The 700-seat Esplanade Theatre is a magical place. The state-of-the-art acoustic design, orchestra lift, and large stage are capable of accommodating a variety of musical or theatrical performances. Features include a full fly tower, orchestra pit, under floor traps, sound and lighting control booth, box office, plus a “quiet” room that affords a full view of the stage. The theatre will also function as a facility for conferences, graduation ceremonies, community events, and large-scale presentations or lectures.
Located directly across the luxurious Esplanade lobby, the studio theatre provides a smaller venue for performing arts productions catered to a more intimate setting. Also a great rehearsal space, the studio theatre is equipped with sound and lighting to accommodate theatrical, music or dance events for up to 140 people. Tables and chairs could be set up for an informal presentation, reception or meeting.
Built in 1889 by the Mercer Manufacturing Company to house their farm implement factory, the building sat apart from the original Village of Alliston. It was designed in the second empire style, similar to that of Canada’s Parliament buildings. The structure was made from local virgin timber and local brick.
In the early 1960’s the Gibson family bought the buildings on Tupper St. for their growing transport operation. The family knew when they acquired the location that underneath all the paint and feed supplies was an architecturally significant building. Although the building did not lend itself to their use, the Gibson’s were compelled to maintain ownership of the property.
On August 5, 2000, a group of community leaders presented a possible use for the building to the Gibson’s. The proposed use would fill a need in the community and provide for the restoration of the building. Leonard and Bing agreed, and handshakes out behind the building sealed the deal. The cost to the group would be $1 for the building and an acre of land.
Since the Gibson’s stipulated the donation of the building was to be to a non-profit corporation, a seven member board was struck and status was gained under the name Gibson Cultural Centre Corporation.