George Ignatieff was the Provost of Trinity College from 1972 to 1978. The theatre is named in his honour. In 1984, he received the Pearson Peace Medal by the United Nations Association in Canada. The Pearson Peace Medal is given in honour of Lester B. Pearson. It recognizes Canadians who, through voluntary work or other efforts, have contributed to those causes for which Lester Pearson stood: aid to the developing world, mediation between those confronting one another with arms, succor to refugees and others in need, and peaceful change through world law and world organizations.
Construction of the theatre was completed in 1979 and the theatre opened on 12 November. Since then, the theatre has hosted lectures, conferences, music, dance and theatre events created by members of the Trinity College community, the U of T community, Greater Toronto and beyond. It is the only theatre of its style on the U of T campus. In 1999, thanks to the financial support of students, alumni, and the College Corporation, the theatre systems were renewed, the lobby was expanded, and the physical plant was refreshed. In 2008, further renewal of the theatre doubled the capability of the lighting for performances. In 2010, the theatre received a generous grant from the student’s capital campaign and was able to undergo an extensive upgrade of the lighting and sound systems. In 2021, a grant from Canadian Universities Fund allowed the theatre to be fitted with cameras and computers to support immersive, dual-delivery lectures and conferences, making the theatre a truly multi-purpose assembly hall.