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Varsity Theatre Is A Bold Accomplishment

The Varsity Theatre is nearing its initial completion stage. Ibrahim Cissé, the diehard enthusiast behind the rejuvenation project, has been stepping up efforts in order to prepare for the grand opening on February 5.

Since I last met up with Ibrahim, he and his crew have been working tirelessly on the construction project, which entailed installing new HVAC (concealed under two new elevated stage platforms), glass paneled railings, 11 new doors, plumbing, restrooms, 47 security cameras (indoor and out), among other new features.


The result of all of the work is dramatic. Varsity Theatre is now an immaculate concert hall that is both modern in appearance and multi-functional. After the final details are hammered out, the East Side will have a crown jewel in its midst, perfect for concerts, festivals and weddings.


Between now and the grand opening, Ibrahim will be working on installing flooring, sound dampening systems, and finalizing a few last “touch-ups”. After opening day, additional fundraising efforts will commence, in order to raise money for proper LED stage lighting, facade improvements, dressing rooms, and other enhancements. Ibrahim will not stop until Bailey has an absolute first rate theatrical venue to be proud of.

We will be posting additional info on the grand opening festivities, which will include a stellar jazz performance and guest appearances from high school musicians in the neighborhood. Everyone is invited to participate in the celebration, which will provide inspirational direction for other projects moving forward on Bailey in 2016.


This is an initiative that The City should get behind, to see the project through. So far, Ibrahim and his grassroots partners have created something spectacular out of financial resources that are stretched very thin. This is a boost that the East Side needs, especially after taking a couple of hits with the fires that torched Gigi’s and The Market Bar. The community, and The City, should rally behind these inspirational efforts.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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