“We have the opportunity, through the development of this space, to shift the local performance ecology to better position artists and arts organizations. We're grateful for the ongoing support of funders at all levels of government, including the city, the province, and federal, but we're going to need the support of the public in the form of individual donations to complete the project.”

-Matthew Payne, Artistic and Executive Director 

The Vision

We are proud to share our plans for a new performing arts hub in downtown Victoria. Aiming to provide performance, rehearsal, and office space for artists and arts organizations, this hub takes on a pressing need for affordable small to mid-sized venues in the downtown core.      

In collaboration with Fold Architecture, we will design a multi-use space that directly responds to the documented need for rehearsal and performance space in the capital region. The project will convert the existing building at 716 Johnson Street to create three new performance spaces and two new rehearsal spaces, as well as office work spaces. 

The Rationale

In their Stage One report, published in December 2020, the Capital Regional District shared data collected about performing arts facilities. Of the 166 artists and arts organizations that responded, 69% indicated that they were ‘rarely or sometimes able to access’ affordable facilities for rehearsals and performance. 60% provided the same response when asked about accessing the right type of performance venue. An inventory of facilities included in the report indicates that only two venues (Intrepid Theatre Club, SKAM Satellite Studio) currently exist in downtown Victoria with a capacity less than 150 people.

Meant to be a home for artists and arts organizations, the initial designs shown here are intended to be the start of a larger conversation with the community about what the building should offer. Artists, arts organizations, and members of the general public will be invited to participate in a series of community engagement activities that will define a framework for creating a welcoming and shared community resource.

The Brass Tacks

Purchased at the end of 2022 for $2.4 million, 716 Johnson Street is currently leased by Raino Dance and Club Loading, who will remain tenants for the foreseeable future as funding and permitting is secured to renovate the building. The current cost to renovate the space is projected to be $1.5 - $2 million, which will be secured through funding from all government levels, as well as sponsors and individual donors. 

In the Media

CTV News Vancouver Island
November 28, 2023