In a letter dated June 19, 2009, creditors of Studio Arena Theatre were notified by Buffalo bankruptcy court that the struggling institution has requested to change its filing from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 11, a restructuring bankruptcy, the theater had hoped that fundraising and reorganization under court supervision with protection from creditors would allow it to reopen. Chapter 7, or liquidation bankruptcy, effectively puts an end to that dream.
In the final analysis, the financial situation was simply too dire. Studio Arena originally announced its intention to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2008.
Assets of Studio Arena Theatre include the building itself, which is heavily mortgaged. An effort last year to change ownership of the structure to the Studio Arena Foundation was not allowed by the bankruptcy court. It is likely that local leaders, including banks, will focus on protecting the Studio Arena building so that it can continue to be a cultural asset to the City of Buffalo and the Western New York region in some other form.
In that regard, it is also likely that overtures made to Shea's Performing Arts Center and Buffalo State College last year, which were met with caution at that time, will be revisited as plans are made for the facility, located at 710 Main Street.
Anthony Chase, ARTVOICE Theater Editor
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