Bijou Theatre

275 Fairfield Avenue,
Bridgeport, CT 06604

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The interior of The Bijou Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of the very last historic movie theaters left in Bridgeport, the Bijou Theatre was opened in 1909, originally intended as an opera house, it opened as a movie theatre. In 1929, it was renamed Rivoli Theatre, and in later years became the Studio Cinema, and the Downtown Family Cinema, which closed in 1996. The seating capacity was for 604.

After laying dormant for many years, the theater was purchased by new owners in 2005, and eventually renovation work began. The Bijou Theatre re-opened July 7, 2011. It now operates as a multi-functional venue with 202 seats (94 stadium, 108 cabaret). The dominant focus will be on independent films and cultural art performances, with additional attractions of live music, comedy and theatrical productions.

The original proscenium arch has been retained, framing an intimate stage, equipped with new lighting & sound system. There is an old fashioned style concession stand, a full service bar, and coming soon, full dinner service at the cabaret tables.

Contributed by Roger Katz, Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 39 comments)

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 10, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Still empty on the inside. A few posts ago it says it will open a few months after Two Boots opens, which was around Christmas. So April?

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 25, 2008 at 8:43 pm

The latest news (from two months ago) is that instead of renovating this into a three screen complex by adding two more screens in other parts of the building it will be kept a one screen theatre with only the original auditorium due to financial reasons.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on April 12, 2009 at 10:43 am

Okay. New update, Summer 2009. View link

As for the Bijou movie house, which dates to 1909, Mr. Kuchma says he has at last found a tenant for it. He was not prepared to give further details but said he was hopeful of a summer opening. (The theater already has one nonthespian tenant: its second-floor ballroom and viewing balcony house the architecture offices of Antinozzi Associates.)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 7, 2009 at 3:46 am

Hahaha – it has been opening “this summer” for the past five summers now.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Here is a 1968 photo of the Rivoli.

dctrig
dctrig on December 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I live in L.A. but have fond memories of patronizing the Rivoli in the 1950s and 1960s. One of the last movies I saw was “Mr Moses” in 1965. If I’m not mistaken we could hear bowling during the movie as there was an alley either adjacent or above the theater.

My mother remembered the upstairs ballroom as “Quilty’s”, in the 30s and 40s. It was a great location with Howlands, Sears, Barnum Hotel, Koenig’s Art Shop and a fresh food and meat market very close.

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on July 7, 2011 at 9:06 am

Finally! Great news. It opened today. I was there the other day and snapped pix. New neon signage and exterior with a box office and concessions stand. The big picture window is open with a new carpet, long draped table and it looks like it’s waiting for tons of people. 3 framed poster signs out front says, “Open Summer 2011”.

And the article: http://www.fairfieldweekly.com/news/connecticut/nm-ff28newsbijou-20110707,0,5745392.story

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I just went to the Bijou today to see some old Chaplin films. The theatre was gutted and rebuilt, but some old features such as the proscenium remain. This could be a great addition to downtown Bridgeport. My only problem was the parking is pricey. It cost me $7 to park in the garage across the street. BTW, the permanent seats are not in yet, but hopefully will arrive soon!

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on February 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Good to know. I know they’ve had a steady bunch of programming there including live shows.

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