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




The History of The Kavinoky Theatre
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 with 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 The Kavinoky Theatre was the only locally producing professional theatre company in Buffalo since Studio Arena Theatre cast from New York City. By 1979 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.

The Kavinoky Theatre has earned a reputation for consistently high-quality productions, and has received countless awards. Over the 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 over thirty producing organizations in town and we are proud to have paved the way for Buffalo's thriving theatre community.

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 style.
3.  The security of a unique relationship with D'Youville College, its board, and
      President Lorrie Clemo, who is strongly supportive of the theatre’s mission and is dedicated to community outreach.
4.  The Kavinoky Theatre is the area’s largest employer of AEA, the professional Actors union.

In June of 2018, Loraine O’Donnell became Executive Artistic Director of
The Kavinoky Theatre. Under her new leadership, a new mission statement was formed.

The Kavinoky mission:
Driven by the purpose of cultural service and leadership, The D’Youville Kavinoky Theatre aims to produce evocative and thought provoking live theatre that is inclusive of, and accessible to, everyone in WNY. 

In 2018 the TAKE-A-SEAT campaign was created to replace the 40 year old original seats and carpeting. With generous donations from patrons along with a matching grant from the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC, NYSCA) and added support from D'Youville, new lighting was installed, and the color palate of the theatre was redesigned by interior designer Jason Kruszka and craftsman Frank Ferrelli. Project Manager Brian McNamara focused on every detail in the theatre from chair rails to beautiful new lighting sconces and vintage chandeliers, repurposed from the Presidents office to make the Theatre into the showplace it is today.


Kavinoky Theatre at D'Youville College, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)




The Kavinoky Theatre

A Professional Theater
A Department of D’Youville College


  1. D’Youville College Board of Trustees
  2. Kavinoky Advisory Volunteer Council



Kavinoky Advisory Volunteer Council

Robert Mock (2011)
Pastor, St. Benedicts Church-Retired

Carol Brenon (2009)
Teacher – Retired

John Leberman (2016)
Sales, Tri-City Rentals

Richard J. Lee (2010)
Dean of Applied Science and Education, SUNY Buffalo State

Jean Rachlin (2011)
Computer Programmer, Frontier Science & Technology Research Foundation

Caren Shapiro (2015)
Professor of Biology, D’Youville College-Retired

Patricia Spector (2011)
Self Employed, Real Estate – Retired

Linda Lalli Stark (2015)
Attorney, Hogan Willig, PLLC

Jamie Orrange (2019)
OTR, Occupational Therapist/ owner -Buffalo Ergonomics OT Services, PLLC

Vilona Trachtenberg (2019)
Master Data Coordinator - New Era Cap

Kathleen Moriarity (2021)