It was in 2017 when Torn Space Theater unveiled its “brilliantly illuminated cube” structure that allowed the cultural group to expand upon its functional space requirements. The new space – known as “Light/Station” – is now a fully functioning design and production studio.
Now, the organization has begun yet another expansion/renovation phase that greatly enhances access and capabilities of the performance venue, while connecting it to reclaimed green space that surrounds the buildings. The reimagined theater/social hall serves to expand the capacity of the performances and social engagements, while the green space, aka The Forest, will be suitable for outdoor installations, festivals, and various social gatherings.
This renovation work is thanks to over $2 million that has been raised for capital improvements.
“We are excited to continue our long-term relationship with the Broadway/Fillmore corridor while drawing focus to how the culturals can contribute to neighborhood development,” said Torn Space Theater founder Dan Shanahan. “Improvements to our facility and surrounding properties will increase our ability to engage in meaningful collaborations; to include hosting leading contemporary performance groups and engaging with the community through public art initiatives and performances within the historic Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle.”
This latest announcement coincides with news of a new Master Plan in the works for The Central Terminal, which is located a short distance away. There is now a palpable energy along Fillmore Avenue – a corridor that is in close proximity to the Broadway Market, St. Stanislaus Church, urban farms, and a Buddhist cultural center.
In a recent Q&A with Arts Services Initiatives of WNY, Shanahan discussed the history of the theater, its mission, and its role in the community. At the time, Phase I of the renovation project was underway, including expansion of the theater’s performance space in the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle, and restoration work to the front façade of the building.
Phase II of the renovation project will:
- Integrate performance space with outdoor space surrounding the newly-restored building adjacent to the theater at 608 Fillmore Avenue
- Create a campus that enhances green space, walkability, and public engagement by installing a concrete walkway with lights
- Restore the interior and exterior of 612 Fillmore to improve programming, while installing a new roof, repairing windows and making interior improvements
Mayor Byron W. Brown stated, “I thank Torn Space Theater for its continued commitment to the residents of Buffalo by creating healthy performance environments during this challenging time. This next phase of the theater’s $1.2 million renovation project continues the momentum following other investments that have been made to the theater and in this area of the City. The expansion and site improvements that are now underway at its new Fillmore Avenue venue will revitalize the theater and a section of the neighborhood in the Broadway/Fillmore corridor.”
Work on the project is being overseen by architect Christopher Romano and his firm Studio NORTH. Previously, the studio won two AIA awards for the “Light/Station.”
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes stated: “I’d like to congratulate Director Dan Shanahan and Torn Space Theater on beginning the next phase of their construction project. I believe in the theatre as an anchor cultural institution within Broadway-Fillmore, so much so that I secured a $175,000 DASNY capital grant that they successfully executed for their first phase of construction. I’d also like to thank Empire State Development for providing the necessary funding for the next round of improvements.”
Torn Space Theater: Get Connected
This project has been made possible through the generous support of:
Empire State Development Corporation $748,000
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation $310,000
First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank $200,000
National Fuel Gas Company Foundation $12,500
Construction Project of Hidden Identities
Architect: Christopher Romano, Studio NORTH Architecture, Architect
Construction Manager: The Peyton Barlow Company
Project Manager: Jeannine Yager-Aiello, Y.A.D.S. – Yager Architectural Design Services, Architect
Project Manager: Michael Zak