Discover the history of The Kavinoky Theatre and join us as we continue our story this season.

History of The Kavinoky Theatre

The Kavinoky Theatre opened in the 1980-81 season, but the idea for it was born a decade earlier during a production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" on the original, unrestored theatre stage.

Under the artistic direction of David Lamb, the idea was two-fold:

  1. To form a local company of paid professional actors to produce a subscription season of plays and to work as an ensemble along the lines of a traditional repertory company.
  2. To raise money through the auspices of D'Youville College to restore the small Edwardian gem of a theatre to serve as a home for the company.

The 1970's were spent producing in the Porter-View Room under the company name of Stage Centre. At that time we were the only locally producing professional theatre company in Buffalo since Studio Arena cast from New York. By 1979 we had a healthy balance in the bank of $11,000 and the D'Youville Capital Campaign to restore the theatre under the leadership of Edward Kavinoky was completed.

Restoration and refurbishing work was completed in time for the 1980-81 Season, and the theatre was renamed The Kavinoky Theatre. Our first production was Sleuth, featuring Brian LaTulip and David Lamb and was successful enough to sell out and double our production fund (at $3 per ticket!!).

The Kavinoky Theatre has produced over 200 shows in the last 39 years and has earned a reputation for consistently high-quality productions, a solid subscriber base, and has received more awards than any other theatre in Buffalo.

During the past 39 years, The Kavinoky has had a seminal influence on the growth of live theatre in Buffalo. Most of the leading area actors had their start at The Kavinoky, as did many of the Artistic Directors. When we began we were alone; there are now twenty plus producing organizations in town and we are proud to have paved the way for Buffalo's thriving theatre community.

What Sets the Kavinoky Apart

  1. A charming turn-of-the-century facility, with rococo architecture, a balcony and boxes, a warm and invitingly intimate atmosphere with free, protected parking.
  2. A strong subscriber base of patrons who have become familiar with The Kavinoky Company and style.
  3. The security of a unique relationship with D'Youville College and its board which is strongly supportive of the theatre's mission and has indicated its willingness to continue this Community Outreach in the future.
  4. The Company's concentration on those moments in a production that make visceral contact with an audience and the insistence during pre-production and rehearsal on increasing those moments through awareness and technique.