Exterior view of theatre (c.2012)
|Former names||Studio Arena Theatre (1920-2008)|
710 Main Theatre (2012-16)
|Address||710 Main St|
Buffalo, NY 14202-1915
|Owner||City of Buffalo|
The Shea's 710 Theatre (originally known as the Studio Arena Theatre) is a theatre in Buffalo, New York. It was founded in the 1920s and briefly closed in 2008 citing $3 million in debt and laying off its staff. It was reopened as the 710 Main Theatre in 2012 and is managed by Shea's Performing Arts Center.
Founded in the 1920s in Buffalo by a group of local enthusiasts, the Studio Theatre evolved as both a theatre and a theatre school into Western New York's only professional regional theatre.
In 1927, Jane Keeler, a teacher of speech and drama, and Lars Potter, President of the Buffalo Players, and others established the Studio Theatre School. Performances and classes were located in a second floor lodge meeting hall on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Anderson Place.
In 1934, Studio Theatre moved to a concert hall on the second floor of the Teck Theatre, until that building was converted to a movie house three years later. Studio Theatre School was incorporated with the playhouse as an educational institution in 1936 under the New York State Board of Regents. In 1937, having purchased the former Universalist Church at 305 Lafayette, the Studio Theatre was at home there for many years. In the early 1960s, the resident theatre movement was beginning, and Studio Theatre began its evolution into a professional Equity theatre under the leadership of Neal Du Brock. In a mere forty-day transformation, the former Town Casino (an important local nightclub) at 681 Main Street was transformed into the Buffalo's only not-for-profit professional regional theatre and was renamed Studio Arena Theatre in 1965. Studio Arena Theatre was a key player in the resident theater movement. Eventually it moved across the street into the former Palace Burlesque Theater at 710 Main Street in 1978 and became the cornerstone of the Buffalo Theatre District.
Until its demise as The Studio Arena Theatre it had claim to being one of the oldest resident theaters in the United States. It was particularly supported over the years by Wells V. Moot.
Over the years it has produced many notable plays and world premieres including work by Edward Albee, A. R. Gurney, and Lanford Wilson. Studio Arena Theatre was the springboard for the careers of some of today's biggest Equity actors, including Emmy and Tony Award winners. Studio Arena Theatre was one of the country's premier regional theatres.
Studio Arena Theatre was shuttered after failing to reorganize under Chapter 11. On March 17, 2011 the Buffalo News  reported that the nearby Shea's Performing Arts Center was trying to get the needed financing so that it can return the 626-seat theater to use for theatrical and non theatrical events. Shea's assumed ownership of the theater, which was renamed the 710 Main Theater after its address, at the beginning the 2012-13 season. Live theater has resumed in the theatre. In 2016, Shea's tweaked the title to the Shea's 710 Theater as a form of cross-branding with its parent venue.
Among the notable actors who have performed during the Studio Arena era over the years are: