The Bijou Theatre has a long and colorful history dating back to 1909. Silent films were growing in popularity and Lillian Ashmun commissioned architect Ernest G. Southey to design a movie house with a two-story ballroom above. It was common for the Bijou to offer three or four Vaudeville shows every day. The price per ticket back then? 5 cents for matinees, 10 cents for evening shows!
Aside from movies, the Bijou Theatre was alive with music and dance. Peter Dawe bought the building and Daniel J. Quilty, a master dance instructor, operated his College of Dancing, bringing waltz, polka, tap and ballet lessons to the city of Bridgeport until 1950.
Trends come and go, and in the second half of the 1900s the Bijou Theatre underwent different identities and was renamed The Rivoli, Downtown Cinema and then Downtown Family Cinema. One hundred years after showing its first movie, the Bijou Theatre regained its original name. Our goal now is to retain the spirit that comes with it.