Drayton Entertainment’s new Dunfield Theatre had its grand opening in March with the popular play, Mary Poppins, which sold out completely during its last three weeks, Drayton’s executive director Steven Karcher said.
Downtown Galt already has a strong infrastructure, with many restaurants and attractions to bring people to it. Dunfield Theatre is now another place for people to spend their time and enjoy.
“The theatre is going to positively impact in a number of ways,” Karcher said. Drayton believes it will affect Cambridge culturally, socially, economically and educationally. Socially, the venue will gather people together not only to watch the performances, but for councils and meetings as well, making it a multipurpose theatre, Karcher said.
Dunfield’s economic contribution will be to the benefit of the hospitality core, the restaurants, accommodations and businesses.
General Manager of the Cambridge Mill restaurant on Water Street, Todd Diamond, said having Dunfield near has been very positive. Not only with bringing out-of-towners and local people to the restaurant to eat pre or post-show, but with bringing tour groups in for the Mill to organize a meal for. They’ve had more than 30 tours brought in so far. The Mill and Dunfield Theatre have a marketing partnership, and each promotes the other.
“The theatre has been great to work with and very supportive of our business,” Diamond said.
Dunfield will also contribute educationally, Karcher said. There is programming for school groups in the fall, where they can give children exposure to the theatre, something some kids may never have seen before.
Karcher said Cambridge has a strong infrastructure to support tourists, a great, established network to bring people to Cambridge, and then once they’re here they discover the downtown core and the Dunfield Theatre. “I think working together speaks very well for the future of Cambridge,” Karcher said.
Mary Poppins was the first show for Dunfield, which ran from March until the end of April. “We were very thrilled with how the show was received by audiences,” said Karcher. Audiences included people who had never seen live theatre before, he added.
Drayton Entertainment had been the first company to receive permission to put on Mary Poppins so that succeeded in creating a lot of excitement for the play. Many people had their expectations exceeded, Karcher said, and are very excited to make return visits for future shows at Dunfield.
Dunfield has a very diverse, long and ambitious season ahead for its inaugural period, Karcher said. Coming up are five more productions before the end of the year: Big Band Legends, Sorry… I’m Canadian, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Lend me a Tenor, and Peter Pan.
The first to come is Big Band Legends, which will hit Dunfield Theatre on June 12 to 22. Tickets are selling out fast and can be bought on Drayton Entertainment’s website, draytonentertainment.com.
“We knew that in order for the theatre to be successful, we would need the support of the community,” Karcher said. “We’re very grateful for that.”