RICHARD T. ORLANDO

Northside Theatre Company's Founder and Managing Artistic Director for 37 years, Richard T. Orlando,  studied Theater Arts at Chico State University, where he was awarded the prestigious Alpha Psi Omega award. He founded Northside Theatre Company in 1978 as a city-run youth theatre and took it to independent, non-profit status as an Arts education resource in the aftermath of Prop 13 budget cuts. Richard directed and designed over 160  plays, including the world premiere of Nathan Sanders’ The Sugar Witch, which was later published by Samuel French.

He served as an acting instructor for the Northside Theatre Company, City of San Jose Arts Express Program, the American Musical Theatre’s summer conservatory program, and the San Jose LEARNS program. From 1990 to 1992 he served as a California Artist in Residence for the SanJose Unified School District. In 1989 he served as a consultant to the San Jose 2020 Task Force for Mayor Tom McEnery, the San Jose Youth Service Committee for Mayor Susan Hammer, and the Arts Council of Silicon Valley for Germain Cummings. He also acted as a special consultant to Teatro Vision in 1993 and San Carlos Children’s Theater in 1994. Mr. Orlando was awarded the Certificate of Excellence from State Senator John Vasconcellos in 1990.

Richard summed up his career in this way: “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.”

Richard passed away the morning of Saturday, May 14, 2016. His wife of 40 years, JR Orlando, was at his side.


In addition to his loving wife, Richard is survived by his sisters Kathy Glaze and Cherilyn Barringer, and brother Robert Orlando.


Richard will always be beloved and missed by all of us here at Northside Theatre Company.

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