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. Registration for Fall 2017 classes is now open through the end of first week of classes, September 29. 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 current 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 allowing our playwrights to see their work performed by professional actors on stage at The Flight Deck Theatre in downtown Oakland.

Our Fall acting and playwriting classes include:

Viewpoints with Bruce Bierman; Monday, 10:00am-12:00pm Sept. 25-Dec. 4

A fun, creative and transformational experience of ensemble theater-making with award winning director/choreographer Bruce Bierman. See why directors and actors all over the globe are now using Viewpoints as an essential tool to create new works of theater together. For the first hour we train together in Viewpoints---an improvisational gentle movement game that expands the performer's awareness of Space, Rhythm, Vocals, Emotion, Music and much more. Then, the next hour, we dive into creating and performing theater 'compositions' developed by the group based on agreed upon themes, found text, stories, poetry, etc. This class is appropriate for all levels—beginners welcome. Max 12 students. $179

Playwriting with Anthony Clarvoe; Monday, 12:30pm-3:30pm Sept. 25-Dec. 4

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 $215.00

Beginning Playback Theatre with Martin Holtz; Monday, 2:00pm-4:00pm Sept. 25-Dec. 4

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, 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!  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 12 students $179.00

Script Analysis with Lauren English; Monday, 2:00pm-4:00pm *Short Course* Oct. 30-Dec. 4

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 $100.00

Advanced Playback Theatre with Martin Holtz; Tuesday, 3:20pm-5:20pm Sept. 26-Dec. 5

Playback Theatre transforms audience members’ stories into theatre pieces right on the spot through spoken improvisation, movement and ritual. In this 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. 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 and has been a Storybridge artist-in-residence for 7 years. Registration priority for advanced students who have taken Playback Theatre in the Winter, Spring, or Summer 2017 class sessions at Stagebridge. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact our office at info@stagebridge.org or 510-444-4755. Max. 12 students. $179.00

Radio Plays with Susan & Jeff Dunn; Wednesday, 10:00am-12:00pm Sept. 27-Dec. 6

Explore the world of radio plays through reading and performing a variety of Golden Age radio scripts. Learn to read with passion and projection, create sound effects using every day items, and incorporate radio ads and recorded music. Emphasis will be on finding your stage voice and exploring how body language and posture enhance character and voice delivery. Work as a team by cueing off other actors, and perform various classic radio scripts in groups. We will end with a radio play showcase using actors, performed sound effects, recorded effects, and original ads. $230.00

Writing Full Length Plays with Anthony Clarvoe; Wed., 10:00am-1:00pm Sept. 27-Dec. 6

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 $215.00

Acting Foundations with Lauren English; Wednesday, 11:00am-1:00pm Sept. 27-Dec. 6

The objective of this class is explore and create your own personal way into the acting process. Our work will begin by theatricalizing personal narrative and our work will culminate in the investigation of dramatic text. Lauren English is a local perfoming and teaching theatre artist. Most recently she was seen in The Legacy Revival of The Baltimore Waltz at The Magic Theatre. Locally, she has worked at The Aurora Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Festival, Word for Word, Marin Theatre Company, Magic theatre, Marin Shakespeare Company, among others. Lauren is a founding member and Artistic Associate at The SF Playhouse. Selected New York Theater performance credits: TACT's Off Broadway Production of The Cocktail Party, Hamlet at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and The Idealist at The New York Times Theatre. Lauren has taught acting at Studio ACT, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco and she also teaches privately. She holds a MFA from NYU Grad Acting. www.laurenenglish.net $179.00

Acting with Shakespeare with Trish Tillman; Thursday, 9:30am-11:30am Sept. 28-Dec. 7

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 fall we will explore Richard III. 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! $179.00

The Comedy of Nichols and May with Josiah Polhemus; Thurs., 1pm-3pm Sept. 28-Dec. 7

Elaine May and Mike Nichols put out a series of highly popular comedy records that had a huge impact on American comedy in the 60’s. Join Josiah to work on some of these classic sketches. Learn about timing, rhythm and the occasional improvised line. Material will come from Nichols and May Examine Doctors and from rare TV appearances and spots.  Class will perform the sketches for an audience in their final class (possibly to be included in a performance showcase). NOTE: Class will not be held on October 8th. 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. $199.00

The Director's Studio with Bruce Bierman; Friday, 10am-12pm Sept. 29-Dec. 8

The joy of directing is in solving theatrical puzzles; diving deeply into the big ideas of our great playwrights while collaborating with fellow artists. This class will give students the opportunity to see their vision come alive on the stage! The Director's Studio invites each unique voice of the student director to emerge through practice, encouragement, critical feedback, collaboration and more practice. Students will wear the hat of both director and actor in this studio--with a chance to both direct a scene and act in another director's project. Welcome to all who are willing to make big mistakes, ask questions, collaborate and get down to the very nature of what theater is capable of. $179.00

Scene Study with Jeri Lynn Cohen; Friday, 1pm-3pm Sept. 29-Dec. 8

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. Find a partner - pick a scene and work on it in class. We’ll start with a read-through in a large group, learning about the material and one another. This will be followed by research, both in-class and independent, blocking, direction, notes and exercises. This collaborative class allows for feedback from the instructor and other class members. We’ll culminate in a performance of carefully crafted scenes. $179.00

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.