“In college I only did the safe stuff.

Now I don’t care… and I’m growing more.” 

- Marcia , 68, performing arts student.

Registration for Spring classes opens Thursday February 22nd at 9:30am. Classes run from April 2nd through June 8th. Read course descriptions below.

If you are interested in classes please contact us!

Are you ready to take your talents to the stage? Our Performing Arts Institute (PAI) will help you develop the skills and confidence in a fun, supportive community. Stagebridge's PAI program is the nation’s first professional performing arts training program for older adults. Our classes are customized for beginning to advanced students with instructors drawn from prestigious local theater programs such as Studio ACT, CalShakes, the Theater Department of California State East Bay, and the Drama Therapy Program of CIIS. Our program includes the following:

  • Acting
  • Dance & Movement
  • Improv
  • Directing
  • Playwriting
  • Musical Theatre
  • Singing
  • Storytelling

...and more!

Whether you’re looking for an extra dose of fun, or are seeking employment as an actor, director or teacher, PAI is an exciting and affordable way to develop a wide range of performing arts skills.

Click the + HEADERS below to see a full list of our spring classes with descriptions.

+ Acting Classes

Viewpoints with Bruce Bierman, Mondays 10am-12pm, $200 for ten weeks
A fun, transformational experience of ensemble theater-making with award winning director/choreographer Bruce Bierman. For the first hour we train together in an essential theater practice called 'Viewpoints,' an improvisational game that expands the performer's awareness of Space, Rhythm, Vocals, Emotion, Music, Gesture and more. Then, we dive into the exciting process of ensemble theater making! Students learn to create together in developing an original ensemble play based on agreed upon themes, found text, stories, or poetry. This class is appropriate for all levels—beginners welcome.

Beginning and Intermediate Playback Theatre with Martin Holtz
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 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!

Advanced Playback Theatre with Martin Holtz, Tuesdays 3:20pm-5:20pm, $200 for ten weeks
Playback Theatre transforms audience members’ stories into theatre pieces right on the spot through spoken improvisation, movement and ritual. Participants will experience warm-up games, short forms and 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. Registration priority for advanced students who have previously taken Playback Theatre at Stagebridge. Max. 12 students.

Acting with Shakespeare with Trish Tillman, Wednesdays 9:30-11:30, $200 for ten 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 400 years after his death. This spring, to leap into a fine mix of comedy and drama that still has repercussions today, we will explore the powerful play The Merchant of Venice. 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 Trish Tillman, $200 for ten weeks
Enjoy acting in a delightful spring staged reading of one-acts by David Ives, master of language and wordplay. He is known for his "enchanting... incisively intelligent and side-splittingly funny" series of one act plays, including full-length plays Don Juan in Hell and Venus in Fur. Beneath the comedy, universal truths also lurk about us: how we act, how we dream and aspire, and how we thwart ourselves. Every play has a small cast (two-four actors only) so we ensure full parts for everyone. Bring your silly, bring your serious, and bring your commitment to open your mind and heart to these wonderful acting gifts of plays. Max. 12 students

+Dance Classes

Advanced Musical Theatre with Ellen Robinson & Bruce Bierman, Mondays 1:00-3:00, $250 for ten weeks
Join Ellen Robinson and Bruce Bierman for the beloved Broadway musical A Chorus Line. The Tony Award winning classic explores the inner lives and poignant ambitions of showbiz wanderers auditioning for a chance to be in a Broadway chorus line. The show features one powerhouse Marvin Hamlisch number after another including: One, What I Did For Love, At the Ballet, and Nothing. This class is designed for advanced students who would like to take their singing, harmonizing, dancing and acting skills to a new level - and all at the same time! Students are required to make a commitment from January-June for both the Winter and Spring seasons, and the class will culminate in a final performance in the June Showcase. Students who have not enrolled in the Winter 2018 section of this class will need instructor approval to join Spring 2018.

Joy of Dance with Bruce Bierman, Tuesdays 10:00-12:00, $200 for ten weeks
Everybody can dance! Join a supportive circle of 'movers and shakers' as we wake up our bodies, minds and happy endorphins. Each class begins with a gentle warm-up, exploring Flowing, Staccato, Chaotic, Lyrical and Still rhythms and shapes. Fun dance improvisations tap into each mover's creativity and authentic movement. Then, we tickle the left brain with a new piece of choreography each week. Choreographed dances are often from the World Folk and Broadway dance repertory. Please wear shoes and clothing appropriate for dancing. All levels welcome and encouraged! Max 12 students

Beginning Tap with Sam Weber, Tuesdays 1:00-2:00, $125 for ten weeks
Beginning: An introduction to the sounds and routines of tap popularized by Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, Ann Miller, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Gene Kelly and Gregory Hines.

Intermediate Tap with Sam Weber, Tuesdays 2:00-3:00, $125 for ten weeks
Learn how to add sounds to the basic steps, creating faster and more intricate rhythms. Sam Weber, tap dancer, works internationally as a performer, master teacher, and choreographer. A protégé of San Francisco tap master Stan Kahn, he is the winner of numerous awards, including the New York Dance Critics’ “Bessie” and, in July, 2017, the “Hoofer’s Award,” given by the American Tap Dance Foundation.

Both Beginning and Intermediate Tap, Tuesdays 1:00-3:00, $200 for ten weeks

Time Step Tap Workshop with Lucia Fanellia, Monday & Tuesday 12-2pm, March 19-20 and 26-27, $100 for 8 hours
We are excited to offer a Tap Workshop with Lucia Fanelli during our 2018 Spring Break. We have all heard of a "Time Step." We may even have been taught one in a dance class as a child. Did you know there is more than one? We will focus on learning approximately 16 of them which include varying styles of singles, doubles, triples, off-beats, toe taps, heel toe taps, cramp rolls, broken time steps and more if possible! Each class will begin with technique to prepare us for time steps and then apply the technique to actual time steps! In addition, a fun, easy to dance tap routine to Jackie Wilson's Baby Workout will be taught! The workshop is scheduled Mondays and Tuesdays from 12:00 to 2:00 pm for two weeks (March 19 and 20 and March 26 and 27). Students from Advanced Beginning to Beginning Intermediate Levels welcome. Students must be able to execute shuffles, flaps, flap changes, shuffle hop steps and flap ball changes comfortably. We encourage you to enjoy yourself by participating in this rare opportunity to be able to continue to dance with Lucia and learn more than one time step!

+Improv Classes

Improv Games & Skills with Mona Thompson, Wednesdays 10:00-11:30, $175 for ten weeks
Build your muscles of spontaneity, character-work, attention, and storytelling in this fun, all levels course. This class is great for students who have never improvised as well as seasoned improvisers who want to keep playing games and improving their skills. Max 16 students/class

Improv Performance Skills with Mona Thompson, Wednesdays 11:45-1:15, $175 for ten weeks
This intermediate/advanced class is for students with an improvisation background who are looking to take their performance skills to the next level. In this class, you'll expand your scene work skills, get more individualized feedback, and experiment with new improv performance formats. Max 14 students/class

Long Form Improv with Reid Davis, Wednesdays 1:30-3:30, $200 for ten weeks
Students will explore character development, create comic and dramatic scenarios, practice physical improvisation, and more and then map the plot of their own play. The class will culminate in an invited performance of their work, performed live as long-form improv. Max 14 students.

+Playwriting Classes

Playwriting with Anthony Clarvoe, Mondays 12:30-3:30, $250 for ten 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 most recent play, Gunpowder Joe, was published by Broadway Play Publishing, featured in American Theatre magazine, and will be excerpted in Smith and Kraus's upcoming The Best Men's Stage Monologues 2017. Max 12 students.

Writing Full Length Plays with Anthony Clarvoe, Wednesdays 10:00-1:00, $250 for ten 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 most recent play, Gunpowder Joe, was published by Broadway Play Publishing, featured in American Theatre magazine, and will be excerpted in Smith and Kraus's upcoming The Best Men's Stage Monologues 2017. Max 12 students

+Singing Classes

Singing with Scrumbly, Three Sections: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 10:00-12:00, $200 for ten weeks
Choose one section from Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday. One of Stagebridge’s best-loved classes. For singers, both experienced and aspiring, who want to broaden their singing experience. The class features group warm-ups and work on technique, plus individual work with an emphasis on finding and developing the real singer in you. Students should bring a solo to work on, sheet music, or just lyrics for fairly well-known songs. Scrumbly is a popular and well-known pianist, singer, performer, teacher and the composer for many musicals, including several Stagebridge productions. Max 14 students.

Advanced Musical Theatre with Ellen Robinson & Bruce Bierman, Mondays 1:00-3:00, $250 for ten weeks
Join Ellen Robinson and Bruce Bierman for the beloved Broadway musical A Chorus Line. The Tony Award winning classic explores the inner lives and poignant ambitions of showbiz wanderers auditioning for a chance to be in a Broadway chorus line. The show features one powerhouse Marvin Hamlisch number after another including: One, What I Did For Love, At the Ballet, and Nothing. This class is designed for advanced students who would like to take their singing, harmonizing, dancing and acting skills to a new level - and all at the same time! Students are required to make a commitment from January-June for both the Winter and Spring seasons, and the class will culminate in a final performance in the June Showcase. Students who have not enrolled in the Winter 2018 section of this class will need instructor approval to join Spring 2018.

Jazz & Broadway Harmony Chorus with Ellen Robinson, Tuesdays 3:15-4:45, $175 for ten weeks
Join jazz vocalist Ellen Robinson for an exciting adventure in to the world of harmony! This is a class for experienced singers who want to take on Broadway tunes and jazz standards in 3 and 4 part harmony. Singers need to be able read music and hold their own while singing harmony. We’ll address how to improve your vocal technique, blend with other singers and further your knowledge of music theory. Permission of the instructor is needed before taking this class.

Never Too Late with Scrumbly Koldewyn & Joanne Grimm, Fridays 1:00-3:00, $175 for ten weeks
The production tours to senior centers and residences, health fairs, community and special events. Winter 2018 registration is open to continuing members only.

+Storytelling Classes

E.P.I.C. Intergenerational Storytelling with Kirk Waller and Olga Loya (two sections), Thursdays 1:00-3:00, $200 for ten weeks
his class will focus on telling stories to children in the classroom. Through workshop, exercises and practical application, students will learn storytelling techniques specific to younger audiences (How to engage students, developing characters, call and response/audience participation, learn group and crowd management techniques pertaining to children and more). Students will also learn the value of listening to stories and connecting with mature storytellers.

The Art of Storytelling: America Retold in Times Unseen with Jeanne Haynes, Fridays 10:00-12:00, $200 for ten weeks
More stories that let the light come in

Once again, as part ofThe Marsh Times Unseen project, we will develop stories focusing on the country’s political divide. But appropriately enough for our Spring session - with its themeAmerica Retold - we will focus on activation stories with their ring of hope. It has been said that this unique current upheaval environment offers “access to reset buttons.” In the Fall session, America Untold featured stories of how specific issues were negatively affecting us. Now we will focus on: Building Bridges: talking, listening and telling with respect stories from people on the other side; andBecoming Involved:stories about the splendid things, no matter how large or small, in which people are doing something in the problematic arenas of gun control, racism, immigration, public education, LBGT concerns, anti war issues, arts support, voter registration/canvassing, health care, childcare, women’s right to choose/MeToo, the homeless, the elderly and the disabled - concerns exacerbated by the current Administration’s policies and reduced funding. Our Spring Class Showcase is booked for the evening of June 12 on the Berkeley Marsh Main Stage. Our Fall Showcase in December at this premiere venue was a smashing storytelling success with an overflow crowd. Maximum 12 experienced tellers

Storytelling Unleashed with Joel Ben Izzy, Nancy Wang (Eth-noh-tec), and Willy Claflin
The cost of a single workshop section is $100; the cost for two workshop sections is $175; and the cost for three workshop sections is $225.

Joel ben Izzy: Harvesting the Stories of Our Lives 9:30am-11:30am
Some of the richest stories we can tell are hidden just below the surface of our daily lives. This is a chance to see what's there, through fun, participatory exercises that will help you find your stories as you discover techniques to bring them to live. The emphasis is on sharing stories, rather than performance, but will likely generate story material for those who wish to present it at larger venues. Either way, you can count on having a good time, honing your story skills and coming away with stories you did not know you knew. Joel has spent over three decades traveling the globe, gathering and telling stories. While the tales he tells come from around the world, he has a particular love of stories at the boundary between fact and fiction, where the world of folklore and the "real world" spill into one another. He has produced six award-winning CDs of his stories and is the author of two books weaving together stories from his life with world folklore. Dreidels on the Brain, his most recent book, was chosen as a finalist for The National Jewish Book Award. His storytelling memoir, The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness, is currently being developed as both a movie and a musical. For more info on Joel and his telling, writing and consulting, see storypage.com.

Nancy Wang (Ethnohtec): Tell It! Move It! Workshop 12:00pm-2:00pm
Telling a story is more than speaking. In this participatory workshop, you will have fun with creative exercises, choreographic elements, movement and gesture, learn the trick of body confidence on stage and story dynamics to help make your story move and capture its essence while capturing your audience! Nancy Wang has lived out many roles in her life: social worker (MSW), psychotherapist (LCSW), dancer, choreographer, dance teacher (Performing Arts Workshop, Asian American Dance Workshop, Kalilang Kulintang), playwright (Asian American Theater Workshop, Eth-Noh-Tec), and founding co-director and principal performer of Eth-Noh-Tec, an Asian American kinetic storytelling non-profit organization. The common thread in all these roles is her commitment to serving community with compassion and a vision for justice and equality, for self-acceptance and a consciousness that benefits the whole through the arts and in her personal and professional relationships. Through storytelling, dance, music, art, writing and performance, she expresses many issues both ancient and contemporary with themes of forgiveness, the courage to tell the truth, compassion and wisdom, man's foolishness, contemporary issues and more. Her latest focus is on immigration and racism through the multi-media performance 'Red Altar', book 'New Pair of Wings', cd 'Red Altar', live events, panels, workshops, and the ‘ImmiGratitude®’ (sharing your immigration story and collage art) workshops. 'Red Altar' has been performed eight times to full houses and standing ovations in Tennessee, Utah, Washington State, Connecticut and California. A book of Red Altar is in the editing phase and will be published soon.As Eth-Noh-Tec, Nancy has produced multiple events over the last 35 years: monthly 'Salon! You're On!' presenting community, national and international artists; workshops in storytelling, identity, cultural appropriation vs. innovation; apprenticeship program; special events; concert length Asian American stories; 'Tales of Terror' - annual ghost tales; storytelling festivals; ‘Nu Wa Cultural Exchange Tours’ bringing storytellers and artists to India and China; and more.Visit me at www.ethnohtec.org

Willy Claflin: The Warthog and the Valley Girl: An Exploration (And Celebration) of Voice 2:30-4:30pm
As storytellers, our voice is our instrument. But how well do we know our instrument? Do we know how it sounds, what its limits are, have we experimented to find the full range of what it can do? Do we practice every day? Do we care for it properly? Is every spoken word as clear as it can be? Is the foundation of our breath “strong enough to stand on?”As storytellers, each one of us has the job of giving voice to everything, speaking worlds into being; giving life to everything that dwells in those worlds. What a big job! We must be the voice of the wizard, the woman by the side of the road, the troll, the fox and the goose and the moose, our mothers, our grandfathers, birds and beasts and rivers and rocks and stars!In this workshop we’ll discover our voice(s) together. We’ll shout and whisper and growl and yodel and morph into droids. We’ll give a voice to the falling rain and the waves washing up on the shore.We’ll also experiment with timing and tone; figure out when to pause and when to rush ahead, when to beckon and when to confide, when to threaten and when to cajole, when to lecture and when to listen in silence. We’ll learn to speak in nonsense tongues, make realistic sound effects, and howl together at the moon.In short, let us make a joyful noise! Willy Claflin is a one-man festival. Spanning historical sagas, intergalactic yarns, Mother Moose Tales, and counter culture misadventures, he covers the full spectrum of spoken word entertainment.A headliner and master of ceremonies at the National Storytelling Festival, Willy is a favorite at festivals throughout the U.S. He offers stories for families as well as adults, often weaving music into his performances. An accomplished guitar player and narrative ballad specialist, Willy is sometimes joined by his son Brian for performances of In Yonder’s Wood- a celebration of traditional music from the British Isles and Appalachia. His tributes to departed tellers, especially Gamble Rogers, revive wonderful talent that might otherwise be forgotten. Festivals love sidekick Maynard Moose. Orginal, traditional, historical, personal, comic- regardless of genre, Willy fits any playbill. Willyclafin.com