Alleyway Theatre (formerly Buffalo Theatre Collective) was founded in September, 1980 by Neal Radice. Over the following two years, a small but dedicated group of theatre artists who formed the nucleus of the new company, began producing live theatre in a number of area facilities. The company’s artistic mission led to an innovative programming style with emphasis on new works; particularly those of local playwrights.
In June of 1983, after months of research and negotiations with public agencies including the Department of Community Development, a lease with the City of Buffalo was signed, and the company took occupancy in a portion of a former bus terminal building shared by the Buffalo Police Department in the heart of Buffalo’s Theatre District. A 2½ year rehabilitation and renovation project resulted in the creation of a convertible and intimate theatre space with a seating capacity of approximately one hundred. Alleyway Theatre at 1 Curtain Up Alley had its official opening on December 5, 1985.
In June, 1992 Alleyway Theatre inaugurated an annual Festival of Short-Works, known as BUFFALO QUICKIES. In addition to its emphasis on the presentation of new work, the Alleyway developed a “Canadian Connection”, unique among Western New York theatres. Noted Canadian talents including Maxim Mazumdar, Edmund MacLean, Richard Ouzounian, Douglas Abel, Janet Feindel, and Stratford Festival’s Nicholas Pennell and Edward Atienza have been the creative guests of Alleyway Theatre.
In 1995 the corporation founded Pandora’s Box Theatre Company, (later renamed Theatre Plus) dedicated to theatre which serves the interests of women, and in 1998 created KidShowCo, an educationally based children’s theatre company. Alleyway Theatre Incorporated purchased the former Richmond Avenue Methodist Church in October, 1998 and proceeded to develop it as a new regional performing arts center to showcase Western New York’s performing and visual artists and arts organizations. In 2014, that project was turned over to another local non-profit for development.
The $1.5 million renovation of the historic Art Moderné structure was completed in September 2005, resulting in the creation of the 70 seat Main Street Cabaret and an impressive grand lobby.
Alleyway Theatre now offers a full season of plays or musicals each September to May plus the annual holiday production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. In addition to occasional special events, play readings and workshop productions, the Alleyway offers post performance discussions with artists, the area’s oldest Pay-What-You-Can program and conducts the annual Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition. The Alleyway facility is busy throughout the year, used often by numerous other non-profits for performances and other events.