The beloved Alleyway Theatre, located in a defunct Greyhound Bus Station on Main Street, has been granted a lease extension by the City, until the year 2048. Mayor Brown made the announcement that the theater could extend its lease at One Curtain Up Alley, thus vastly contributing to the collective artistic soul of the district, which is currently being threatened by the pandemic.
“I’m pleased that we reached an agreement that will enable Alleyway Theatre to continue producing high-quality plays for our residents and visitors,” said Mayor Brown. “The Alleyway Theatre has an important place in Buffalo’s culture. I’m proud of our long-standing partnership and look forward to many new plays in the years to come.”
This has already been a year of flux for Alleyway Theatre, as its founder, Neal Radice, retired in June. Executive Artistic Director Chris J. Handley says that he is excited to see what the future beholds, as the theater company embarks upon its forty-first season of new plays, made possible thanks to the City’s lease extension.
“It might look different for a little while (due to COVID-19), but we are exploring every avenue for delivering new plays to our audiences,” said Handley. “The first production of our forty-first season, Currents: 716, was filmed by Full Circle Studios and will be streamed online for three weeks in September. Meanwhile, we are using this time to beautify and update the facility in preparation for the return of live audiences.”
Alleyway Theatre, a professional theatre company dedicated to the production of new plays, will occupy the 33,000 square foot building at One Curtain Up Alley until 2048.
Over the course of its history, the historic Art Moderné style building has seen a lot of changes… and a mixed bag of tenants – the bus station at one point shared space with the Buffalo Police. It was in 1999, under the Masiello administration, that Alleyway Theater became its sole occupant.
In 2005 (thanks to the fortitude of Neal Radice), a $1.5 million restoration and adaptive reuse project was completed. The building is also ADA compliant, with a wheelchair lift to the second-floor conference room and exhibit gallery, thanks in part to a New York State Council on The Arts grant. Other building/theater assets include:
- An intimate ninety-nine seat black box main stage
- Impressive lobby
- Scene shop
- Costume shop
- Rehearsal halls
- A second performance space: the seventy-seat Alleyway Cabaret
- A classroom space in a portion of the building facing Pearl Street – now the home of The Theatre School of Western New York, which offers classes in acting, playwriting, on-camera technique, and more
This new lease extension is a big deal for the theater, which has already given back to the community, more than we could ever ask for.