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14 -15 36th  Season

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Northside Theatre Company's

Managing Artistic Director & Founder

Richard T. Orlando


Welcome to season 36.

This season each of our 5 productions brings with it all the excitement, freshness and cultural soul  you have come to expect from our little in size, grand in stature, theatre company.

Coming up in 36 is an explosion of theatrical experiences and challenges that have unleashed our designing, acting and directing teams. You can once again expect the best in taste and culture, without having to take out a loan to pay for admissions.

Watch your email for dates & times. Or,  just keep your eye on our website. 

So, subscribe and guarantee your seat for the hottest little ticket in town!


Richard T. Orlando

Managing Artistic Director / Founder

FFounder and Managing Artistic Director of Northside Theatre Company...BA from Chico State College...designated by California Arts Council as an Artist in Residence...has directed over 155 productions including The Sugar Witch, world premiere by Nathan Sanders, now published by Samuel French, Everyone's War and Theodore Judah and the Transcontinental Railroad in New York and San Francisco...other directing credits include, Twelfth Night, Waiting for Lefty, A Christmas Carol and Fool for Love ...has also designed sets for over 95 productions, including a number for Santa Clara University, Teatro Vision, City Lights Theatre Company, Star Productions and Alchemy Arts Theatre Company, all in the San Francisco Bay Area...teaching theatre arts has been at the heart of Richard's commitment to the theatre community...he has served as a California Arts Council Artist in Residence for four years, taught on the faculty of American Musical Theatre, conducted workshops in San Jose's Arts Express program and trained actors and technicians at Northside Theatre since 1978...cited by City of San Jose and California State legislators for his continued tradition of excellence in theatre.


                   36 YEARS IN THE MAKING

Since 1978, I have directed 167 productions. A majority of those projects were at the theatre company that I founded and developed in San Jose. I based our non-traditional company on a creative approach, continuously producing new or classic works in unpredictable and imaginative ways. My artistic philosophy is based on the tenets of performance, education, and experimentation—standards that have set us apart from other traditional theatre companies in California for over thirty years.

Our approach to production started with workshops and teaching fundamentals, before moving actors into a rehearsal and performance format that provided emerging artists with theatrical experience that extended far beyond opportunities that were offered in the existing school drama departments and community theatre organizations. I assembled a professional staff, dedicated my directing efforts toward training for performance, and supplied the energy necessary to maintain a theatre company that is foundationally stable, philosophically relevant, and conceptually direct. The result speaks for itself: a company that, for the last 35, years has produced 55 current theatre professionals.

Artistically, as a director, it is my super objective to provide the substance, direction, and management necessary for theatre artists to create. The overwhelming goal is to liberate the audience with the manifestation of the human spirit created by the performance. And to teach the worth of the craftsmanship each individual uses to create theatre by payment for said services. Everyone at Northside is compensated for his/her participation in the artistic process. 

With that goal in mind, we  have partnered with an exciting new Bay Area playwright, who has a national presence and reputation, to direct his original works at Northside theatre. Our first production of his play received rave reviews and was published by Samuel French after a bidding war between Play lists, Dramatist Play Service, and Samuel French. Our collaboration with this playwright represents plays that tell the human story,  that speaks first to the audience’s heart,  and then lets the underlying social  issues that the story deals with come later to their consciousness. Toward this objective, the story must take precedence over any point of view the playwright may want to make. The story must ring true with the audience or any other objective we may have as artists is lost.

It is always a privilege to perform for an audience. Therefore, my core values as a director always start with customer focus, and then mutual respect within all of the production team—meaning quality and professionalism must be embedded in all that we do.

We welcome and need the energetic support of talented designers. and technicians. Only with such help can we produce high quality, imaginative plays. Only through such productions can we survive, prosper and be true to our mission. 

We must once again be willing to develop and implement  important projects that are risky and energizing. Arts organizations have been frightened into thinking small. Thinking small begets small institutions, small budgets, and reduced public excitement and involvement. Small in this sense not referring to size but forward thinking. Beyond the normal, past the expected into impossibilities being realized through the theatre experience. At this moment and only when audience and performance join, then our theatres mission can be realized and understood. If those moments are to continue to survive and grow what is realized must be continued in every project we produce.

If arts organizations are going to take risks on meaningful projects and maximize their impact, they  need entrepreneurial management better suited to the current climate in which they operate. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent throughout the world each year on training performers, but only a small amount is devoted to training the people who will employ and market these performers. We have always required all of the artists with whom we work to take a turn at all aspects of performance and production. As a result, the theatre professionals we have trained are fearless and professional in all aspects of the theatre arts.

Like all institutions, the arts world is moving close to becoming a cartel of a few large mainstream organizations that survive and thrive. That would be catastrophic. A healthy arts ecology demand that we have large and small organizations, mainstream and edgy, and of all ethnic backgrounds.

We owe every child in this nation a chance to experience the joy of self-expression, the power of discipline, and the self-fulfillment of achievement that comes from the performing arts experience. And all the benefits that experience has to offer.

Every performance counts. Every production needs to bring something new to the world to be worthy of its audience. Whether we are bringing a new play to the world, or producing a well-loved classic, every show is an original that brings something never done before to our audiences. This is why we chose to produce new plays that speak to the human heart, classic plays in new and inventive ways and contemporary plays that dig and discover new ranges of emotion in imaginary situations. 

We have been living this work for thirty plus years and intend to continue. Come down and let us know what you think. We are waiting.

Olinder Theatre, 848 East William Street, San Jose CA 95116

(408) 288-7820