Drayton Entertainment's Evolving Story
An award-winning, not-for-profit charitable organization, Drayton Entertainment produces the finest in live theatre at seven venues in southwestern Ontario. Each theatre maintains its distinct identity, but at the same time, combines the strengths and energy of all to provide an entertainment experience that is unparalleled.
The stage for success was first set in 1991, with the launch of the Drayton Festival Theatre. Under the tutelage of founding and current Artistic Director, Alex Mustakas, the theatre was an immediate triumph.
As popularity continued to grow, in 1997 a second stage was added in St. Jacobs – the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre.
The King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene followed suit in 1999. Nestled within Discovery Harbour on Georgian Bay, the rustic theatre was a perfect complement with the venues in Drayton and St. Jacobs.
An icon in summer stock, the Huron Country Playhouse joined the Drayton Entertainment family of theatres in 2001. There are two stages on the property – the 650-seat Mainstage and the 300-seat South Huron Stage (formerly Playhouse II).
Located in the heart of Waterloo Region’s Market District, the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse opened to instant acclaim in 2005 and operates year-round in this popular tourism mecca.
The newest venue in Cambridge opened to great acclaim in 2013 as the Dunfield Theatre Cambridge. In 2018, it was renamed the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge in recognition of the sustained support of local philanthropists John & Terry Hamilton. Situated in a historic downtown setting along the Grand River, the complex includes a 506-seat theatre alongside consolidated administration, production and wardrobe facilities for Drayton Entertainment.
Drayton Entertainment’s distinctive business model provides protection from the inherent fragility of the theatre industry, while providing an outlet for growth and prosperity. This has positive implications for artists, designers, sponsors, advertisers, and most importantly, theatre patrons – all of whom enjoy enhanced opportunities both on and off the stage.
By successfully balancing the competing demands of quality productions, fiscal responsibility, and community integrity, Drayton Entertainment has emerged as a true innovator and leader for arts and culture in Canada.
Professional Industry Associations
Drayton Entertainment is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) and engages professional artists under the terms of the Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA). Drayton Entertainment acknowledges the generous support of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA).
The Musicians and Music Director/Conductor engaged for Drayton Entertainment productions are members of the Canadian Federation of Musicians and are performing in the jurisdiction of Central Ontario Musicians’ Association, Local 226 (Drayton Festival Theatre, Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge, St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre); London Musicians’ Association, Local 279 (Huron Country Playhouse); Toronto Musicians’ Association, Local 149 (King’s Wharf Theatre).
Drayton Entertainment is a proud participant in the Not In OUR Space! collaborative pilot project between PACT and CAEA, which supports our company's mandate regarding zero tolerance of workspace harassment and violence in our theatres.
A Few Facts About Drayton Entertainment
What started off as a fledgling theatre in the village of Drayton, Ontario has grown into a national phenomenon in Canadian theatre. In the span of two decades the charitable organization has grown to include seven theatres operating in five unique communities.
Drayton Entertainment does not receive funding from any level of government for its annual operations – it is a model of sustainability studied throughout North America.
Annual attendance exceeds 250,000, making Drayton Entertainment one of the largest professional theatre companies in Canada. It is also recognized by Canadian Actors' Equity Association as one of the largest employers of professional artists in Canada.
Drayton Entertainment is the proud recipient of an unprecedented 6 Lieutenant Governor's Awards for the Arts – a prestigious honour bestowed on arts organizations that exemplify outstanding private sector and community support.
Drayton Entertainment is supported by an extensive network of 2,500 Members, which enables the organization to close the gap between ticket revenue and production and administration expenses. This enables the organization to produce the finest in professional lighthearted entertainment at a reasonable price for all to enjoy.
Drayton Entertainment is overseen by a volunteer 12-member Board of Directors.
Drayton Entertainment was founded on volunteerism, and that strong sense of community involvement is still apparent today, with volunteer activity exceeding 30,000 hours each year.
Drayton Entertainment believes in giving back to the communities in which it operates, and each year donates over 2,000 tickets to over 750 charities for their own fundraising efforts. This includes the United Way, community sports teams and high schools, Rotary Clubs and Royal Canadian Legion branches.