Studio Arena Theater Comes Alive Again

May 8, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 8:49 AM EDT

By WKBW Admin

May 8, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 8:49 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. ( WKBW ) Everything old is new again. The former Studio Arena Theater on Main street in Buffalo will soon be alive with entertainment again.

A not-for-profit group has purchased the building for just over two million dollars at a foreclosure auction. The group will partner with Shea's Buffalo to begin presenting productions on stage this coming fall.

Shea's will manage and program the operation.


Buffalo, NY, May 8, 2012 -- Tuesday, after a foreclosure sale of the building at 710 Main Street (formerly Studio Arena Theatre) and with the support of five local banks who contributed their mortgage debt on the building to 710 Main Street Inc., a new non-profit organization now owns the building.710 Main StreetInc. has entered into a management and programming agreement with Shea’s Performing Arts Center.

The following banks: Bank of America, First Niagara Bank, HSBC Bank, Key Bank, and M & T Bank, who previously held the mortgages to this building have come together in support of this ventureto ensure that the 710 Main Street building continues to operate as a working theatre.

Ross Eckert, a 25 year subscriber of the former Studio Arena who previously served as the board chairman for Shea’s, is president of the Board of Directors for 710 Main Street Inc. He hasannounced today that 710 Main Street will be operated as a presenting theatre managed by Shea’s Performing Arts Center who will partner with local and regional theatre companies, college theatre departments and touring productions to bring an assortment of plays to this 600 seat theatre. At this time, a specific programming schedule has not been determined.

This endeavor has brought much enthusiasm from local cultural and theatre officials.

President of the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo Robert Brunschmid said "The Theatre Alliance of Buffalo applauds Tony Conte and the dedicated Board of Directors at Shea's for their unwavering efforts to bring the lights back up at the 710 Main Street theatre. Buffalo is fortunate to have such a vibrant theatre community and the re-opening of this space will only enhance the diversity of theatre experiences available to Western New Yorkers."

Board President of the Arts Services Initiative (ASI) and spokesperson for the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance (GBCA) Randall Kramer expressed his enthusiasm regarding this opportunity. “This is a great day, not only for the theatre community, but also for the Western New York arts community and our entire region. Having 710 Main Street back on the boards is another step in the right direction for Buffalo Niagara. Kudos to Tony Conte and Shea's for their strategic and tireless efforts that enabled this to happen."

"The Theater District Association is so pleased to see 710 Main Street re-open as a theater in downtown Buffalo. This re-opening is a big win not only for the theater district but also the entire theatre community. Tony Conte's vision to ensure that 710 Main Street remained a theater space and his plan for the future development of the theater is an extraordinary commitment to live theater and downtown Buffalo, " said Scott Behrend, president, Theater District Association.

Studio Arena Theatre has been closed since February, 2008 citing $3 million in debt and laying off its staff.