VTC is the rebirth of The Bijou Actors Guild, the critically acclaimed, award winning, theatre troupe started in residence at Bridgeport’s Bijou Theatre. The Main Stage productions that would eventually become The Guild began in 2014 under Artistic Director Maggie Pangrazio-Meath, with the goal to stage rarely produced, thought-provoking productions, to fill a void in the offerings of other local theaters.
As time went on, we presented productions that stripped shows to their barest bones and get to the heart of the piece, with staging focused on lights and sound over sets and costumes. This put focus on the actors' performances and the playwrights' words to evoke the full emotional impact we strive to achieve.
This approach was born out of necessity at The Bijou (a converted movie theatre with minimal backstage space, limited tech equipment and a shoestring budget), but we soon embraced this bug as a feature, as it perfectly suited the types of shows we produced and heightened their impact. It has since become our calling card.
As VTC we still strive to be The Alternative Choice, by staging pieces which acknowledge, explore and dissect social issues like: mental illness, sexual identity, physical and mental abuse, bullying, homophobia, misogyny, racism, addiction, and criminal justice reform. Shows such as these are rarely chosen over the more family-friendly pieces staged elsewhere.
This approach earned us nominations for 30 Onstage Critics' Awards and 28 Broadwayworld.com CT Regional Awards over our 2 full seasons at The Bijou, and nominations for 9 Onstage Theatre Awards and 31 Broadwayworld.com CT Regional Awards over our 2 independent seasons: with our talented young cast of Bert V Royal’s hysterical and poignant DOG SEES GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, named Outstanding Cast in a Play by Onstage.
When we were forced to relocate, we had just begun to find both our voices and our audience. We had started planning a schedule of staged readings for new works, designing acting, directing and stage combat workshops, and had some discussions with individuals interested in finding mentors, scholarships, and in some cases auditions for the talented young adults we had come across our stage. If we let The Guild fade away and die, then these opportunities would wither on the vine. To us, that would have been the bigger tragedy than changing our address. There was just too much future at stake, and too much good work left to do. There was no other path for us but to keep doing what we were doing.
With no space to call our own, we wandered from stage to stage to set up our productions. We will keep producing the type of theatre that made our name downtown, as we move ever closer to our ultimate goal: Establishing VTC as a professional theatre in our own performance space, where staff and artists alike are paid for their work, new works are encouraged and produced, and new talent is identified and nurtured.
Please join us as we give voice to new artists and peel back the onion layers of life and reality to get a good look at what makes humanity and society tick.