During the summer of 2010, the town of Cheshire sponsored its last young adult community theater production. Cheshire, like so many towns today, fell victim to budget constraints that ended support for the theater program. The following summer, a group of young adults felt the loss of this program. It was then that the two founding members of BTE found inspiration in the play Loose Ends by Michael Weller. Weller’s piece was mature and challenging for its actors and forced audience members to confront complicated and uncomfortable societal issues.
The founders of the ensemble called up their fellow thespians with the idea to put this production up on their own. They found many people who were interested and, in no time, the show was cast and rehearsals were underway. Loose Ends was a truly collaborative effort as it was performed, directed, produced, and funded by the members of the cast and their friends. Rehearsals took place in members' backyards, giving the group its name, "Backyard Theater Ensemble." Loose Ends was performed for an audience of hundreds of supporters in September of 2011. The show and the ensemble received an immense amount of positive feedback and they were bombarded with questions about when the next production would be. With that, the Backyard Theater Ensemble was born.
Since 2011, BTE has produced or been involved in dozens of productions in Connecticut. BTE prides itself on producing shows that are complex and challenging, in theaters and spaces that are intimate. BTE's shows create a connection between actors and audiences, through the closeness of the physical space and the relevance of the issues presented in the shows. BTE is also proud of the collaborative work it does with other community theater organizations in Connecticut. We embrace the opportunity to work alongside others who love art and theater.
Today, BTE is still a growing company. Our organization is made up of all volunteers who donate their time for a love of theater. We have roles within the company that serve the overall needs of the organization and we have roles that are appointed for each production we do. One of the things we emphasize is having our members fulfill multiple roles in the producing of a show. We believe that to truly immerse oneself in theater is to know all the aspects of putting on a production, from on stage to behind the scenes. All of these efforts are on a volunteer basis. The organization is an official 501c3 non-profit corporation that is run solely on the profits from our shows, donations, and fundraising.
We are always looking for more talented members who are interested in joining the organization to help us create theater that "inspires, challenges, and entertains." If you are interested in joining, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org