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. Registration is now closed, but if you are interested in sitting in on one of our classes, or would like more information, give us a call at 510-444-4755 or email info@stagebridge.org. Our Spring classes will meet April 3, 2017-June 16, 2017, and registration will open on March 1.

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 Winter 2017: 

Acting Foundations with Michael French, Mondays 10:00-12:00                                      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

Viewpoints with Bruce Bierman, Mondays 10:00-12:00                                                                  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                                                               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 

Ensemble Acting with Michael French, Mondays 1:00-3:00                                                           A dynamic and well-rounded program, this is a class for those with prior acting experience who wish to continue learning, practicing, and developing new skills in a challenging and inspiring atmosphere. With ten-minute ensemble-plays as a vehicle, students will learn how to create deeper characters, give stronger performances, and take what they know to another level of success. Max 14 Students 

Advanced Playwriting with Anthony Clarvoe, Wednesdays 10:00-1:00                                      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

Drunks, Drugs, and Almost Dead Character Development with Jeri Lynn Cohen, Thursdays 1:00-3:00                                                                                                                                             This class encourages you to pick a role that challenges your physical reality. Plays we might explore include Long Days Journey into Night, Angels in America, and Whose Life is It Anyway? We will immerse ourselves in exercises that will explore the physical world of drinking, tripping, dying and anything else you can think of that will stretch your skills. Sound like fun? It will be! Instructor Jeri Lynn Cohen has been a Charter Member of Word for Word Performing Arts Company for 23 years, originating roles in over a dozen of their productions. She has appeared throughout the Bay Area at A.C.T., Aurora Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Campo Santo, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, and she has toured internationally with both the San Francisco Mime Troupe and Word for Word Performing Arts Company.  

Commedia Del'Arte with Bruce Bierman, Fridays 10:00-12:00                                             Created in 16th century Italy, this broad comic physical theater has been delighting generations with its smorgasbord of all too familiar  human fools. Use your whole body in a fun exploration of the hilarious 'commedia family' which includes over-stuffed tyrants, zany servants, miserly masters, vapid young lovers, sorceresses, cowardly captains, quack doctors and more.  Students will improvise on the famous book of 'Lazzi' (comic bits), get to work with masks and learn how to create their own cannovacci (comic scenes). 

Acting with Shakespeare with Trish Tillman, Fridays 10:00-12:00                                               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 winter, we will explore the play As You Like It, one of Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies of rebellious love, wise foolishness, and deep friendship. 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! 

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. 

To ensure that you receive personal attention, we’ve limited class size, which means that some classes do fill. For more information about classes or registrations, contact us today.