September 26, 2023
Second Metropolis Toronto celebrates in new residence

Christian Collington , The Canadian Press

Printed Wednesday, November 30, 2022 5:33PM EST

The previous few years for the Second Metropolis Toronto have been difficult.

The improv and sketch comedy firm was ousted from its residence within the coronary heart of Toronto’s leisure district in July 2019 to make room for a brand new highrise residential constructing. That despatched it to a brief efficiency and coaching area west of town’s core because it awaited building of a brand new venue.

Then got here the COVID-19 pandemic and public well being measures that despatched folks residence and shuttered stay occasion areas. With at-home streaming immediately the principle supply of comedy leisure for many, Second Metropolis alum, comic and actor Colin Mochrie puzzled how Second Metropolis would lure audiences again.

That’s the problem now, Mochrie says because the Second Metropolis Toronto opened a sprawling new occasion area that instructions the whole third ground of a downtown tower Wednesday.

“Over the pandemic, it actually hit residence what a vital service comedy is,” says Mochrie, whose TV credit embrace “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

“Folks, throughout lockdown, they had been returning to their consolation sitcoms, and comedy specials.”

The brand new 2,600 square-metre area contains a mainstage theatre that seats 244, a second area dubbed Theatre ’73 that seats 170, and a scholar stage named the John Sweet Field Theatre that seats 70. The location additionally has a bar for visitors and one other bar for college students, in addition to 9 studios for in-person lessons and workshops.

Whereas at their short-term area, Mochrie says the corporate continued to supply comedy lessons and a few performances remotely till restrictions eased.

However the pandemic additionally pressured a shift within the comedy materials carried out by the solid, says Mochrie, noting that the writing started to skew extra closely in the direction of present affairs and politics, and he anticipated comparable themes to proceed of their new area.

Second Metropolis Toronto celebrates in new residence

Second Metropolis artistic director Carly Heffernan says the brand new location looks like coming residence.

She says the downtown location places storied comedy hub deeper into town’s core, among the many banking towers and workplace skyscrapers that outline the Toronto skyline, and close to different leisure venues together with Scotiabank Enviornment and the CN Tower.

It is also now linked to town’s underground PATH system with direct entry to the subway system, GO Transit, VIA Rail and the Union-Pearson Categorical, a fast practice to the airport.

“We love being again downtown,” says Heffernan, who joined Second Metropolis as a scholar when it was positioned on Blue Jays Means.

“We love being so near the opposite iconic issues that guests to Toronto can absorb.”

In 1988, Mochrie began at Second Metropolis’s first venue, The Previous Hearth Corridor, the place so many gifted folks carried out from 1971 to 1997.

Mochrie remembers sharing that stage with Mike Myers, who later went on to affix “Saturday Evening Reside” and launch a blockbuster movie profession. However earlier than Mochrie joined the solid, he remembers watching Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Andrea Martin carry out there, and says it was clear there was one thing particular about them.

He says he had the pleasure of working with Levy, O’Hara, Martin and Martin Quick in Might 2008 throughout a fundraiser for Second Metropolis to assist alumni experiencing well being or monetary hardships.

“It was the solid of SCTV and for me it was like getting an opportunity to play with the Beatles,” he says. “To have the ability to work with them at Second Metropolis was actually one of many highlights of my profession.”

He says lots of the largest alumni have maintained their ties to the Toronto arm of the legendary comedy manufacturing unit that originated in Chicago in 1959.

“It’s just about just like the mafia, when you’re in Second Metropolis, you by no means get out,” he says. “You by no means lose contact with these folks as a result of they’re such an essential a part of your journey.”

The Second Metropolis Toronto moved to its second residence within the leisure district on Blue Jays Means in 1997, and that residence was demolished final 12 months after being slated for redevelopment.

Heffernan says the brand new venue pays homage to the Previous Hearth Corridor by together with a portion of the unique flooring from the stage. It was put in within the John Sweet Field Theatre.

The brand new venue additionally carries the Second Metropolis signal from its residence on Blue Jays Means.

“Although it is a massive and glossy new constructing, we completely nonetheless love our Second Metropolis roots,” she says.

With regards to kickstarting Toronto’s stay leisure hub after the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mochrie says he is excited to see stay exhibits within the new residence.

The Second Metropolis’s first public efficiency within the new venue is Thursday with the present “Dwelling Candy New Dwelling,” an interactive mixture of improv video games, traditional sketches and satire.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Nov. 30, 2022.

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