NextStage Classes and Workshops



Students take 6 classes taught by three instructor, each presenting a different improvisational experience. Improvisation is known to stimulate the nimbleness of thought and free the player from fears and self-doubts through a sense of play.

At the end of the second day, students will use the learned skills and share their joy in an “off the cuff” Comedy Club style performance open to friends, family and general folk ready to laugh. 

April  21 2-5:00pm
April 22 2-5:00 and performance 6:00-7:00pm

SCO Market St. Santa Cruz, CA.

Cost: $90.00 (Early Bird $80.00 if registered by March 19)

Marc Weiss, instructor
Stan Grindstaff, instructor
Robin Aronson, instructor

Playback Theatre- Recreate

In Playback Theatre someone tells a story from their life, while the instructor facilitates the telling and casting of the story into others who take in the story.  Then the teller watches as the actor team recreates the story using emblems of costume from scarves. In the reenactment, the focus is to find the deeper story, not merely to repeat what the teller said, but to find perhaps what the teller showed but didn't say (subtext), or perhaps an archetypal level of truth, or perhaps a level of fun or delight.  At the end the actors turn back to the teller who can validate to what extent the story was real for them, or moving.  The process creates a shared sense of community as actors offer back each others life events with generosity and delight.

Bio: Marc Weiss brings 33 years of experience leading the Boulder Playback Theatre company in Boulder, Colorado, before recently moving to Aptos.  Marc will introduce you to some of the Playback forms.  We'll experiment with the delight of re-enacting others' stories on the spot!  Expect playfulness, generosity, and deep connection.  See more about Boulder Playback Theatre at or on Facebook

Story Sizzle—Celebrate Yourself

The Story Sizzle system of improvisation takes life experience and turns it into a solo first-person storytelling as if it is happening NOW, prepared without traditional script, memorization or rehearsal. Instead, the script is replaced with visual and emotional recall. Memory is replaced with reliving the scene; rehearsal is replaced by responding honestly to the relived episode. 

Bio: Stan Grindstaff returns with his magical approach to personal story. An international speaker trainer, Stan co-founded Lucid Storytelling, was a featured teller in The Santa Cruz Storytelling Festivals, and now brings story-based magic to youth in his Mr G’s Magic Academy—he appeared on the national hit NBC reality show 1stLOOK! Resident performance coach for The 418 Project, he also serves as board president.

The Journey Continues Personal Theatre

Tell it like it is for you in this fun and interactive theatrical exploration of life’s thoughts, feelings, issues and concerns.  Through theatre games and exercises that promote self-expression, sharing and empathy, we’ll make spontaneous theatre about the things we care about in life.  We’ll talk, relate, move and create lively and meaningful moments of personal and group performance about topics like family, friends, the path forward, and being alive.  In the process, players will cultivate performance skills and stage presence in a supportive setting.

Bio: Robin Aronson, Ph.D., teaches theatre and acting at Cabrillo College, and is a theatre director and actor. In Eugene, OR. Robin was Artistic Director of The Young Women's Theatre Collective and The YWTC w/ Guys, an award winning teen troupe that created and performed original theatre about life. She also co-taught personal story theatre classes for women, “Get Down With Your Sweet Self”, and co-created Love on the Loose, a show about relationships.  Robin was a member of Eugene Playback Theatre, and has taught Playback workshops in Santa Cruz


Delight in the sound of your voice as it learns to connect to impulse and resonates freely through your whole self. Feel your vocal power that comes with efficient breathing and grounded skeletal support. Learn a system of voice awareness employing Feldenkrais, Linklater and work that will help free your sound from the constraints developed from years of use and abuse. (Bring a yoga mat.)

Wednesday April 18-May 23


SCO Market St. Santa Cruz, CA

Instructor: Song Nelson CFT, MFA

Cost: $108.00 (Early Bird $98.00 if registered by April 6)


Bio: Song is a dancer, choreographer, performing artist and teacher. She has taught in universities, colleges, elementary schools and to individuals with and without physical challenges. Specializing in voice and movement education in the performing arts, Song’s unique teaching cultivates presence, spontaneity and embodied creative process.


Put the “show” in your choir with great choral sound, “choral-ography” and FUN! Recreate the moves and sounds of the groups like the Temptations, the Supremes and the Marvelettes. All levels and abilities are welcome in this class. 

Thursdays April 19-May 24


Soquel Congregational Church West Building

Instructor: Suzanne Duval

Cost: $108.00 (Early Bird $98.00 if registered by April 6)


Bio: Suzanne Duval, MFA, has over 20 years experience teaching voice in Santa Cruz. She has performed with Santa Cruz and Bay Area choirs, with Cabrillo Stage, Opera San Jose, and many other diverse musical ensembles. Her passion is using movement, imagery, and full body engagement to enhance healthy singing technique.