Capital Project


Torn Space Theater in partnership with the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle have begun a long term phased initiative to create a campus setting geared for community engagement that compliments and supports recent neighborhood revitalization efforts. The project will house a state-of-the-art indoor performance space with expanded audience capacity and improved technical systems. The project includes a design studio, reclaimed green space for outdoor site-based performance, public art and community engagement for lectures and community gatherings. Torn Space has invested in expansion and site improvements that will revitalize not only the theater, but also a section of Fillmore Avenue that provides a strategic link to established East Side landmarks (Broadway Market, St. Stanislaus Church, Central Terminal) and emerging ones, including urban farms and a Buddhist cultural center. The site is also on a major north/south transit corridor connecting Larkinville with the Broadway/Fillmore commercial district.

Completing the renovation and additions will accomplish the following:

– Improve the theater’s performance space thus increasing the quality and variety of theater productions,

– Create a new entrance connecting the theater with Fillmore Avenue making it more convenient for visitors and be ADA compliant,

– Expand seating and theater connectiveness to TST’s future outdoor productions on an adjacent lot at 608 Fillmore offering more varied program possibilities,

– Convert vacant adjacent land into a space to host public art, theater and musical productions and community events.

By doing so, Torn Space Theater will:

1) have a stronger artistic “platform” for more varied and high quality productions for its audience,

2) increase attendance and more strongly connect with neighbors, organizations and the immediate community through more free cultural offerings and increased theater productions,

3) have a greater economic impact on local businesses, some of which are already being supported by TST,

4) improve engagement opportunities for students and young people that visit TST with state-of-the-art facilities.


Phase III

This phase of the capital project will increase outdoor activity space, create an architectural link between 612 and 608 Fillmore Avenue, extend the link beyond Light/Station to the back of the performance space at Wilson St. to include awnings, steel platforms that act as seating for indoor and outdoor performance focusing on integrating the campus outward towards Wilson Street and Paderewski Drive. One of our primary objectives with the project is to raise the cultural visibility of Buffalo’s east side.


  • Architect: Christopher Romano, Studio NORTH Architecture, Architect
  • Design Assistant: Michael Hoover. Lukas Fetzko
  • Construction Manager: The Peyton Barlow Company
  • Project Manager: Jeannine Yager-Aiello, Y.A.D.S. – Yager Architectural Design Services, Board Member, TST



  • Erie County
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • New York State through New York State Council on the Arts


  • The City of Buffalo M&T Charitable Foundation

$25,000 – $49,999

  • The Cravens Foundation
  • Balbach Family Foundation
  • First Niagara Foundation / Key Bank

$10,000 – $24,000

  • Buffalo Renaissance Foundation Lawley Insurance 
  • Thomas and Martha Hyde


Phase II: Hidden Identities | Where Ideas Are Experienced

This phase of the renovation project will integrate performance space with outdoor space surrounding the newly restored Light/Station adjacent to the theater at 612 Fillmore Avenue, creating a campus that enhances green space, walkability, and public engagement. Hidden Identities increases capacity and volume of interior performance space and transforms it into a multi-used space, integrating the interior with outside performance space, while restoring the exterior of 612 Fillmore Avenue.

Construction Project of Hidden Identities

  • Architect: Christopher Romano, Studio NORTH Architecture, Architect
  • Design Assistants: Sasson Rafailov, Randy Fernando, Michael Hoover,
    Morgan Mansfield, Roger Kolker III
  • Construction Manager: The Peyton Barlow Company
  • Project Manager: Jeannine Yager-Aiello, Y.A.D.S. – Yager Architectural Design Services, TST Board Member
  • Project Manager: Michael Zak

Phase II Supporters

  • Phase II of this project has been made possible through the generous support of:
  • Empire State Development Corporation – $748,000
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation – $310,000
  • First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank–  $200,000
  • National Fuel Gas Company Foundation – $12,500

Phase I: Light/Station | Where Ideas Are Created

“A bold and refreshing investment into the East Side” and a “beaming cultural landmark”  – Buffalo Rising

Torn Space completed the renovation of 608 Fillmore Avenue, transforming an abandoned gas mart into a 1,545 sq.  design studio, green room and conference facility. The exterior has been transformed into a signature architectural structure, veiled in steel panels custom-designed by Rigidized Metals under the direction of architect Christopher Romano. The property is situated on two lots on the corner of Fillmore and Paderewski , the renovation remediated the soil and removed cracked cement and debris and replaced it with graded soil and sod, transforming the site into usable green space.

Light/Station was opened in November 2017. Architect Christopher Romano and his firm Studio NORTH won two AIA awards for the transformational repurposing of the former gas mart into a stunning architectural centerpiece for Torn Space. Light/Station was awarded AIA Buffalo/WNY, 2018 Architecture Award: Design Award in Commercial Category, and AIA Buffalo/WNY, 2018 Architecture Award: Design Award in Small Project Category, and 2019 Architect’s Newspaper’s Editor’s Pick for Best of Products Awards for Facades category.

Construction Project of Light/Station

  • Design Architect: Natalie Tan, AIA, of Integrated Environments + Architecture
  • Architect of Record: Stieglitz Snyder Architecture
  • Construction Manager: R&P Oak Hill
  • Christopher Romano, Studio NORTH Architecture, Facade Designer and Fabrication Consultant
  • Daniel Vrana, Brandon Stone, and David Heaton, Design Assistants
  • Project Manager: Jeannine Yager-Aiello, Y.A.D.S. – Yager Architectural Design Services, TST Board Member
  • Rigidized Metals Corporation, Facade Manufacturer

Phase I Supporters

Phase I of this project was generously supported by the following foundations, individuals and corporations.

Dramatic Circle: $175,000+
  • Junior League of Buffalo and The Buffalo News – $275,000
  • New York State Homes & Community Renewal through the Buffalo Better Fund – $175,000
  • Community Capital Assistance Program sponsored and recommended by Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, Member, NYS Assembly, 141st District – $175,000
Creator’s Circle: $50,000-$175,000
  • National Grid Foundation
Director’s Circle: $10,000-$49,999
  • Balbach Family  Foundation
  • Robert and Patricia Colby Foundation
  • City of Buffalo and Support from the Office of David Franczyk
  • Curtis Cravens
  • First Niagara Foundation                                 
  • Garman Family Fund
  • Carlos and Elizabeth Heath Foundation               
  • The Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle
  • Mulroy Family Foundation              
  • M&T Charitable Foundation
  • National Fuel Gas Foundation         
  • New York State Council on the Arts
  • John R. Oishei Foundation
  • Rigidized Metals Corporation         
  • Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham
  • Torn Space Theater    
  • WNY Foundation    
  • Margaret L Wendt Foundation         
Producer: $5,000 – $9,999
  • Baird Foundation     
  • Joel and Dedee Lippes        
  • Richard R. Rupp Family Foundation 
  • Richard Schroeder
Collaborator: $1,000 – $4,999
  • Michael Bandini 
  • Bernhard Huber
  • Ray Kelley     
  • Charles Lambrose and Molly Rich
  • Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC
  • Sean Morrow     
  • Ted Pietrzak
  • Nicholas and Elizabeth Randell
  • Kathleen Rooney and John Shera
  • Maria Scrivani and John Lipsitz
  • Dan Shanahan and Melissa Meola
  • Jeff and Michelle Watorek
  • Jeannine Yager-Aiello