About the Allendale Theatre

The Allendale Theatre is a treasured jewel in the heart of the Allentown historic district that was restored in partnership with the City of Buffalo. Theatre of Youth embraces the architectural history of the Allendale and is proud to be its current caretaker.

The Allendale, one of Buffalo’s first neighborhood theatres, was built in 1913 by clothing retailer Levin Michaels. The Neo-Classical Revival-style theatre included gold trimmed walls, leaded glass windows and a stunning domed ceiling with dozens of modern light bulbs. At first, the popular movie house specialized in silent films and photoplays of Broadway productions, with a custom-built symphonic organ for accompaniment.

In 1919, the owner added a lavish proscenium stage and dressing rooms that attracted the Buffalo Players (a local theatre group including members of the Knox, Schoellkopf and other prominent families), as well as national acts such as the Barrymore brothers and W.C. Fields.

The years were not kind to The Allendale Theatre. Fortunately, the Allentown Association saved it from certain demolition and in 1986, Theatre of Youth entered into a partnership with the City of Buffalo to raise funds and renovate the theatre for its permanent home. The Allendale renovation combined sensitivity to historic preservation, a challenging interior design, a unique collaboration between the disciplines of architecture and theatre, and an opportunity to promote neighborhood revitalization. 

The theatre is equipped with a proscenium stage, fly and wing space, a sound and lighting system, dressing rooms, rehearsal space, and seating for 469 people. The intention of the renovation was to honor the building’s past while assuring its usefulness in the future.  Historic elements such as the interior decorative pilasters, plaster moldings, domed ceiling and the exterior neoclassic façade have been repaired and restored.   The $3.5 million project took 13 years to complete and the Allendale was re-opened in December 1999. The Allendale Theatre celebrated its centennial in 2013, and it is just as vibrant and vital to the Buffalo Arts community as it was on it’s opening night!  Not only a cultural destination in the middle of Allentown, TOY and the Allendale are also an economic engine for local restaurants, cafes, bakeries and attractions – introducing the public to the Allentown neighborhood before and after every weekend performance.


The Allendale is available for public and private events. Contact Executive Director Tracy Snyder (716.884.4400 x308) for more information!