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 Spring Classes meet from April 3-June 16, 2017. Our Summer Classes meet from June 19-September 1, and our Performing Arts Camp meets July 10-14. Registration for Summer Classes and Camp is open now. If you are interested in sitting in on one of our current classes, or would like more information, give us a call at 510-444-4755 or email info@stagebridge.org

Stagebridge's current acting instructors include Bruce Bierman, Jeri Lynn Cohen, Michael French, Martin Holtz, Clara Kamunde, Christie Maturo, 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 allowing our playwrights to see their work performed by professional actors on stage at The Flight Deck Theatre in Downtown Oakland. Our most recent Playwriting Showcases took place on Wednesday, December 21 at 7pm at the Flight Deck Theater. 

We're offering the following Acting classes for Summer 2017: 

Introduction to the Meisner Technique with Christie Maturo and Suzanne Schmidt, Tuesday June 20-Friday June 23    

In this intensive workshop we will focus on Meisner's approach to living truthfully moment to moment. We will learn to take focus off ourselves and place it on our acting partners. The result will be that we are more present, less self-conscious and find we have to do far less work. Maximum 12 students. $275

 Advanced Meisner Technique with Christie Maturo and Suzanne Schmidt; Monday June 26-Thursday June 29, 10:00-4:00

This class will continue to build on the foundational work learned in the Introduction to the Meisner Technique class. We invite you to join us for the next phase of the work that Meisner calls "emotional preparation," in which students learn how to enter a scene emotionally full. You will learn to deepen your personal connection to the text and given circumstances, as well as strengthen your emotional availability. Furthermore, we will be discussing how to break down a scene, analyzing it for beats and actions.  Maximum 12 students. $275

Playback Theatre with Martin Holtz; Tuesday, 2:00PM-4:00PM July 18-August 29 and 1:30-3:00 during our Performing Arts Camp, July 10-14

Playback Theatre transforms audience members’ stories into theatre pieces right on the spot through spoken improvisation, movement and ritual. In this summer class, led by Martin Holtz,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! Maximum 12 students. $125

Guerilla Theatre with Martin Holtz; Wednesday, 2:00PM-4:00PM July 19-August 30 

Be an Artist activist! Utilizing improvization, singable parodies, short prose and activist methods derived from Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, the group will create, quick satire/protest performances in public places that speak out on socio-political issues. Surprise instant theatre to encourage, inspire and protest. Speak out for the world you long for. Put the mock in Democracy. Limit to 10 participants. $125

Two Day Intensive Workshop in Acting Technique with Trish Tillman; Tuesday, August 15 and Wednesday, August 16 10:00AM-1:00PM

Build your skill set as an actor! Whether you are new or a seasoned actor, we will go deeply into how to create a believable and compelling character through the use of: Acting Technique (the Actor’s Toolbox), Intention, Imagination, and Physicality. This is an overview class designed to give you more tools to access in your creative work. We will work with monologues from modern plays. We will also have a lot of fun finding out more about to make clear and engaging choices in your acting. Come join! Maximum of 12 students. $125

The Shakespeare Sampler with Trish Tillman; Tuesday, August 21-Thursday, August 24 10:00AM-1:00PM

In this intensive class, you’ll get a crash course in all things Shakespeare, starting with History and Text: the Basics on Monday, Speaking Shakespeare: the Sonnets and Monologues on Tuesday, Shakespeare’s Lovers on Wednesday, and finally, we’ll end with Shakespeare’s Villains on Thursday. Shakespeare is the most performed playwright in the English-speaking world, and here you’ll find out why. Open the treasure chest of text, characters, stories and the world Shakespeare wrote in to spend some quality time with the man who created “the invention of the human.” We will work with text from many of the plays and become more familiar with the man and his work. Max of 14 students. $155

Word for Word* with Jeri Lynn Cohen, 9:30-11 at our Performing Arts Camp, July 10-14

Whether you’re an avid reader, an actor, or a combination of both, checkout Word for Word! Instructor Jeri Lynn Cohen brings fun and games through poetry and stories, culminating in a short performance! You can expect to build skills in acting, improv, and collaborative performance.This is a unique class that you won’t find anywhere else. Dig into the collaborative process of Word for Word, as actors and creators. 

Devised Theater* with Jeri Lynn Cohen, 11:15-12:45 at our Performing Arts Camp, July 10-14

Taught by Jeri Lynn Cohen, this class encourages actors to collaborate as an ensemble, devising work which reflects on an overarching metaphor, question, or theme chosen by the group. Create short monologues and scenes based on original writings and class improvisations,then shape and refine these moments into a cohesive theatrical narrative. Come participate in a world premier theatrical event! This class is appropriate for beginning and more experienced actors. No prior experience necessary—if you love acting, storytelling, improv, or working together to create, you’ll love this class!

Hip Hop Theatre* with AeJay Mitchell, 1:30-3:00 at our Performing Arts Camp, July 10-14

"Who tells your story?" A question asked by the chorus of Lin-Manuel Miranda's current hit Hamilton has been asked by hip hop theatre artists since its creation with one single answer: YOU. In this class, you will tell your story through the syncopated language and percussive movement of the hip hop cannon. Beginning with breaking down works from the jazz poets and moving to making poetry from your personal life, you will create rhythm to bring your work to life. Don't throw away your shot. AeJay Mitchell is an educator, actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer based in Oakland, California. Originally from Louisiana, he has been granted opportunities to study, perform and teach for the past decade across the United States. He trained in Dance, Theatre, and Music at WakeForest University in North Carolina and is an alumni of Jacob's Pillow Dance Apprenticeship Program where he took classes from Monica Bill Barnes, Camille A. Brown, Hofesh Schecter, and Barak Marshall among others. He has also worked with dance theatre and performance artists Yin Mei, Tim Miller, JoeGoode, and the Architects.

Monologue Boot Camp with Jeri Lynn Cohen, 1:30-3:00 at our Performing Arts Camp, July 10-14

Bring a monologue and be prepared to put it through the ringer! Bring an original piece you’d like to workshop or a favorite from a classic play or performance piece. Jeri Lynn Cohen will make sure you’re prepare for that audition by the end of the week. This course will help you build public speaking skills, feel comfortable and natural while delivering longer pieces, and learn what to do with your hands while you’re performing. 

Many of our classes culminate in in-class showcases. Most recently, our public acting performances have been a production of Edith Wharton's short story Xingu, based on the Word for Word method and directed by Jeri Lynn Cohen, and Staged Readings of August: Osage County by Tracy Letts and 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman, both directed by Michael French. All of these performances took place at the Flight Deck Theater in Downtown Oakland. For Fall 2016, our Staged Reading class presented "I Remember Mama" at 7:00PM on Tuesday, December 6 at the First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St. Our next Playwriting showcases will take 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.