Gilberts make OCT a family affair

Gilberts make OCT a family affair

Kalista, left, and Kourtney Gilbert are twin sisters and members of Orrville Community Theater.


The smell of greasepaint, the bright lights and the applause of the crowd — these are just some of things that draw kids and adults alike to participate in the Orrville Community Theater, the local gem started in 2008 by Dennis Miller.

Shannah Kurjian, the current president of the OCT, said it has undergone several changes and challenges over the course of its life, but what hasn’t changed is the organization drawing actors ranging in age from their 70s on down to preschoolers.

For the Gilbert family of Orrville, participating with the OCT has become a family affair.

Kalista Gilbert, an 11-year-old from Orrville, could be considered a veteran of the stage. She’s been involved in acting with the group for four years along with her twin sister Kourtney.

Their mother Angela Gilbert recently had the opportunity to help direct one of the group’s plays.

One of Kalista Gilbert’s favorite on-stage moments came when someone forgot their lines. “We had to improv the rest of the scene,” she said.

Kourtney Gilbert’s favorite role was when she played Paul Bunyan’s stepsister in the play “Channeling Grimm,” a reference to Grimms’ Fairytales.

“I just love speaking,” she said. “I had whole paragraphs I got to say.”

Both girls have had a chance to explore their passion for acting through their involvement with local theater.

Kurjian said participating in the theater has been a family affair for her and her family as well, and she enjoys watching her daughters and husband on stage. She also remembered some funny moments, like when in one play the actors were supposed to slam a door.

“When the door slammed, a picture that was hanging on the wall of the set unexpectedly fell,” Kurjian said. “The cast then had to ad lib around that event and had to keep it together to keep the show going.

“The cast becomes like a family. Your theater family leaves a mark and a special place in your heart.”

The Orrville Community Theater had its own building prior to the pandemic, but due to being shut down for a period of time, it lost that space. Since then OCT productions have been held in a variety of venues including churches, community centers, Orrville High School and even a comedy club in Massillon. The group continues to seek out places interested and willing to host it for both rehearsal and performance spaces.

The organization is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and would welcome any financial donations and/or volunteers who have caught the acting bug.

For a list of upcoming performances or to become involved as an actor, director or volunteer with the theater, visit the group’s website at Through the website you will find up-to-date performance information, how to make a donation and can purchase tickets for upcoming performances. You also can follow them on Facebook.

Perhaps you too can find your passion for acting, or as Kourtney Gilbert said, “Learn to be a better public speaker.” After all, as Shakespeare famously quipped: “All the world is a stage.”

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