Building Our Mission of Meaningful Work

Designed and envisioned by Valerie Jensen, the Prospector Theater was built as a solution to the unemployment epidemic among adults with disabilities. While working as the executive director of an arts and recreation non-profit for people with disabilities, Val was always disheartened to see so many of her friends struggling to find work.

"My friends are so talented, so I was shocked to see how few of them had a job. And those who did were often put into menial roles that seriously undervalued their skills and capabilities."

One night when driving through town, Val passed the old Ridgefield Playhouse - Ridgefield's first ever movie theater. Although there were plans to demolish the old building, Val knew that this was the perfect opportunity for three reasons...

  1. Her friends needed meaningful work

  2. Movie theaters create dozens of jobs

  3. Ridgefield's closest movie theater was 10 miles away

 Val and fellow Prospect K-Mann.

Val and fellow Prospect K-Mann.

After several years of planning, designing, construction, and operationalizing, the Prospector opened on November 20th, 2014! We have been open EVERY DAY since then, demonstrating our amazing talents and the true power of meaningful work! 


Prospector Press

Our mission and story, as featured on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

Yankees Pregame goes in-depth with the Prospector Theater.

Traditional Home magazine honors our founder & executive director Valerie Jensen!

HooplaHa highlights our grand opening!

The "Prospects" Look Good For This Local Connecticut Movie Theater

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month but for one local movie theater in upscale Fairfield County, Connecticut, every day is about providing meaningful employment for people with disabilities.

In Ridgefield, a Movie Theater With a Lofty Mission

Arts | Ridgefield When Debbie Kadagian and her parents, Dale and Joan Learn, headed out for a Friday matinee of "Ricki and the Flash" recently, they did so with a simple goal. "We heard the movie was good, and we wanted a couple hours of escapism," Ms. Kadagian, of Ridgefield, said.

Prospector Theater Encouraging Others To Employ People With Disabilities

Working at the Prospector Theater in Ridgefield helped Rebecca Ruscoe find confidence. "I would never use the phone and, now, it's a big part of my everyday job here," says the 24-year-old with cerebral palsy who just got a new job as a specialist at the Apple Store in Danbury.

People With Disabilities Have A Hard Time Finding Jobs, And This Company Is Doing Something About It

A nonprofit movie theater in Connecticut is committed to giving people with physical or developmental disabilities an opportunity to succeed in the workforce.

State of Connecticut, Autism Action Coalition Name Prospector Theater "Employer of the Year" - BoxOffice Pro

(HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT) - In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, The Prospector Theater was invited to the state Capitol to receive the "Employer of the Year" award from the State of Connecticut and the Autism Action Coalition.

Movie theater provides 'prospects' to disabled workers

After spending a decade working at a nonprofit serving adults with disabilities, Valerie Jensen knew there had to be a better way of helping her friends with special needs. "I realized that we really didn't need more art classes or craft shows, we just really needed jobs," she said.