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 Winter Classes meet from January 9, 2017-March 24, 2017 and Spring Classes meet from April 3-June 16, 2017. Registration for our Spring Classes is open from March 1-April 7, 2017. 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 and Playwriting classes for Spring 2017: 

Acting Foundations with Michael French, Mondays 10:00-12:00     $179 for 11 weeks         Working from a foundation that is designed to free the newcomer from self-consciousness, this class offers a wonderful starting point for students of all levels. Using professional acting techniques to memorize a script, students will perform a One-Act play from memory before an audience of family and friends. If you want to experience the fun and deep satisfaction of what it’s like to be on stage, this class is for you! Great for both new and returning students. Max 12 students *This class is currently full, but you can still request a spot on our waitlist*

Viewpoints with Bruce Bierman, Mondays 10:00-12:00      $179 for 11 weeks                             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!

Playwriting with Anthony Clarvoe, Mondays 12:30-3:30      $215 for 11 weeks                            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 play, Our Practical Heaven, won the Aurora Theatre’s “Global Age Project” and was produced there in 2012-13. Max 14 students

Advanced Playwriting with Anthony Clarvoe, Wednesdays 10:00-1:00     $215 for 11 weeks       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 play, Our Practical Heaven, won the Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project and was produced there in 2012-13. Max 14 students.

Acting with Shakespeare with Trish Tillman, Wednesdays, 1:30-3:30   $179 for 11 weeks         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, exactly 400 years after his death. This spring we will explore Macbeth, one of the more fantastical (and bloody) tragedies. This world of sorcery, ambition, manipulation and madness will become our actors' playground.  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! 

Staged Reading with Jeri Lynn Cohen 10:00-12:30   $199 for 11 weeks                                      In this course, participants will dedicate an entire 11-week session to staging a full length play. Expect a challenging and rewarding experience! By the end of the session, the class will present a staged reading with developed characters, blocking, light props and costumes. This session, we will be doing a Staged Reading of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. In 1996 the New York times called it "the most important piece of political theatre of the last decade." Twenty-one years later its message is more important than ever! Jeri Lynn Cohen has been teaching at Stagebridge for the last 9 years. She is a charter member of Word for Word Performing Arts Company, where she has originated roles in over 20 of their critically acclaimed productions and she has appeared at theaters throughout the Bay Area including Berkeley Rep, ACT, and the Magic Theatre. *This class is currently full, but you can still request a spot on our waitlist*

The Director's Studio with Bruce Bierman, Fridays 10:00-12:00      $179 for 11 weeks               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.

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 Advanced Playwriting showcases will take place on March 8th, May 31, and June 7m 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.