Gary Osteraas, Ph. D.,
Managing Director

Gary Osteraas has a long history in the fields of aging and in the arts. He has served as deputy director of Meals on Wheels in San Francisco, executive director of Adult Day Services Network in Contra Costa County, and executive director of the Ombudsman Program of Alameda County. He has been a member of the national board of Meals on Wheels of America and has served in several statewide organizations in the field of aging. Dr. Osteraas first became interested in the arts and humanities as an undergraduate student at Carleton College. He studied for a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and taught the humanities and history at a number of colleges, including Brooklyn College, Clark University, Bayero University College in Nigeria, and, most recently as an adjunct professor at Holy Names University in Oakland. Throughout his career he has actively promoted intergenerational projects in community history, theatre and the arts, and he has served on the board of the Massachusetts Intergenerational Network. Dr. Osteraas served for six years as a member and treasurer of the board of the Shotgun Players in Berkeley.

Josiah Polhemus, M.F.A.,
Artistic Director

Josiah Polhemus is a noted writer/director/teacher/producer who grew up in Palo Alto and has a MFA from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where he co-starred with William Hurt in Good. He has appeared in over fifty plays and won Best Featured Male Performance for his portrayal of George Deever in Arthur Miller's All My Sons. His television roles include The Young and the Restless, Days of Our LivesandThe Tracey Ullman Show. Josiah has taught theatre in schools, colleges and community organizations. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, having won both Best Screenplay and Best Film for his short films Pause and Vision at the Hollywood Scarefest. His docudrama No Plan: Stories of survival in the Big Easy raised money for families who suffered as a result of Hurricane Katrina. His film credits include starring roles in the independent films The Scottish Tale and My Bad Dad, and appearances in Detonator and The Truth about Cats and Dogs.



Stuart Kandell, Ph.D.,
Executive Director Emeritus, Founder (1978)

Kandell has been called a “pioneer in the field of creative aging” and is nationally known for his leadership of Stagebridge. He studied theatre at Northwestern University, received his Master's in Drama at University of Newcastle, England. In 1996, Kandell was the first American to receive his doctorate in Intergenerational Studies from the Union Institute in Cincinnati. He is a featured speaker at many national conferences, including the American Society for Aging and the Global Conference on Aging in Montreal. He has also served as a site reviewer for the NEA. In 2000, Kandell was nominated by the American Society on Aging and received the first Generations United Award for Intergenerational Innovation. In 2005, he was selected as one of 35 leaders for the Mini White House Conference on Creativity and Aging, sponsored by the NEA. Most recently he helped to plan and run the first National Conference on Creativity and Aging in New Jersey. In 2007 he was elected Treasurer for the Board of the National Center for Creative Aging based in Washington D.C. He is the 2009 winner of The California Wellness Foundation Sabbatical Award. Kandell and his work with the company have been featured on CNN, World Monitor TV, PBS and in many national publications and magazines.


Kirk Waller, M.A.,
Storytelling Director/TimeSlips Director

Kirk has been involved in storytelling, theater, public speaking and mime for more than 20 years. His stories are a dynamic blend of musicality, mime and emotion. He has a bachelor's degree in English and a Master's in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and has trained in mime and Commedia dell’arte characterization. In addition to businesses, schools, libraries and special events, he has appeared in local and regional storytelling festivals. He is the author of the book Sister Water and Misses Wind, a retelling of popular African American folktales and the CD Quack, Gabble, Squawk and other Animal Tales. Kirk is a member of the Storytelling Association of Alta California , National Storytelling Network and Delta Wordweavers. He is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious, bi-annual, J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant from The National Storytelling Network Program.



Greacian Goeke, M.F.A.,

Greacian is a performer and writer trained in modern dance, improvisation and choral singing . Since 1989 she has served as a community teaching artist, creating and directing original projects with all ages in drama, movement, music, oral history, poetry and visual art. She has worked extensively in the Bay Area public schools and with the Goldman Institute on Aging, Museum of Children’s Art (Oakland), the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Crowden Center for Music in the Community. At Mills College Children’s School, she directs an Orff Schulwerk program for classroom teachers to strengthen their music and movement skills. She holds an M.F.A. in Performance from California College of Arts and Crafts (now CCA) and a bachelor’s in English from Cornell University.



Barbara Johnson,
Program Coordinator

As Schools Program Coordinator, Barbara works closely with elementary school principals and teachers in four East Bay school districts, booking assemblies and classroom workshops in storytelling, drama, and improvisation, and ensuring that schools comply with foundation and government grant requirements. She works continually to expand the network of educators aware of Stagebridge’s schools program, and is a key liaison to the Oakland community. A native of Louisiana and resident of West Oakland, Barbara attended Laney College and came to Stagebridge in 1995 after flying worldwide as an airline flight attendant, serving as a hostess and bartender, and driving a big rig. She’s a proud grandmother of two.



Richard "Scrumbly" Koldewyn.,

Scrumbly is an accomplished composer who has performed with the Cockettes, Distractions and the Jesters Vocal Trio, touring throughout Europe. He has been musical director for many Bay Area theatres including Berkeley Rep and 42nd Street Moon. His awards include the Bay Area Critic’s Circle and Bay Area Cabaret Gold Awards.  For Stagebridge he has been musical director for Comedy Tonight and currently directs the touring show Never Too Late. He also created the music for Stagebridge’s world premiere musical Sylvia’s Advice on How to Age Gracefully on the Planet Denial based on the works of Nicole Hollander.



Michael Stephens, A.B.,

Michael Stephens is a 1973 anthropology graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.  His first career as a museum anthropologist included positions at U.C.B.’s Hearst Museum of Anthropology and with the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, N.M.  He shifted to the fundraising arena in 1984, becoming Grants Manager at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.  Subsequently, he was Associate Director of Development – Foundations & Corporations at San Diego Opera and then Director of Development at California Shakespeare Festival.  In 2003 he moved to Chicago as Director of Grants Services at the Harmony Foundation.  He joined Stagebridge in 2006. He has served as a board member for the Southwestern Association of Indian Affairs, the Mexican Cultural Institute of San Diego, Sinfonia San Francisco and several other cultural organizations.  A grandfather of two, he lives in Point Richmond.