History of Theatre Aurora
November 1958, the young people wore crinolines and bobby socks, and danced to American Bandstand. George Armstrong was captain of the Maple Leafs, and John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister of our Country. Meanwhile under the watchful eye of Mayor Jim Murray, Aurora was a rapidly growing town with a population of 3,957. At this time a newly formed small group called themselves The Aurora Drama Workshop and was rehearsing a play called Tovarich. Under the sponsorship of the Hobby Craft Guild of Aurora, the group made its debut on November 7, 1958 at the Aurora District High School.
For the first fifteen years, rehearsals took place in basement rec-rooms, dilapidated buildings and anywhere else available to an enthusiastic cast and crew. The group was playing to a steadily growing audience.
Then in 1973, amalgamation with the Aurora Musical Theatre Society resulted in the new Theatre Aurora. In 1974, the Town of Aurora offered a lease on the cement factory on Henderson Drive to the newly formed group. Extensive renovations by the new group's members and patrons transformed the old abandoned factory to the Factory Theatre – Home of Theatre Aurora.
We have never looked back...as audiences grew, so did our need for more space and better seating arrangements. The theatre was a hive of activity in the summer of 1980 as we again renovated, including a new spacious foyer and raised seating. Further changes to the tiered floor and seating arrangements took place in the summer of 1998, and in the summer of 1999 we installed new theatre fixed seating to complement the revised sightlines.
In 1999 we were also granted Charitable Status! This gave our long-term members and supporters the opportunity to donate to us while receiving a tax receipt for their generosity.
In 2004 we began a ten year lease at the Factory Theatre. With this lease came the responsibility for us to repair and maintain both the interior and exterior of the building. To enable us to do this, Theatre Aurora was the proud recipient of a capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. With the help of this grant, a new lighting board and sound equipment enhanced our technical capabilities. Air conditioning was installed, much to our audiences and melting actor's relief, as well as a fire alarm and sprinkler system.
In 2012 we opted to drop the name Factory Theatre from use, and the location has now become synonimous with the group's name.
We are very proud of our Theatre. Our group is a member of the Association of Community Theatres - Central Ontario (ACT-CO) and Theatre Ontario. We have been nominated and awarded in ACT-CO’s annual festival of plays and musical productions and have been honoured to remount a production for the Theatre Ontario Festival.
We have an active Youth Program for youth ages 10-18, who develop both theatre and acting skills, taught by trained theatre practitioners. Our Youth Members not only put on their own productions, but are highly involved in all Theatre Aurora shows.
We honour our members who have maintained active membership for over twenty-five years with a Life Time Membership.
Today, after 60 years, Theatre Aurora has the honour of producing five productions per year; giving our audiences and members the opportunity to explore the theatre arts in comedy, drama and musicals.