Shea's 710 Theatre

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Coordinates: 42°53′36″N 78°52′21″W / 42.893219°N 78.872571°W / 42.893219; -78.872571

Shea's 710 Theatre
Studio Arena Theatre.JPG
Exterior view of theatre (c.2012)
Former namesStudio Arena Theatre (1920-2008)
710 Main Theatre (2012-16)
Address710 Main St
Buffalo, NY 14202-1915
LocationDowntown Buffalo
OwnerCity 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.[1]


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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

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 Welles V. Moot.[5]

Over the years it has produced many notable plays and world premieres including work by Edward Albee, A. R. Gurney, and Lanford Wilson.[6] Studio Arena Theatre was the springboard for the careers of some of today's biggest Equity actors, including Emmy and Tony Award winners.[7] 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 [8] 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 of the 2012-13 season.[9] Live theater has resumed in the theatre.[10] In 2016, Shea's tweaked the title to the Shea's 710 Theater as a form of cross-branding with its parent venue.[11]

Notable performers[edit]

Among the notable actors who have performed during the Studio Arena era over the years are[12]


  1. ^ "Studio Arena Theatre Coming Back to Life". 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  2. ^ Buffalo Courier-Express Magazine, September 22, 1974.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Studio Arena Theatre". Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  5. ^ "Welles V. Moot Jr., longtime trustee for Western New York Foundation; Aug. 9, 1917 -- Oct. 21, 2010 | Latest Headlines |".
  6. ^ "Studio Arena Theater Production History". Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  7. ^ "In the Wings", Buffalo News March 16, 2003, page F1.
  8. ^ Buffalo News March 17, 2011, front page
  9. ^ Prep underway for theater season. WIVB-TV. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  10. ^ 2013-2014 Season Sheas 710 Main website Retrieved 2013-4-28.
  11. ^ Fink, James (June 13, 2016). Branding fuels name change for Shea's 710 Theatre. Buffalo Business First. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "Archives & Special Collections: Eleanor T. Murray Studio Arena Collection [bulk 1960-1990]". Buffalo State; The State University of New York. Retrieved April 21, 2020. Notable performances include
  13. ^ "Studio Arena, "Oh, Kay" (1967). Studio Arena Programs". Buffalo State; The State University of New York Digital Commons. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  14. ^ "Semmelweiss" 1977-78
  15. ^ "Studio Arena, "Cyrano De Bergerac" (1966). Studio Arena Programs". Buffalo State; The State University of New York Digital Commons. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  16. ^ "Studio Arena, "Cyrano De Bergerac" (1966). Studio Arena Programs". Buffalo State; The State University of New York Digital Commons. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  17. ^ Crucifer of Blood" 1977=78

External links[edit]