10 Things You May Not Know About the Prospector Theater

Inspiring. Uplifting. Fun. Awesome. These are our first impressions upon walking into the Prospector Theater. We had the pleasure of spending time at the Prospector recently to learn about their upcoming happenings and to get a deeper dive into their amazing mission. We’re lucky to have this incredible theater (and organization) right here in our community!

Here are 10 things you may not know about this sparkly Ridgefield gem:

The Prospects Prospector Theater Ridgefield CT

1.  The Prospects

Employees of the theater are known as Prospects, with approximately 74% of the Prospector’s workforce self-identifying with a disability. Prospects work on every aspect of running the theater and keeping operations in tip-top shape – from ushers to photographers and graphic designers, to café and concession staff, to box office staff, to operations and the Clean Team that keeps the theater sparkly clean! Prospects are paired with jobs that highlight their strengths and passions – or as they call it, “sparkle”.


“We sparkle and transform our passions into professions, while earning paychecks with competitive wages.”

Movies at The Prospector Assistive Technology Ridgefield CT

2. The Movies

The Prospector features first-run movies in their spectacular state-of-the-art theater right in the heart of Ridgefield, Connecticut. But this is no ordinary theater. The Prospector is a non-profit organization that uses education, engagement, and entertainment to showcase the incredible talents and employability of its Prospects. Attending the movies at the Prospector is truly a memorable experience – for all! True to their inclusive mission and approach, the movies can be enjoyed by everyone with the assistance of an array of adaptive technology like Audio Description Headsets and Closed-Captioning Devices. And monthly Sensory Friendly screenings are available to those with sensory sensitivities to relax and enjoy.


“We believe in breaking down barriers. Every job, activity, and project should be accessible.”

The Prospector Theater Mission Ridgefield CT
The Prospector Theater

3. The Mission

The Prospector Theater is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing competitive and inclusive employment to people with disabilities through the operation of their premium, first-run movie theater. Prospects sparkle and transform their passions into professions, while earning paychecks with competitive wages.

Each new release generates dozens of opportunities to use their sparkle as they transform ordinary moviegoing into memorable experiences. The Prospector offers products that people want – good movies, fresh popcorn, entertaining pre-show content, clean facilities, and unparalleled customer service! When you see movies with the Prospector, you create the thousands of business operations and interactions that fuel their mission!


“Sit back and enjoy while we work and employ!”

Staff at the Prospector Theater with their signature Prospector Popcorn

4. The Popcorn

When the pandemic brought movie-going to a halt, a new enterprise was born out of hardship and ingenuity! Prospector Popcorn was launched in 2021 and it is now a flourishing business, with unique flavors and distribution through their e-commerce website for nationwide enjoyment. The best part – all popcorn is popped daily by Prospects at the theater’s commercial kitchen, teaching job skills and creating jobs. With eight delicious signature flavors, and new special flavors being added all the time, the Prospector’s professional “Popcornistas” transform traditional theater-style popcorn into sparkling showstoppers worthy of standing ovations. 

“Popcorn, sparkle, & JOBS! Prospector Gourmet Popcorn is a tasty treat on a mission.”

To commemorate Autism Acceptance Month this April, a new popcorn flavor has been created! Not only does Superstar Crunch taste amazing, but it’s also a great way to show your support for Autism Acceptance Month. 

Prospector Theater CT History

5. The History

The Prospector Theater is the vision of Founder Valerie Jensen. One night when driving through town, Val passed the old Playhouse – Ridgefield’s first-ever movie theater. Although there were plans to demolish the old building, Val knew that this was the perfect opportunity to create a customer-facing business with a wide array of jobs. After several years of planning, designing, construction, and operationalizing, the Prospector opened its doors on November 20th, 2014.

Prospector Theater CTnBuilding

6. The Building

The design of the Prospector Theater is as awe-inspiring as its mission. The 26,000 square foot building, designed by Doyle Coffin Architecture, leads the way in excellence of exhibition, accessibility, and employment. Each of the four theaters has stadium-style seating and is fully accessible to those with physical disabilities. From the twinkling ceiling in the Theater 4, to the lounge seating, to the artistic touches throughout – the Prospector building is like no other.

Prospector Theater Ridgefield CT Artwork

7. The Art

The theater is full of dazzling works of art at every turn. The towering chandelier sculpture by artist Warren Muller is composed of intricate found objects and represents the new life and remarkable value of anyone who has ever felt “discarded”. The “selfie-moment” mosaic murals by Philadelphia artist Isaiah Zagar reflect the sparkle of the Prospector’s mission. Look closely and you’ll see Special Olympics medals proudly donated by the athletes. And the “movie DNA” murals are a special treat that make movie history come alive. Take a tour through the theater and you will be amazed by the creativity of the building design and artwork throughout.

Prospector Theater Ridgefield CT Rentals, Parties,Events

8. The Star Bar

For a special event or party that is sure to sparkle, the Prospector’s dramatic Star Bar and state-of-the-art theaters are available to rent for special occasions. This is a great way to host a dazzling event, whether for a special business meeting, an intimate party, or a fun event for the little ones – all while supporting a wonderful cause.

Prospector Theater Sparkle Ridgefield CT

9. The Sparkle

From the shiny pennies on the Heads-Up Café ceiling, to the dazzling artwork, to the smiles and attitude of all involved – The Prospector sparkles on from the talents, strengths and passions of the Prospects who make this amazing organization so special!


 “Each new release generates dozens of opportunities to use our sparkle as we transform ordinary moviegoing into memorable experiences.“

Prospector Theater Ridgefield CT Classy Awards Finalist

10. How you can get involved

There are so many ways you can support the Prospector Theater! Come see a movie, buy their gourmet popcorn, become a sponsor, buy a gift card, host a party or event at the Prospector, plan a service learning opportunity, join their team, and donate to their mission of meaningful employment. You can also vote for the Prospector Theater for the 2023 Classy Awards, from now until April 25, 2023.

Thank you!
Many thanks to Adam Ingberman of the Prospector Theater and the Prospects for spending time with inRidgefield and sharing the magic of The Prospector!

Photo credits: All photos in this story are courtesy of the Prospector Theater.

The Prospector Theater

25 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877