about Acting

“Stagebridge is warm, welcoming, and fun. It gives elderly people an opportunity to come out of their shells and become another identity.” - Mona S., Oakland Asian Cultural Center

Shakespeare noticed that “All the world’s a stage,” but even the great bard would have been impressed with Stagebridge’s warm welcome of each and every player. Our acting and playwriting classes are exhilarating as well as supportive, customized for both beginning students and advanced actors. Our schedule indicates whether a class is beginning, advanced, or all levels.

Our Fall classes meet Monday-Friday, September 25-December 8; there are no classes the week of November 20-24. Our Winter classes meet Monday-Friday, January 8-March 16. Registration for Winter 2018 classes is now open through the end of first week of classes, January 12. You can register online HERE. To register over the phone or if you have any questions, please give us a call at 510-444-4755 or email info@stagebridge.org.

Stagebridge's acting instructors include Bruce Bierman, Jeri Lynn Cohen, Jeff and Susan Dunn, Lauren English, Martin Holtz, Christie Maturo, Josiah Polhemus, Suzanne Schmidt, and Trish Tillman. These noted performers, directors, and innovators will guide you through role play, text analysis and movement skills to help you make strong and connected acting choices. Enjoy the camaraderie of other players as you create engaging characters, enhance your sense of timing, and learn how to project complex emotions.

Tapping into the power of playwriting, you can also get involved in creating a play or sketch-working with award-winning playwright Anthony Clarvoe. Recently, we've had the pleasure of supporting our playwrights in having their work performed by professional actors on stage at The Flight Deck Theatre in downtown Oakland.

Our Winter acting and playwriting classes include:

Viewpoints with Bruce Bierman; Monday, 10:00am-12:00pm Jan. 8-March 12

A fun, transformational experience of ensemble theater-making with award winning director/choreographer Bruce Bierman. For the first hour we train together in an essential theater practice called 'Viewpoints,' an improvisational  game that expands the performer's awareness of Space, Rhythm, Vocals, Emotion, Music, Gesture and more. Then, we dive into the exciting process of ensemble theater making!  Students learn to create together in developing an original ensemble play based on agreed upon themes, found text, stories, or poetry. This class is appropriate for all levels—beginners welcome

Max 12 students. $200

Playwriting with Anthony Clarvoe; Monday, 12:30pm-3:30pm Jan. 8-March 12

In an open forum discussion, students share writing each week, receiving friendly feedback from the instructor and fellow students. Students will learn writing exercises and work towards short or full-length plays. Anthony Clarvoe is a veteran playwright whose award-winning works are produced across the country. His most recent play, Gunpowder Joe, was published by Broadway Play Publishing, featured in American Theatre magazine, and will be excerpted in Smith & Kraus's upcoming The Best Men's Stage Monologues 2017. 

Max 12 students $250.00

Beginning Playback Theatre with Martin Holtz; Monday, 2:00pm-4:00pm Jan. 8-March 12

By popular demand—we’ve added a second  session of Playback Theater. This class is designed for beginners, advanced beginners, and advanced students to act as mentors to newcomers in a smaller class size. Playback Theatre transforms audience members’ stories into theatre pieces right on the spot through spoken improvisation, movement and ritual. In this class participants will experience warm-up games, short forms and story improvisation techniques that capture the essence of this interactive art form. Fun, challenging and meaningful! Martin Holtz is a founding member and associate director of the Bay Area Playback Theatre and has been a Storybridge artist-in-residence for 7 years.

Max 10 students $200

Advanced Playback Theatre with Martin Holtz; Tuesday, 3:20pm-5:20pm Jan. 9-March 13

Playback Theatre transforms audience members’ stories into theater pieces right on the spot through spoken improvisation, movement and ritual. Participants will experience warm-up games, short forms and  improvisation techniques that capture the essence of this interactive art form. This advanced class gives students possibilities to perform throughout the community. Martin Holtz is a founding member and associate director of the Bay Area Playback Theatre. Registration priority for advanced students who have previously taken Playback Theatre at Stagebridge.

Max. 12 students $200

Acting with Shakespeare with Trish Tillman; Wednesday, 9:30am-11:30am Jan 10-March 14

Take a trip back in time to Renaissance England, and become actors in a Shakespearean theater company. We will re-create the seating of the Globe Theater, encourage patrons to boo and cheer, and have an awfully good time unraveling and knitting up the language, moods, characters, and tricks that the good William Shakespeare still offers 400 years after his death. This winter, to lighten the dimmer days, we will explore the delightful play The Comedy of Errors. Our actors’ tools of physical and emotional expressiveness will be honed through playful exercises, thoughtful and creative discussion, and original interpretation of characters. At the end of the session, we will perform our selected scenes. No previous acting or Shakespeare experience necessary; but lots of goodwill is! No memorization required either; the words will be your friends and guides. Huzzah!

Max 16 students $200

Writing Full-Length Plays with Anthony Clarvoe; Wed., 10:00am-1:00pm Jan 10-March 14

By popular demand! For writers who are interested in working in greater depth on longer-form plays. Lecture, discussion, and exercise-based instruction in dramatic craft. This class complements and may be taken concurrently with Playwriting (Mondays). Anthony Clarvoe is a veteran playwright whose award-winning works are produced across the country. His most recent play,         Gunpowder Joe, was published by Broadway Play Publishing, featured in American Theatre magazine, and will be excerpted in Smith & Kraus's upcoming The Best Men's Stage Monologues 2017. 

Max 12 students $250

Scene Study with Josiah Polhemus; Thursdays, 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm (choose one section)  Jan. 11-March 15

Scene Study is an effective, in depth strategy that allows actors to hone their technique, gain experience with direction, and put their skills to the test. For this class, Josiah will be focusing on the play Almost, Maine by Jon Cariani. This collaborative class allows for feedback from the instructor and other class members. Josiah is an award winning actor and director who is the Founding Artistic Director of RE:ACT. He is also the former Artistic Director of Stagebridge.

Max 14 students $200

Script Analysis with Josiah Polhemus; Thursdays, 3:30pm-5:30pm Jan. 11-March 15

How do you find your way into the play? Together we will explore different methodologies and analytic techniques to investigate dramatic text. This class will teach the basics of script analysis, giving the actor an opportunity to see material in a new way. Script analysis can help you understand characters and their motivation, subtext, and rhythms and patterns within a play.

Max 12 students $200.00

Many of our classes culminate in in-class showcases. Our public acting performances have included staged readings of August: Osage County by Tracy Letts and 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman, both directed by Michael French and taking place at the Flight Deck Theater in Downtown Oakland; and a staged reading of the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, which took place at the Piedmont Center for the Arts. Our most recent Playwriting showcases took place on May 31 and June 7th, 2017.

To ensure that you receive personal attention, we’ve limited class size, which means that some classes do fill. If a class you're interested in has a waitlist, we encourage you to sign up and attend the first day of class, as we often have spots open up in the first week. For more information about classes or registrations, contact us today.