14 million, this theatre was built thanks to a partnership between the governments of Canada and Ontario, the City of Cambridge, Drayton Entertainment, and a donation from Dunfield Retirement homes.

The new theatre is located in the south end of Cambridge, in the old Galt area. It shares a parking lot with the various outlet stores located in the rustic old buildings that were once textile mills in Galt.

The new Dunfield Theatre is part of the Drayton Entertainment family, which includes the Drayton Festival Theatre (Drayton), King’s Wharf Theatre (Penetanguishene), Huron Country Playhouse & Playhouse II (Grand Bend), and the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse & Schoolhouse Theatre (St. Jacobs).

Congratulations to Drayton Entertainment – bringing a brand new theatre to fruition is no easy feat. We are fortunate it’s right here in southwestern Ontario. And that’s a beautiful thing!



9 Responses to “New Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge will do the job!” | Add Your Thoughts

  1. I’ll try this one again. The people in Cambridge are not excited about the building. The letters to the editor of The K/W Record made that pretty clear last year when they began to build. I hope Drayton Theatre brings a good steady run of plays. I was sort of surprised that they began with Mary Poppins.

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Jim. It would appear that some in Cambridge are embracing the new theatre – there’s a list of generous donors in the Drayton literature. And when we were there last week, the theatre seemed to be full of people who are new to live theatre. So I assume they were Cambridge folks bringing the kids to see Mary Poppins. (I hope they brush up on their theatre etiquette soon – saw some folks trying to take photos with cell phones, and others talking out loud, commenting on the show, just as if they were watching TV at home.) As someone who works in economic development in my day job, I know that a theatre is great cultural attraction and therefore an economic development tool for small business. I’m sure Cambridge businesses will soon see the benefit! For example, I shopped in the outlet mall, found some shoes and boots, and we ate in a restaurant. We would never shop or eat in Cambridge if the theatre wasn’t there!
    Being a big fan of musical theatre, I hope Drayton sticks with their tried and true musicals, rather than plays. Why see just acting, if you can see singing, dancing and acting? Drayton’s slogan has always been “music and laughter”, so I think Cambridge can expect lots of musicals and comedies. Mary Poppins was a great choice to kick-start their new theatre: It’s a comparatively new musical, opening in London’s West End in 2004 and Broadway in 2006. It hasn’t been seen on stage around here before: I was lucky enough to catch the Broadway tour in Detroit in 2010 and Toronto in 2011. (And I hope to see Mary fly again in Grand Bend this summer!) Mary Poppins is a great show for all ages, with humour kids and adults can appreciate and wonderful singing and dancing. It’s well-suited to a new venue, because it will draw across generations and attract & convert new theatre-goers.

  3. The people who write into the newspaper do not qualify as the majority. I live, work and play in Cambridge and have already became a member of Drayton Theatre to enjoy everything they offer. Many of our friends and neighbors have seen Mary Poppins and have plans to see at least one more from the selection for 2013/2014. What Jim says does not represent Cambridge. It represents a very small population.

  4. I agree with Kristina! Jim and the others of his ilk are the Grim Reapers who shake their heads and wag their fingers at anything that looks like it might be a new direction for the city. Cambridge is so full of fabulous things that I could write a whole article myself! Artists, galleries, the School of Architecture, great restaurants, interesting stores and for the most part, really nice people! I moved here about 6 years ago from Kitchener (I am originally a Torontonian) and absolutely love it here…pinch myself everytime I cross the Main Street Bridge. So I really hope that those coming to check out the new theatre (and I saw Mary Poppins the other weekend and highly recommend it) will take a bit of time to explore the city centre and all that it has to offer….and you can drop by C’est Cheese Please! and say hello to me too!!

  5. Sorry that everyone doesn’t enjoy my comments, but that was nothing new. I was a newspaper editor long enough to know that everyone doesn’t like the same books, the same movie, the same song, the same play. That’s why we have free speech. The thing that is important here is to be polite in expressing that free speech..

  6. I would like to know how I would get to dunfield theatre from Burlington

  7. Hi Mel

    Copy & paste this link to go to Drayton Entertaiment’s website and they give directions to the theatre.
    Have fun!

  8. I hate the dunfield threatre. It is too modern. I lived in Cambridge area for 30 years and thought the city would have something to be proud of but dunfield is certainly not it. I only go there if the act such as the Old Fellows was on and I could not see it any other place.I have been a member of drayton as long as it has been in exsistence.

  9. Sorry to hear that. Yes, I guess it’s modern. But I like the fact that it is functional and in tough economic times, they went ahead and built it. It’s plain and efficient and does the job. These days there just isn’t the funding for fancy stuff, and I think theatre goers might have resented the fact that money was spent on frills. The same good entertainment is on the stage, the same as other Drayton venues, so I’m happy to blog about the shows there.

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