Xiao Zhang

Floating Theatre

Hastings, Trent Hills is a village located on the Trent River between Lake Seymour and Rice Lake. The town is known for its fishing culture and picturesque surroundings - it is increasingly becoming a tourist hub in recent years. Hastings has a strong connection with the water, with much of the town’s identity built around its river. Although the town has a rich variety of cultural events (such as the Hastings Medieval Festival and the Waterfront Festival), there is a lack of permanent spaces to host these events.

The Floating Theatre is a semi-permanent structure situated on the banks of the Trent River. The theater is flexible - its form and function changes based on seasonality and programming. It  is made up of three main components - the theatre, the observation tower, and the floating stage. All spaces have dual functions - the theatre remains open in the summer toward the stage area, but can be closed off as an indoor cinema in the winter. The tower allows visitors to have scenic views over the Trent River, but also provides space for tents as temporary accommodation for visitors during festivals. The theatre and tower are permanent constructions while the stage is a temporary structure that can break away. This mobility allows the stage to be set up at any point on the riverbank, encouraging cultural cross-pollination along the Trent River.

The theatre’s form and materiality are inspired by the vernacular architecture of Hastings. The vibrantly coloured theatre playfully interacts with the reflections of light on the water while also looking natural against the backdrop of Hastings.  

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.