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Centre in the Square looking to fill vacancies after KW Symphony folds

The theatre that was home to the KW Symphony for more than 40 years is now left to navigate a season without its staple performers.

The symphony folded earlier this month, leaving approximately 50 dates open at the Centre in the Square from September to May.

“Our colleagues at the KW Symphony have been part of our extended family since we opened in 1980,” Joe Henning, the interim general manager of Centre in the Square, said.

“They were a big part of our activity and I would say it’s difficult to try and fill the dates for this fall, but certainly for 2024 we’ll be looking to book as much as we possibly can.”

The outside of Centre in the Square seen on Sept. 26, 2023. (Stefanie Davis/CTV News Kitchener)Henning said it typically takes between four and eight months to book acts. He said the symphony paid less for the space than some other performers due to its high volume of performances.

“Our arrangement with the symphony was, I would say, appropriate for the level of activity they had here,” Henning said.

Kitchener’s mayor said it’s a major loss to the space, but now they’re looking ahead to other options.

“It’ll certainly create some new opportunities for us because there were some great Friday and Saturday dates that will now open up,” Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said.

Centre in the Square seen on Sept. 26, 2023. (Stefanie Davis/CTV News Kitchener)Financially, the centre expects to break even at the end of this year, which isn’t what it was originally projecting.

“We would have likely had a small surplus at the end of the year this year. That likely won’t happen now,” Vrbanovic said.

With some empty nights inevitable at the space, one music industry expert said it’ll be more than just the Centre in the Square that feels the fall out.

“When something like this happens to the orchestra, it loses something in terms of a tourist attraction to the Kitchener, Waterloo, London and Guelph Area,” expert Eric Alper said, adding there will be fewer people coming to town to visit local shops, restaurants and more.

Alper said there are some creative ways the centre could consider to fill the theatre.

“What they should be doing is reaching out to local businesses to see about conferences that they might be part of. This also opens up a place for schools to go and do very large performances,” Alper said.

While efforts to book acts continue, the mayor said the city is looking ahead to what the future will hold.

“In the coming weeks, there’s going to be discussions around what live music – in particular classical music and orchestra music – might look like in this community going forward,” Vrbanovic said. Top Stories

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