November 2019 Blogathon: Devan Orr

It is Brelby tradition to dedicate the month of November to giving a platform for our artists to share their stories. This month our annual Blogathon theme returns to its roots with a visit back to the topic of “My Brelby Story.” We’ve grown a great deal over the past few years, and many of our original bloggers have moved on to new careers, new lives, new challenges, and new cities. Enjoy this year’s series with 30 Days of Blogs.

My Brelby story starts with a friend, and ends with a family. See, my friend Michael was in several Brelby productions (you’ve heard from him in years past) and absolutely loved it. He was then approached to join an advisory board of sorts, a group of people dedicated to the theatre and wanting to make help Brelby an even better place. In looking for new board members to join and support, Michael approached me, saying he really loved this theatre, and wanted to know if I was interested in helping out. It had been a few years since I was involved in a theatre or other arts group, and so I was very excited to take a chance and help in a more administrative capacity, to ease back into it. From the very first meeting I attended, I could tell that Brian and Shelby had passion and drive, and cared so much about this theatre they created–more than as a business, but as a true family. That passion radiated out to everyone they worked with, and instantly I was hooked. Not only did I get involved administratively, but with their support and encouragement I auditioned for and landed a role in a musical, for the first time in years.

Through the next two years of my involvement, this group of people has gone on to start their very own arts non-profit organization, the Brelby Foundation. Our mission is to promote and encourage the advancement of theatre in the community, and help local playwrights and actors to engage with others and broaden their platform. We support Brelby Theatre Company in making arts for everyone by everyone, and ensure theatre is mirroring the voices in our community. The Brelby Foundation raises funds to help stage shows such as Return to Rosie’s Pub and the Shakespeare in the Park series, to send Brelby artists to national conferences in order to sharpen their skills and create more opportunity, and to offer free tickets to students and community members, ensuring they can experience live theatre.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the family I’ve found in Brelby, and the amazing, hardworking, talented people making everything come together behind the scenes. I’m thankful for my colleagues on the Brelby Foundation board, who work tirelessly to ensure the theatre is accessible for everyone, and come together to lift up the arts in our community. I am so proud to be currently serving as their President, and I cannot wait to see where we can take this organization in the future. And most of all, I’m thankful for all of you, the loyal patrons and lovers of the arts. It is only with your support that we can stage new, original works and fan favorites; that we can spread new ideas and travel to new places, and that we can keep people engaged with the arts. If you’d like to donate, please visit and join our #GivingTuesday campaign. This year, we are raising funds to begin a direct giving campaign that will immediately impact artists in our community, and make sure that we are supporting our family. Thank you again for all of your support, and Happy Thanksgiving. From my family to yours.

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