JOHN R SMITH JNR (Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director)
John is a classically -trained, award-winning, dynamic, character actor. He has been working in CT Theatre off and on for over 25 years as an Actor, Producer, Director and Acting Coach. Prior to founding VTC with his wife, Tanya, he worked as an Artistic Consultant at The Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport and Co-Producer of VTC's predecessor: The Bijou Actors Guild.
In his teens he lived in MD and attended student workshops at The Folger Library in DC and Improv Workshops with Jason Kravits and Robbie Chafitz. He also studied theatre at Slippery Rock University and Montgomery College. After marrying his wife and co-founder and moving to CT, he became involved with the efforts to reopen Stratford's Shakespeare Theatre while taking Shakespearean technique workshops with Louis Burke. Through his involvement, he was invited to attend Playing Shakespeare USA, a weekend workshop with RSC Co-Founder, John Barton.
In addition to producing VTC's 2016/17 Season he also took on the role of Judas in VTC's acclaimed production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Gary Gauger in The Exonerated, and directed their 2017 Holiday Homecoming Special: It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.
Past performances at The Bijou include Claudius in the repertory productions of Hamlet and R&G are Dead, Katurian in The Pillowman and Dale Harding in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He has also performed in New Haven including the title role in Hamlet and Jeff Symons in Murder in Green Meadows for Algonkuin Theatre Company, and Angus in Macbeth for Godlight Productions at Long Wharf’s Stage II. He has also appeared in productions at other theaters around CT including: Wilton Playshop, Clockwork Rep in Oakville, Westport Community Theatre, Town Players of New Canaan, and The Stratford Festival Theatre.
When theatres closed at the dawn of the Age of Covid, he shifted his attentions to film, where safety protocols allowed work to continue. Since then he's played leading and supporting roles in multiple short & feature films, including Bernie in The Woodsman for which he was awarded Best Male Performance (Comedy) at the 2022 Bridgeport Film Festival.
He has been nominated for 3 individual OnStage Critics Awards and 3 BroadwayWorld.com Awards for his acting performances, and as a producer, his shows have garnered nominations for 11 OnStage Critics Awards and 38 BroadwayWorld.com Awards.
He is repped by Ann Wright Representatives in NYC.
TANYA FEDUIK-SMITH (Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director)
Tanya is Director, Producer, Designer, Acting Coach, and Actor who looks at life and theatre through a lens of empathy. She has served as an Artistic Consultant at The Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport and Co-Producer of The Bijou Actors Guild, where she also directed and produced their acclaimed productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Take Me Out, respectively.
She studied theatre and film at Bowling Green State University, and Shakespearean technique in workshops with Louis Burke, where she became involved with his campaign to reopen the Shakespeare Theatre in her native Stratford. Through this work, she was invited to participate in Playing Shakespeare USA, a weekend intensive workshop with RSC Co-Founder, John Barton.
In addition to producing and designing VTC's 2016/17 Season she directed VTC's inaugural show, The Scarlet Letter ,also taking on the role of Mistress Hibbins. She also designed light and sound for VTC's production of The Exonerated and their 2017 Holiday Homecoming Special: It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at The Bijou. She also directed and designed the 2018 editions of IAWL at The Bijou and The Stony Creek Museum, with VTC partnering with Legacy Theatre at the latter.
Other directing credits include Much Ado About Nothing for Algonkuin Theater Company in New Haven, Radium Girls at Westport Community Theater, Neighborhood Watch for the 2018 East/West Playfest in Westport and Milford, and Four Weddings and an Elvis at Milford's Eastbound Theatre.
Additional design credits include: Lights for London Suite at WCT, and Sound for These Shining Lives and Wait Until Dark at EBT, and Radium Girls at WCT.
Her previous acting credits include the Gravedigger in Hamlet and Joan Devereaux in Murder in Green Meadows for Algonkuin Theater Company, and Laura in The Psychic for Clockwork Rep in Oakville.
She has been nominated for 2 individual OnStage Critics Awards and 7 BroadwayWorld.com Awards for her directing and design work at The Bijou, and as a producer, her shows have garnered nominations for 11 OnStage Critics Awards and 38 BroadwayWorld.com Awards.
See more on her website: tanyafeduiksmith
MAIG SMITH (Founding Member/Resident Stage Manager)
Maig is VTC's Resident Stage Manager, reprising her previous role with The Bijou Actors Guild, where she Stage Managed Take Me Out and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She has also Stage Managed Prelude to a Kiss, Third, The Heidi Chronicles, Run For Your Wife, These Shining Lives and Wait Until Dark at Eastbound Theater in Milford, Radium Girls at Westport Community Theatre, and worked Running Crew for Appropriate at Westport Country Playhouse.
For VTC, she Stage Managed and served as Asst. Director for their productions of IAWL, The Exonerated, The Scarlet Letter and Dog Sees God.
IAN C SMITH (Founding Member/Assoc. Producer)
Ian is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Housatonic Community College, where he achieved multiple academic awards, including membership in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Multifaceted in his talents, Ian lent his voice acting and set construction skills to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Take Me Out at the Bijou Theater. He also showcased his voice skills as Freddie Filmore/Old Man Potter and a myriad of other characters in VTC's first annual Holiday Special: It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.
He has also served as Assoc. Producer, Asst. Director, and Sound Operator for VTC's production of The Scarlet Letter, and Stage Managed The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.
He received an OnStage Theatre Awards Nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, and Broadwayworld CT nominations for Best Featured Actor in a Play and Best Younger Actor (Under 25) for his performance as Van in VTC's production of Dog Sees God, which was awarded the 2017 OnStage Theatre Award for Best Cast in a Play.
He has also worked in film as a writer and continuity adviser with the Digital Kinetiscope film group, and as a PA for Someday Productions on their Festival Darling and soon to be Cult Classic film: The History of Everything Circa 1993 to the Present Formerly Known as Kissy Cousins Monster Babies and Morphing Elvis.
He is also a freelance writer and editor, hire him at: www.orionzoi.com
MAX GRAHAM (Founding Member/Lead Tech/Doer of Stuff and Things)
Max is pleased to be part of the VTC tech team. He has done booth work for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Take Me Out at the Bijou Theater, and IAWL,The Exonerated and The Scarlet Letter for VTC.
A guitar player for many years, he is a graduate of the Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull, where he studied music.
ELON CLARKE (Founding Member/Sponsor Relations)
Elon Clarke is ecstatic to reenter the world of theatre after a brief hiatus to study International Law at SUNY Brockport where she earned her BA in International Studies.
She has followed to call of the stage since childhood: starting at her Church from the age of 5 moving to the professional realm at 8 as Maretha in The Piano Lesson with the Black Spectrum Theatre Company, and then trying her hand backstage during High School working on Lighting, Set Design and Construction.
Other performance credits include: Mabel and Gooch in Jerry’s Girls, Renee in the Female Version of The Odd Couple, and Sister Saraphim in The Trouble with Angels.
A fan of 40’s fashion, Elon marked her first foray into costume and makeup design on VTC’s 2017 inaugural production of: It's a Wonderful Life.
She has also worked as a PA for Someday Productions on their Festival Darling and soon to be Cult Classic film, teh insanely long titled: The History of Everything Circa 1993 to the Present Formerly Known as Kissy Cousins Monster Babies and Morphing Elvis.
JUAN AYALA (Founding Member)
Juan is a Stage, TV & Film actor, director, musician, and voice coach. He attended Housatonic Community College as a Theatre Arts major and now works as an actor in New York City. His most recent work includes the Hallmark Channel’s Broadcasting Christmas, CBS’s Madam Secretary and ABC’s Quantico.
He previously worked as a music educator for ASK, the after school arts program at Bridgeport's Klein Memorial, and most recently as a voice coach for Westport Community Theatre Juniors. During his time at HCC, he wrote and directed several projects, including an ongoing concert series Broadway Takeover and a new musical Stakes of the Stage, for which he wrote the book, music and lyrics.
Prior to joining the VTC family, Juan was involved in 15 productions at the Bijou Theatre, either as a director or actor. Some of those credits include Neville Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Giuseppe Zangara in Assassins, and Martinez in Take Me Out in which he took on the role of Kawabata for the final weekend of the run.
For VTC’s inaugural production of The Scarlet Letter, Juan took on the role of Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale and appeared in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot as prosecutor, Yusef El-Fayoumy.
He was fortunate enough to make his Carnegie Hall debut in July 2016 at an event hosted by Broadway's Laura Osnes promoting Paramount Pictures' film Florence Foster Jenkins.
His work as a photographer is on his Instagram account: @JuanAyalaPhotography
AINSLEY ANDRADE (Founding Member)
Ainsley is an Actor, Comedian, Musician and Writer, originally from NY, now based in CT.
As an actor he appeared as the sympathetic villain, Roger Chillingworth, in VTC's Inaugural Production: The Scarlet Letter, and as Pontius Pilate and St Matthew in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. He also appeared at The Bijou as Aide Williams in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, La Cienega in Bring It On: The Musical, and as Darren Lemming in Take Me Out. For which he received nominations for Best Actor in a Play for the OnStage Critics Awards and BroadwayWorld.com Awards.
RICHARD MANCINI (Founding Member)
Rich has been active in Connecticut theatre since first serving as a “techie” at Polka Dot Playhouse on Bridgeport's Pleasure Beach in 1975, and began regularly acting, then directing in community theatre shortly thereafter. Over the ensuing four decades, he’s appeared in scores of local productions, and has directed at a multiple theatres in Fairfield County and New Haven.
His CT directing credits include: The Exonerated for VTC; Take Me Out for The Bijou Actors Guild; The Diary of Anne Frank, The Miracle Worker, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, The Crucible, The Woman in Black, The Women, Orson’s Shadow, Born Yesterday, Broadway Bound, Design for Living, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Lost in Yonkers, ‘night, Mother, and Pvt. Wars for Westport Community Theatre; The Days of Wine & Roses, Sherlock Holmes & the Adventure of the Suicide Club, You Can’t Take It With You, On Golden Pond, The Graduate, Crimes of the Heart, and The Philadelphia Story for Curtain Call, Stamford; Life With Father, A Christmas Story, Dinner with Friends, Our Town, and To Kill a Mockingbird for Wilton Playshop; Moonlight & Magnolias, You Can’t Take It With You, Mere Mortals, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, Dancing at Lughnasa, and The Children’s Hour for Eastbound Theatre, Milford; The Water Engine and Butterflies are Free for Easton Comm. Players; Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (Playhouse on the Green); Crossing Delancey, and Cry, Havoc! for Darien Players; The Weir for Clan na Gael Players, Fairfield; John Loves Mary, Irena’s Vow, American Songbook: The Music of WWII (an originally written revue), and Cactus Flower for Town Players of New Canaan; All in the Timing for Greater Norwalk C.T.; as well as numerous one-acts, staged readings and old-time-radio re-creations.
ED MARTIN (Founding Member)
Ed Martin has written about television and Internet programming for several Myers publications since 2000, including The Myers Report, The Myers Programming Report, MediaBizBloggers and, at present, Planet Ed on MediaVillage.
A member of the Television Critics Association since 1990 and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association since 2012, and was named President of the latter in 2016, Ed is among the media's best-known and most respected commentators on television programming. His access to industry leaders assures MediaVillage readers unique insights into the behind-the-scenes influences that impact network programming. Ed is also one of the leading experts on soap operas. (He has even tried his hand at acting in them.) His "voice" is among the most influential in the television programming community.
Previously, Ed was a television critic and reporter for USA Today and was senior editor, television critic and programming editor of the award-winning television and advertising trade magazine Inside Media. He has written features for Variety, TV Line, Advertising Age, Television Week, Broadcasting & Cable and TV Guide. Earlier in his career, Ed was publicity director for the independent feature film production and distribution company Vestron Pictures, where he orchestrated publicity campaigns and produced electronic press kits for dozens of movies including the Academy Award winning Dirty Dancing.