55 Queen St.
Map to the Festival Theatre
Detailed Seating Map - pdf
History and stage
The Festival Theatre began in 1953 as a tent standing over a wooden thrust stage which was surrounded on three sides by the audience. Such a stage had not been seen by theatre-goers for centuries. Designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch to specifications proposed by Tyrone Guthrie, this stage has subsequently influenced the design of over a dozen other theatre buildings throughout the world.
With the overwhelming success of the Festival’s first season, plans were made for a permanent structure. Designed by architect Robert Fairfield, the award-winning building opened in 1957.
The building and its stage have seen a number of changes since then, the most recent of which took place in 2007. At that time the Festival Theatre Store was relocated to the Discovery Centre, and the theatre lobby opened up to allow space for new amenities, including a café.
Click here for an expanded article about the historical significance of the Festival Stage.
Food and Beverage
The Festival Theatre houses a licensed café where you can enjoy light lunches, pastries, ice cream and other sweet treats. There are three licensed bars in the theatre where you can enjoy wine, beer and spirits (but no mixed cocktails), as well as bar snacks and small baked goods.
The theatre also houses two private lounges for our generous supporting Members. Those at the Playwright’s Circle level are welcome to visit the PWC Lounge, and those at the Benefactor level and higher are invited to visit the Eaton Lounge.
The Festival location of the Theatre Store is in the Discovery Centre – the red-brick building across the parking lot from the theatre. It offers a wide selection of books, music, giftware and souvenirs. Open before performances, and sometimes during intermission and afterwards, depending on the time of year. We recommend shopping before the performance.
Entry to all seating is by aisles from the rear of the auditorium.
The theatre is wheelchair accessible, and a limited number of designated special-access parking spaces are available nearby. Service and Guide dogs are welcome in all our theatres; we ask patrons with service dogs to sit on an aisle or in our special access seating. House Programs are available in Braille and can be borrowed from the coat check staff at Aisle 1. All theatres are equipped with a wireless hearing assistance system. Please reserve your headsets in advance.
For complete information on all of our accessibility services, click here.
Complimentary booster seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please see an usher for assistance. They are available in both the balcony and orchestra levels.
Limited parking is available in front of the theatre and behind the adjacent Discovery Centre; the cost is $15, or $10 if you have a special access sticker. You may park for $10 in a large parking lot on Queen Street just below the theatre. (Parking is available here only during performances.) Limited free parking is available on both sides of the Avon River where not prohibited, as well as along the circular drive in Upper Queen’s Park beside the theatre.
If you’d like to learn more about this incredible venue, consider taking a Festival Theatre tour. You can also tour the theatre's spectacular gardens during the summer months.