The Peninsula First Theatre Company

In Conversation with


DIANA LYNN WILEY,  PAP Managing Director

By Iride Aparicio

Photos courtesy: Palo Alto Players

Palo Alto, CA – Founded in l931, Palo Alto Players or PAP as it is commonly known, is the Peninsula’s first theatre company. For eighty four years, the “Community Theater” had produced a season of comedies, musicals, and Classic dramas, from September to June, which are the result of hundredths of hours of volunteer work. Their work had paid off because According to who bestowed it their award in 2003, PAP is “The Best Professional Theater in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

In conversation with Managing Director DIANA  LYNN WILEY, to talk about PAP's 84th Season  which includes: BIG FISH, HARVEY, EURYDICE, THE ADAMS FAMILY and CHINGLISH and discuss her vision for the institution she manages, CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL discovered her rich and diverse working background in many fields including Business,  theatre (she is an actress), retail, non-profits and the music industry.  “But you know,” she tells us with her charming  Texan candor, “I always go back to theatre because I am so passionate about theatre.”

“I Love theatre,” she adds, “I love how it makes you feel a certain way, and that it is live.  It is always something very exciting for me to see a group of actors doing what they do on the stage, and because I have been in "the other side" as well, (acting)  I know how it feels when it is your show's opening night and the curtain goes up. I also love being in the theatre, (with the audience) experiencing a show.”

C.W.B.  As Managing Director, what is your vision for PAP?

D.W: “My vision is to continue producing the quality live theatre that the community expects from us, but  I also want to do more this season:

  • Do more fund raising,  so we are now working in our marketing efforts
  •  Do more Getting out into the community
  •  Do more in Bringing an educational aspect to the theatre.

“Because,  that is the reason why we are here for. We are a “Community Theatre” first and foremost, so we do have a responsibility to the Community, but (at the same time) we need support from the community so that we can provide them with the theatre and the experiences that we are offering now and the ones we want to provide them in the future.”

“I really want to do more in the community. We were voted “Best Professional Theatre” by which means we are a professional theatre and I can say that, as a theatre, we  provide many jobs in the Bay Area. A lot of times we hire designers that were in theatre doing other jobs, but now want to design sets and costumes. So, it is nice that we can provide an opportunity for these people and let them thrive and grow even when, some times, they leave us. We have been here (in Palo Alto) for 84 years and hopefully we will continue for another eighty four, but as I said before, my priority is to get more involved with the community.

C.W.B.  HOW?

D.W: “I am thinking of allowing the children of East Palo Alto, and maybe those of the surrounding communities, to see a (PAP) dress rehearsal, which I think would be very interesting because, some times, it stops and they (the school kids) will have a chance to see what is "really" happening in the theatre. They also may get to go behind the scenes after enjoying the show, and I think that it may spark their interest in the theatre. That will also give them the opportunity to see, or even talk, with the Director or the Scene Designer and I think that it is important for these children to experience these things because in a theatre there is so much to experience.”

“We performed in the Palo Alto festival on Saturday and some of the cast members performed some numbers from BIG FISH and one number from the ADAMS FAMILY and I would like to do more of that.

"Because we are also involved with the Chamber of Commerce, we are now trying to get big corporations like, GOOGLE,  to  come to the theater (at least) one night and get to learn some things about it."

"We also need people who want to do some voluntary work, and  we would like to grow our Board of Directors, that is a big plus, and it would help us get out into the community more."

"We also need to do more fund raising, so now that our 85th Anniversary is coming up we want to tie things up. A theater always can use donations, they can be monetary, or costumes or simply donating time for volunteer work. There are so many things volunteers can do, from helping backstage, or with ticketing, or working on Will Call, or simply helping the customers to their seats. There are so many jobs in a theater, and volunteering is a way for people to meet people. It is also a way to find a job because if  they are interested in working in the theater in the future, volunteering will put their foot at the door.”

Diana tells us that if anybody is  interested in volunteering work at PAP they all they have to do is send them an e-mail at:  or fill the volunteer form on their website:

She ends the interview saying: “I would like to tell people, that if you like what you see at PAP, support us. Come to our shows”

To order tickets go to: or call: 650-329-0891


Highlights of BIG FISH their first show may be seen at: