An acoustical and architectural jewel, Centre In The Square, was designed by Rieder, Hymmen and Lobban, and opened in September, 1980. The cost to build The Centre was just over $11 million.
The focal point of the spacious building is the Raffi Armenian Theatre, one of North America's most expansive, acoustically- superior halls. Specially-designed to deliver optimal acoustics, performers rave about how they are heard with the same warmth and brilliance in the very last row as in the first.
The 2,047-seat design offers exceptional, unobstructed views of the stage, which is one of the largest stages in North America. As well, The Centre offers state-of-the-art sound, lights and theatrical systems. In addition, a design priority was to facilitate recording and broadcasting.
Located within The Centre is The Studio, a multi-purpose space used for receptions, rehearsals, cabarets and private functions.
Also located in The Centre is the Kitchener/Waterloo Art Gallery which boasts excellent exhibit spaces.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony calls The Centre home for its main performance space. The Symphony acknowledges that the splendid acoustics of The Centre are an important element to its success.
Every year, approximately 190,000 audience members attend a variety of events including everything from dance, symphony, international stars, children's performers, mega-musicals, comedians, to magic and more!
The Centre is also a location-of-choice for corporate meetings and private functions.
The Centre offers a performance space second to none. Areas groups who use The Centre's stage on a regular basis include the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Grand Philharmonic Choir and Kitchener Waterloo Musical Productions.
Owned by the City of Kitchener, The Centre was incorporated in 1981 as a corporation without share capital. The Centre is governed by a 14-member board, which includes the mayor, three city councillors, and eight citizens appointed by Kitchener City Council.
In 1997, in response to a technical audit, which was undertaken as part of The Centre's Strategic Plan, the board established a fundraising committee which was charged with the responsibility of securing a major donor.
In January, 1998 such a donor was announced; Klaus and Anna Woerner and their family, of ATS Automation Tooling Systems, gave The Centre a gift of $5,000,000 over 5 years. This gift, unprecedented in its munificence, illustrates the Woerners' deep commitment to the arts and to the community.
During the summer of 1998, The Raffi Armenian Theatre was the focus of renovations as some of the Woerner gift was used to replace the seats, curtains, and banners to give the hall a modern, new look.
In 2003, an InnovaSon Sy80 digital live mixing console was installed in our Raffi Armenian Theatre. The first of its type to be installed in Canada, the Sy80 console will be used to mix a wide variety of performances. The console was selected to replace the analog console at the theater for a combination of reasons, as chief engineer Bob Luffman explained: "This console has allowed The centre to handle much larger and more sophisticated productions and because it is digital allows for a much faster set-up time. The Sy80 console is used to mix a wide variety of performances."