East Side theater moves closer to expansion

Mar 8, 2016

After 15 years in Buffalo's Polonia neighborhood, Torn Space Theater is getting closer to finalizing plans for expansion. The theater company presented its proposal to members of the Buffalo Planning Board Monday night, and received approval for what they call a "unique" project.

Artist's rendering of the proposed expansion of Torn Space Theater.
Credit Torn Space Theater

The proposal calls for expanding into an abandoned building on a neighboring property, a former "gas mart" at the corner of Fillmore Avenue and Paderewski Drive. Torn Space Artistic Director Dan Shanahan said the exterior design will be unique, using specially designed stainless steel.

The new building will relieve space constraints in the current theater. "Our performance space, which also acts as our rehearsal space, was also acting as our building space," Shanahan noted. "This is going to allow us to be able to transport all of that kind of construction work into a studio. The studio is also going to provide us with conference space as well as a gallery to showcase examples of our work."

Shanahan said much of the worn-out asphalt around the space will be turned into green space. He hopes to use the area to attract public art installations.

The $700,000 expansion is currently 60 to 65 percent funded, according to Shananhan. He said the Better Buffalo Fund has provided $175,ooo toward the project.