Chris Verrill, Theatre Executive Director

Nonprofit Director

Chris Verrill is a nonprofit theatre director who takes pride in working and volunteering in the arts and education to make his community a better place to live. For 30 years, Chris Verrill has been a producer, director and actor in over 100 stage, television and radio shows. He is the former executive director of Beijing Playhouse—China’s English Broadway theatre, the largest locally produced English theatre in China. He’s done program production and marketing for performing arts, educational television, public radio, international schools and Silicon Valley start-ups.

30 Year Media Professional

Verrill has worked at a dozen TV and radio stations doing marketing, fundraising, accounting, educational program production and program hosting.

Working Together So We Can Move Forward

Bringing people who disagree together so we can all move forward is the focus of Chris Verrill’s community engagement. To that end, an in an attempt to return common sense and civility back to the American discussion, he moderates the bipartisan political leadership group Independent Like America.

13 Year China Veteran

Having spent 13 years managing a company in Beijing, Verrill lectures and consults about how to do business in China. And more importantly, how not to do business in China.

Creative Programming

Publishing Is For Good Men To Do Nothing

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Norman Ridus Art Director

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Kelly Clarkson Designer

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Teodor Borow Designer

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A Career of Helping Neighbors

With a career spent in nonprofit theatre, educational television and public radio, Verrill’s career and life have been spent helping neighbors. Whether that’s the neighbor on the other side of the street or the other side of this blue spinny thing we’re all on—we’re all in this together.

As a theatre director, he’s done is part to bring beautiful and inspiring shows to audiences around the world. Directing and producing live theatre and then bringing overseas.

As a public television development director, he’s done his part to make possible quality educational and artistic television programs like Sesame Street and Nature. The most balanced and in depth news in the world is PBS Newshour and NPR’s tentpole news programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Verrill worked and volunteered at local stations to help make these high quality public media services possible.

He drove the teams that established two childhood education programs and went overseas and improved the professionalism of theatre and effectiveness and transparency of philanthropic practices.

Giving Back to the Community. Serving on these Non-profit Boards of Directors

Board of Directors—Independent Berkeley Student Publishing
90%
Moderator—Independent Like America
100%
Founder—Beijing for Bernie
80%
Council Member—ASUCD Business and Finance Commission
90%
Board of Directors—Rotary Club of Beijing
85%
Board of Directors—Rotary Club of Pacifica
80%
Board of Directors—Pacifica Community Television
95%
Board of Directors—Charity Readers Theatre
100%
Board of Directors—Family Planning Medical Clinic
100%
Board of Directors—Riverfront Playhouse
100%
Co-Founder—KDVS Wireless Playhouse
75%
Founder—Redding Improv Players
75%
Commissioner—Open Space Commission
90%

Chris Verrill, Theatre Executive Director

Building a Strong Community Through Arts and Education

Chris Verrill is a nonprofit theatre director who takes pride in working and volunteering in the arts and education to make his community a better place to live.   Aside from a brief foray in Silicon Valley, he has spent his career doing non-profit work locally, nationally, and internationally.

Volunteering on nonprofit boards has always been a part of Verrill’s purpose.  He’s served on the board of directors of numerous different nonprofits or government agencies.

In a quixotic attempt to do his small part to fight terrorism after September 11, he travelled on a mission to Afghanistan to build vocational education programs for women.  He wrote Is For Good Men To Do Nothing, a book about volunteering for charitable organizations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

With the rancorous tumult in today’s politics, and with the dream of bringing people who disagree together so we can all move forward, he moderates the bipartisan political leadership group Independent Like America (www.independentlikeamerica.org).  And here’s to hoping it plays a small part in positively returning common sense and civility back to the American discussion.

Theatre / Education

Chris Verrill has produced, directed and performed in over 100 shows on stage, TV and radio at a dozen different theatres on three continents. He specializes in shows that are first and foremost artistically beautiful, but also, and this is crucial for ticket sales, are popular with audiences.

He played a leadership role in bringing professional theatre to China in 2006 when he established Beijing Playhouse—China’s English language theatre.  BP is the largest locally produced English theatre in the modern history of China.  100 cast and crew, from a dozen different countries, make Beijing Playhouse’s shows an ongoing success. The theatre produces such chestnuts as Oklahoma!, The Odd Couple, Guys and Dolls and A Christmas Carol.

As a member of the board of directors of the nonprofit Riverfront Playhouse, he augmented performance success, initiated telemarketing and direct mail fundraising activities, and launched Casting Card, an audition bulletin for all of the city’s arts organizations.

Verrill founded Redding Improv Players, a improvisation performance group. He coordinated classes and directed the first shows. The troupe performed to sold out crowds for 19 years.   As one of the founders of KDVS Radio Theatre, he produced, directed, wrote and acted in numerous radio theatre productions; some of which still broadcast today. He launched Charity Readers Theatre as a way improve professionalism and transparency in fundraising while allowing artists to give back to the community.

His theatre success story has been written up in numerous newspapers and magazines in both the US and China; including the Rotarian article seen above.

As a childhood educator, Chris Verrill is particularly proud of establishing both the Northern California Sesame Street Preschool Education Program and Beijing Academy of Performing Arts, the first standalone theatre education program in China. 

In the relatively low-income rural communities of Northern California, rife with single parent families and households where both parents must work, adequate childcare is a critical issue. Underpaid and poorly trained daycare providers compound the problem—resulting in children receiving inadequate care and supervision. Verrill felt he had to act, because if this problem was not addressed, it would affect the community for generations to come. One key solution is teaching early childhood development skills to daycare providers.  In establishing the preschool education initiative, he directed the program, secured funding, hired and supervised the trainers, and as a teacher lectured on the value of early childhood education. The preschool education program trained daycare providers who have in turn used these skills to teach over 25,000 children. Future generations of children have a better start in life because of these efforts. 

Beijing Academy of Performing Arts, the first standalone performing arts education program in China, teaches children ages 6-14 the fundamentals of theatre.  

Theatre camp culminates with the performance of a show on the last day.  Typical theatre camps run for two to six weeks, Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm.  Over the course of the theatre camp, students will rehearse for a show by having classes in acting, music and dance.  They will also participate in painting sets, making props and designing costumes.   

BAPA’s mission is educational.  Theatre camp is more than a show at the end.  It’s daily educational theatre games and exercises that make students have fun and look forward to the next day’s rehearsals.  As Sesame Street research proves, children learn when they’re having fun.  And they don’t even know it.  It’s makes learning fun and magical.  The show at the end is the framework for fun learning—not the ultimate goal.  All students who audition get a role.  The teamwork, artistic expression and confidence building the students learn during the camp are the life lessons learned; which stay with them for a lifetime.

With a proven track record of success, BAPA was the first group hired to teach theatre in China’s public schools. 

Commissioned full length ten person cast stage farce Beijing<->New York (think Fresh Off the Boat meets Noises Off) is currently receiving praise in workshops.

TV / Radio

Educational Television

For eight years Verrill was the development director and principle on-air spokesperson in all televised membership campaigns and on-air auctions for PBS station KIXE-TV Channel 9. Verrill produced televised pledge drives, auctions and special events and gave lectures in the community on television and non-profit NGO related issues. He conceived and produced annual estate planning show Why A Will Is Not Enough and served as co-executive producer four part educational television series Sex and Sensibility. Verrill coordinated an education coalition comprised of ten different organizations, storyboarded each episode and secured funding for and financially managed series.  He spearheaded the efforts of a three public television station collaborative designed to increase efficiencies and improve programming for the public.

He also hosted Education Spotlight on Pacifica Community Television. He interviewed guests on camera, edited questions, and prepared guests. In his capacity as vice president of the board of directors, he updated and improved the station program schedule.  He was also on air talent for KVPT and KRCB.

Public Radio

Verrill has worked or volunteered for 14 radio stations in the US and overseas.   

At public radio station 91.5 FM WBJC in Baltimore he was responsible for budget, finances and administration and assisted with various fundraising, marketing, advertising, outreach, and public relations efforts. He coordinated the hiring of personnel and negotiated contractual agreements.  He launched daily listener contests and arts community promotions. He was associate producer for Candlelight Concert series; bringing classical music program to listeners throughout the country. 

As an evening and weekend disc jockey for Q97 FM and WNAV-AM.  He announced music, read public service announcements, recorded and rebroadcast traffic reports, produced and read news and weather headlines.   

He was the original producer and co-host of China Radio International’s nationally broadcast daily drive time features magazine. 

He volunteers his time for public broadcasting, too.  Because when we all pitch in, we can make a difference in our community.  He’s been on-air radio membership campaign host, television auctioneer, and theatre actor at KCHO, KPFA and others.

Movies

Verrill had bit parts in two Hollywood movies:

  • Kite Runner—directed by Marc Forster and written by Khaled Hosseini
  • Skiptrace—directed by Renny Harlin and starring Jackie Chan

International Experience

13 Year China Veteran

Chris Verrill spent 13 years in the belly of the beast, learning how to do business in China.  And more importantly, how not to do business in China.

What’s the one word of advice for corporations considering doing business in China?  Don’t.

Despite this warning, if you’re still set on starting a business in China, Blueberry Bamboo consultants can alert you to the obstacles, probably save you some money, and definitely save you some heartache.

Verrill spent four years producing and hosting programs on state run media China Radio International and Beijing Radio; broadcasting to a market of 1.3 billion people and getting an insider’s view on China’s censorship and corruption.

He was the founding producer and co-host of China Drive on China Radio International’s Easy FM. Nationally broadcast from 5 pm to 7 pm, Monday to Friday, this features magazine program (think All Things Considered without the quality) continues to entertain English speaking audiences in Beijing, Shanghai, and throughout China. He also produced and hosted CRI’s afternoon music program Easy Café and Beijing Radio’s Going for Gold and My Life in Beijing. His time spent with the official Chinese radio network gives Verrill an insight and expertise in how official Chinese media works that few non-Chinese can claim.

Verrill also established Beijing Playhouse, the largest locally produced English theatre in China, and Beijing Academy of Performing Arts, China’s first standalone theatre education program.

These businesses are in the media; the most sensitive industry in the most censored and corrupt major country in the world.  And he navigated the corrupt Chinese political business system.  Well, as much as that is possible. Which in many respects, it is not.

Why Did September 11 Happen?

Why did September 11 happen?  What does the world think about America since then?  While war raged in Iraq, Chris Verrill embarks on a travel adventure, from Afghanistan to Athens, Kuwait to Kathmandu, to answer those questions and more.

Traveling to five continents and 33 countries, Verrill’s international travel biography Is For Good Men To Do Nothing (www.isforgoodmentodonothing.com) celebrates the spirit one Rotary Club while chronicling a quixotic effort to build vocational education programs in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, and managing international development issues in numerous countries around the world.  The book provides 427 pages of “insightful and witty” non-fiction. “Brilliant,” said a critic. “This book is a must read.”

It’s international politics with a human touch—and a human mission.  Reminding us that charity begins at home.  But it doesn’t end there.

Recent Projects

Recent Projects
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    Sansa Stark, Northerners Inc.

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Recent Work

Recent Work