With such historic and memorable theatres under its wing including Princess of Wales, Ed Mirvish, and The Royal Alexandra, it is no wonder why there is never a shortage of magic at Mirvish Productions. This year alone, the company has put on popular plays including Kinky Boots, Come From Away, The Phantom of the Opera and Roald Dahl's Matilda.
We recently spoke to Corporate Group and Events Coordinator Tiffany Tobias to give 10tation readers an inside look at what it takes to host an event of perfect Mirvish proportions.
While the venues are somewhat similar, everyone has unique experiences visiting the individual Mirvish locations. How would you yourself describe the following:
The Princess of Wales Theatre:
For me, the Princess of Wales is an impressive theatre that exudes both an elegance and modernity in its architecture. It was built in 1991 and I feel that the art work and, particularly, the ceiling mural really depicts this time and space beautifully. This is the theatre that has mounted some of the biggest musicals such as Miss Saigon, Book of Mormon and really highlights this grandiose feeling of ‘big musicals’ when you watch a performance there.
The Royal Alexandra Theatre:
The Royal Alexandra is a beautiful historical monument, not just in the world of theatre structures but as a significant structure in the city of Toronto. I admire the preservation of such antiquity in our city and any time I visit the theatre, I enjoy the intimacy of this playhouse as well as the intricate Edwardian designs of the furniture and artwork. It truly feels like you’re going back in time when visiting there.
The Ed Mirvish Theatre:
The Ed Mirvish was built back in the 1920s and has gone through many transformations over the decades. It boasts a majestic staircase with a beautiful mural extending across the ceiling that gives a feeling of nostalgia for the vaudeville era. The orchestra and mezzanine both have great ‘rakes’ for each row, maximizing the ability to watch any performance from every seat with great visibility.
What are the most common types of events booked in the rentable spaces within these theatres?
There are so many different events that are booked through each season that I don’t think we could narrow it down to one ‘type.’ These events can range from fundraisers, family & friend gatherings, corporate social outings to community group get-togethers. Further to this, it has really highlighted for me that regardless of your walk of life, everyone enjoys the art of theatre in a social setting.
What is a favourite feature of an event space in each of the theatres?
At the Princess of Wales, the Princess Suite; an event space that holds a capacity of approximately 25 people is a warm and friendly space made for a sizable group. It features a private restroom, bar and coat check while also giving the option to utilize catering – all in such an intimate setting. Conveniently, it’s right off the stair access from the Dress Circle and Balcony, making it quite easy to access when need be.
Secondly, at The Royal Alexandra Theatre, the Yale Simpson Lounge is an event space beneath the auditorium. It has a capacity of up to 300 people and boasts a magnificent chandelier, my personal favourite feature of the space, while also giving easy access to bar service, coat check, restrooms and catering services.
Finally, at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, the Yonge Street Gallery, which holds a capacity of 150 people, may only be used at intermission but is probably one of the most unique event spaces we have. Held between the Yonge Street entrance and the Mezzanine level of the theatre, this space highlights tons of artwork and also provides bar service and easy access to the restrooms.
What are some features that would set the event spaces apart when selecting one for a client or guest?
Rather than looking at differing features of an event space, clients tend to request a space based on the theatre where their preferred show of interest is being performed. As well, clients tend to consider an event space based on which space can reasonably accommodate the size of their group. That being said, every client requires something different – whether it’s the intimacy of a smaller space or the luxury of an event space that provides personal bar service and room for catering.
Which space would you say is the most popular / most booked?
Again, the focal point when booking an event space is central to the show of interest to the client rather than the event space itself. So, event space popularity will vary depending on what is currently onstage as well as the size of the group.
What would be the ongoing mission or inspiration for the event staff at Mirvish?
Generally speaking, I’d say the ongoing mission for the event staff at Mirvish is striving to provide the best service possible – working with our clients to ensure the success of their event and making it feel as unique and memorable as each of the clients are.
What are some future goals going into 2017?
Simply put, our future (and ongoing) goal going into 2017 is to expand our clientele by continuing to create a dynamic theatre experience that won’t just feel like another typical social outing. We want to provide amazing theatre experiences made unique to each client by catering to their requests as best as we can.
What is some advice you’d offer someone wanting to get into event coordination?
I would say you definitely need to be a ‘people person’. You also need to enjoy organizing and liaising with many different facets – the client, the caterer, the bar service, the event space managers (in our case, referred to as front of house management), parking services and so on and so forth. Listen carefully to what your client is looking for and find enjoyment in being an integral part of their creative process. In the end, it will make for a memorable and lasting experience for that client and will keep them coming back for more.