The Subversive Theatre Collective:

2002-2014: Now launching the twelfth season of our theatre revolution!
Subversive Theatre: Where pissing you off is only the beginning

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  "I do not know what the theatre will be like in a socialist world: I can understand better what it could be among the Mau Mau." 

-Jean Genet
1957

About the History of the Great Arrow Building

The New Home of the Subversive Theatre Collective!

    The Great Arrow Building was just one of many buildings that originally made up the Pierce Arrow Campus.  The Great Arrow Building was where the cars were actually made -- where the proletarians sweated away while management conducted business in the more aristocratic confines of the Pierce Arrow Building on the Elmwood Avenue side of the campus.
     The center of America's Pierce-Arrow Corporation, the complex was constructed in 1901 by architect Albert Kahn involving dozens of buildings that stretched all the way from Elmwood to Delaware Avenue.  Considered revolutionary at the time, the Great Arrow Building became the template for many factory buildings nationwide.

Click below for more info...

-- About the History of the Great Arrow Building

-- About Artist/Activist Emanuel "Manny" Fried

-- About "The Manny Fried Playhouse Fund Drive"

-- Directions to the Theatre

-- Photos of the Conversion Process

-- Return to THE MANNY FRIED PLAYHOUSE Main Page 
  
PRESS COVERAGE:
-- Feature Article: Buffalo News 9/5/08

     The "Arrow Automobile Company" was launched by George N. Pierce, an engineer who began his career crafting birdcages and bicycles.  In 1904, Pierce introduced his "Arrow" Motor -- the most powerful automobile engine of the time -- and added fender-mounted headlights giving his vehicles a unique and distinctive appearance.  In 1909 the company's name was officially changed to the "Pierce-Arrow Corporation."
    
In its heyday, the Pierce-Arrow Automobile was considered the most luxurious and well-designed vehicle in the world.  President Taft ordered three for the White House.  Movie stars, Arab potentates, and other celebrities followed suit.
     According to local lore, bootleggers during Prohibition insisted on using Pierce-Arrow motors in their smuggler boats because of the engine's superior acceleration and quiet exhaust system!
     By the 1930s, George N. Pierce retired, selling the company to a group of Buffalo financiers.  He got out just in time.  The Great Depression spelled the end for the Pierce-Arrow Corporation.  People simply could not afford this luxury item any longer -- a Pierce-Arrow car (the most expensive on the market) sold for over $6,000.00 while the new Model T Ford had a sticker price of just $700.00!  
     In 1938, Pierce-Arrow shut down for good selling off the various buildings in the campus separately.  Many of the buildings that made up the eastern end of the campus were torn down.
     During WWII, the Pierce Arrow Building and the Great Arrow Building were acquired by an aircraft manufacturer who produced planes and parts for the war effort.
     After a long period of uncertainty, the Great Arrow Building has found a new identity as home to a wide variety of small businesses -- everything from birdseed producers to custom shoe repair!  The new ownership actively encourages art groups to find a home here and the building's third floor (where Subversive Theatre resides) has become a nexus for artistic groups including a clay art studio, a music recording studio, and the Alt Theatre (Buffalo's OTHER newest performance space!).

 

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