About

Stagebridge WILL celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2018!

Stagebridge, based in Oakland, California, is the nation’s oldest and most renowned theatre company of older adults. Founded in 1978 by Dr. Stuart Kandell, the company’s mission is to transform the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts. Stagebridge accomplishes this with award-winning Creative Aging programs that offer opportunities for lifelong learning and participation in the performing arts. Stagebridge’s unique position as a theatre company “for and of” older adults demonstrates in action the many ways in which elders enrich our culture and our communities.

Stagebridge offers professionally-taught classes for adults over 50 in its Performing Arts Training Institute, as well as storytelling programs in Bay Area public schools in its Storybridge program.  Through Seniors Reaching Out events, the company brings high-quality entertainment and hands-on classes to community venues that serve both active and frail elders. Stagebridge also contributes to the quality of life for older adults by providing performance-based staff training to healthcare workers and senior services providers. Lastly, Stagebridge produces public storytelling performances and new theatrical works that showcase the rich and varied experiences of older adults to a multigenerational audience.

Stagebridge is the winner of the 2013 MetLife Foundation Creative Aging Award and the 2009 American Society on Aging MetLife MindAlert Award.  The company’s work has been featured on ABC‐TV, CNN, National Public Radio, in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Modern Maturity, Oakland Magazine, Storytelling Magazine and at national and regional conferences. Stagebridge’s award-winning programs are beginning to be replicated in Hollywood and Santa Cruz, California.

Performance

Through public showcases, theatrical productions and outreach performances, Stagebridge presents 600+ workshops, performances and events annually for over 25,000 people of all ages.  Stagebridge commissions and produces new theatrical works that explore the rich and varied experience of seniors from veteran professional playwrights.  The company has created over 35 original works, performing for more than 350,000 people throughout our history in senior centers, hospitals, schools and theatres.

Training

The company’s Performing Arts Training Institute, led by some of the Bay Area’s finest professional artists, offers more than 20 classes each week and is the winner of the American Society on Aging’s MetLife MindAlert Award.  Our Summer Performing Arts Camp features a wide range of hands-on training in acting, improv, storytelling, musical theatre and playwriting for adult campers, aged 50+.

Healthy Aging Programs for Seniors and Service Providers

Our Seniors Reaching Out programs include a variety of teaching artists and performance ensembles, including Never Too Late, Storytellers, The Dreamers vocal trio, the Antic Witties improv troupe and the Playback Theatre ensemble. Touring Groups perform at senior residences, adult day centers, hospitals and conferences, often bringing learning and entertainment opportunities to frail seniors who would otherwise have little access to the arts.  Stagebridge is the only West Coast representative of TimeSlips ™, an innovative program that engages people with memory loss and dementia in creative storytelling.  A pioneer in the field of healthy aging, Stagebridge created the award-winning “See Me!” Program to train medical professionals to see older adults as real people.

Intergenerational School Programs

Our Storybridge Speaking and Listening Program, which pairs Stagebridge storytellers with elementary school teachers and students, has officially been demonstrated to improve students’ language arts skills and test scores. Through Storytelling Assemblies and our Grandparent’s Tales Writing Contest, we bring history alive for students by providing an increasingly uncommon bridge between young people and elders.

Stagebridge in the News and Around the Country

Stagebridge has been featured on ABC‐TV, CNN, National Public Radio, in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Modern Maturity, Oakland Magazine, Storytelling Magazine and numerous other broadcast and print media, and at many national and international conferences.  Our profile as a leader in the field of healthy aging continues to grow, positioning us as a resource for numerous other companies and communities. In response to the growing demand for quality participatory arts programming for the senior demographic, Stagebridge is beginning to replicate its award-winning work with exploratory programs in Hollywood, Santa Cruz and Humboldt County. Stagebridge has replicated its award-winning work in Hollywood and Santa Cruz.