Local Spotlights

Vanguard Theater Company: A Theatre Dedicated to DREAM

Owner: Janeece Freeman Clark

My business: Vanguard Theater Company

The story behind Vanguard Theater Company is…
VTC was founded in 2015 by two Black artists to provide equitable opportunity and access to theater among artists and audiences of color, and change the narrative around traditional theater. VTC has grown steadily and rapidly since 2015. After years of looking for a home of our own, on March 1, 2020, we signed a lease in Montclair’s Fourth Ward, at 180 Bloomfield Avenue. We intentionally chose this location because we wanted to be part of the dynamic cultural hub that exists in Montclair. A hallmark of our practice is partnering with non-arts organizations. Collaborators include public, private and higher education, government agencies, advocacy groups and those providing social and human services, such as: The Actor’s Fund; Out Montclair; NJ Pride; Everytown for Gun Safety; Covenant House NJ; Nassan’s Place (Autism support for inner city families); Seton Hall University; Integrated Care Concepts of Montclair; First Congregational Church of Montclair; Montclair Film; Toni’s Kitchen; Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH); GrassRoots Foundation; Link Charter School-Newark, Lifelong Montclair (senior services). These collaborations foster idea exchanges, as we share our respective knowledge and practices.

The theater uniquely creates…
Through our mission of theater dedicated to DREAM: Diversity, Reciprocity, Education, Activism, and Mentorship, we create a safe and inclusive space for individuals of different racial, socio-economic backgrounds and life circumstances to collaborate to address issues of social injustice through theater..

A fun fact about VTC:
Founder and Artistic Director Janeece Freeman Clarke met her husband Dwayne Clark in Urinetown on Broadway; Janeece was Miss Molly in the hit PBS series Dittydoodle Works; several students from Vanguard Theater Company’s Broadway Buddy Mentorship program are now on Broadway and National Tours.

Learn more: View Vanguard Theater Company‘s full profile here.