Theater Talk: Torn Space in Buffalo's Polish East Side creates indoor and outdoor theater spaces

Oct 9, 2020

Dan Shanahan, Artistic Director of Torn Space Theater, the first company to have live productions in the '20-'21 season (outdoor, socially distant, masks required, site-specific at Silo City) has, like Shea's and many other companies, been using the shutdown to improve their space, including a huge four-lot outdoor facility at the corner of Fillmore and Paderewski (in Buffalo's old "Polonia" district).

A photo from this summer's Torn Space production of SILENCE, about the confluence of climate change, pandemics, racism, and our current political climate. SILENCE was held at Silo City, but Torn Space has big plans for their "home base" at 612 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo NY 14212.
Credit Michael Thomas

Shanahan says that he was attracted by the the bar at The Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle (a local club named in honor of Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855)  one of the greatest poets of Poland and a lifelong apostle of Polish national freedom). The bar features a wide selection of Eastern European and craft beers along with Eastern European spirits and aperitifs. 

And, once indoor plays begin again, the bar will be open one hour before show time. Built in 1914, it's a slice of old Buffalo that Torn Space is maintaining and rehabbing for future generations. In the neighborhood of the Central Terminal, the Broadway Market, and St. Stanislaus Church, fans of Tom Dudzik's plays starting with OVER THE TAVERN can relate to "Polonia," the area where Torn Space has put down roots. 

Here are some architectural renderings: 

Work being done by Torn Space to 612 Fillmore Avenue and adjacent properties.
Credit Provided by Dan Shanahan
The architect's rendering looking east (from the back of the theater towards Fillmore Avenue)
Credit Provided by Dan Shanahan