VIDEO: Take A Virtual Tour of the Princess of Wales Theater
To celebrate the 27th anniversary of the Princess of Wales Theater, Mirvish is taking you on an exclusive tour of the space!
On May 26, 1993, David and Ed Mirvish officially opened the Princess of Wales Theatre. With architecture by Peter Smith and interior design by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, it was the first new, privately built, stand-alone theatre in North America in over 50 years.
Like the theatrical palaces of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the Princess of Wales was designed to impress. Using classical techniques and the finest materials, the building dazzles with sumptuous finishes. Hand-laid terrazzo floors and mosaic ceilings. Gold-leaf columns. The theatre was named in honour of Diana, the Princess of Wales. Among the building's Unique Features are over 5,000 square feet of original artwork by abstract expressionist painter Frank Stella. His murals adorn the lobbies, lounges, and the auditorium interior. Each element of the building was custom designed and built for it. From the original furniture in the lounges ... to the polished red mahogany of the doors.
The bars even feature their own hourglass time pieces. The stairwells feature an eight-storey banner on which is a chronological listing of the hundreds of shows that have played here since the theatre's opening. Inside the auditorium, there's isn't a bad seat in the house. It's an oasis of plush red velvet and gold. Frank Stella even designed the row ends and the balcony fronts in abstract sculpture. His dome continues the whimsy of his murals as do the friezes above the stage proscenium.
Above the auditorium ceiling, there is a labyrinth of catwalks and machinery. High up in the follow-spot booth, the technicians have left their names of the title of each show - a age-old theatrical custom. The stage box has an 80-foot tall fly tower, where each show's scenery is hung out of sight of the audience until the moment when a scene has changed. The stage itself is massive - 60 feet by 40 feet. Backstage the design is much simpler but still comfortable. Outside the stage door on the rear outside wall of the fly tower is yet another Stella mural. It's faded a little since 1993, but at the bottom corner - as was the custom in Renaissance public murals - are drawings of the artist and his patron.