It Takes a Village


It Takes a Village…

Assistant Editor

We all know the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well, the Orinda Starlight Village Players (OrSVP) philosophy is the same about community theater. Susan Chapple, wife of Artistic Director Geotty Chapple says, “You cannot do community theater alone.”  

“OrSVP is run completely by volunteers who work tirelessly to put on high quality live theatre here in Orinda,” says OrSVP Administrative Director Jill Gelster. “We get support from local businesses like Gepettos’s Caffe who donates all our coffee for concessions. Peter Leou, owner of Gepetto’s and now Village Inn Cafe has been a tremendous help to us.”
Another long-time supporter of OrSVP is Village Pizza. They have donated all the food for the cast dinner on the all-day rehearsal leading up to opening night of each production. “Adrian Adme, owner of Village Pizza, has been very generous with this donation. In the past, each production’s director had to pay for this meal,” says Gelster. “This has been a great help to these tireless volunteers.”
OrSVP members have also been instrumental in supporting the theater during the discussions of the proposed changes to the Orinda Community Center Park. “We are very grateful for the support of OrSVP members Steve Andersen and John Cahill who came to the City Council meeting to speak for the needs of OrSVP,” says Gelster. “With the support of Laura Abrams, among others, OrSVP’s needs were addressed in the future plans for the park.” Through their generous donations, OrSVP’s members keep the theatre alive. “The actors, stagehands, designers and production personnel freely donate their time and talents so that you may continue to enjoy live theater here in your own backyard,” says Geotty Chapple. “The only revenue we generate is from donations and ticket sales, which does not bring in enough to meet our operating costs.”
Several years ago, OrSVP became involved with the Orinda Rotary Club and the Dancing with the Cars fundraising event. “The Starlight Players organization is an integral part of the largest fund raiser in Orinda (Dancing With The Cars) produced by the Rotary Club of Orinda,” says Rotarian Frank Darling. Donations from these groups helps pay for the rent of OrSVP’s storage space for costumes, furniture and props. “Funds raised at this event as well as the Orinda Classic Car Show are key to the survival and goals of The Orinda Association, Orinda Starlight Village Players, Orinda Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Orinda.”
As part of the Shop Orinda program, OrSVP has a dinner/theatre offer: eat at an Orinda restaurant the night of an OrSVP performance and get two regular priced tickets for the price of one. “We would also like to thank the restaurants and other businesses of Orinda for allowing us to put up our posters in their windows,” says Gelster. “Our marketing budget is very limited and this helps get the work out about our Dinner/Theater offer.”
“Having a volunteer group like the Orinda Starlight Players in the community to not only produce plays but that allows anyone to participate in their plays is unusual, unique and a valuable resource to enhance our support of the arts,” says Darling. Gelster adds, “OrSVP does need the village of Orinda to help keep our theatre running for the last 35 years and hopefully many more.”
Performances of OrSVP’s current production, Dave Freeman’s Kindly Keep it Covered, run Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. until Aug. 11, with a Thursday performance at 8 p.m. on Aug. 2. Anyone who is interested in any aspect of theatre and would like to help is encouraged to contact the group at or 925-528-9225.

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