Our Mission

To Engage, Educate, and Enrich the lives of active adults 50+ and their communities through Creative and Expressive Arts.


For years Santa Cruz resident Lynn Knudsen has advocated for more opportunities for mature adults to participate in the performing arts. Herself, a retired Broadway actress and hoofer during the 1960’s, Lynn has devoted most of her life to the arts. In 2012 Knudsen was awarded a Professional Development Grant from the Arts Council of Santa Cruz to develop opportunities for directing and producing theatre for seniors. She and two other performers from the Santa Cruz Follies drove to Oakland in July 2012 seeking performing arts training from the nationally acclaimed theatre of seniors, Stagebridge. They attended the Stagebridge Senior Performing Arts Camp for adults 50+, where they were motivated by what they learned and excited with the professionalism and expert teaching, and decided to bring this organizational model to Santa Cruz. At the same time, Stagebridge was interested in replicating its award winning work in other communities, so in August 2012 Stagebridge Founder and Director of Replication, Dr. Stuart Kandell, agreed to replicate Stagebridge in the community of Santa Cruz.

Stagebridge, founded in 1978 by Dr. Kandell and based in Oakland, is America’s oldest and most acclaimed and innovative senior theatre company. The company is nationally known as the foremost theatre of, for, and by older adults. Stagebridge has an extensive training program for older adults, award winning outreach programs for the community, and creates original plays for public audiences. The company is the winner of the Metlife Creative Aging Award and the Metlife Mind Alert Award, among others. With the Stagebridge Experience indoctrination for the last two years, Stagebridge Santa Cruz has stepped up and out from the mother lode to become NextStage Productions to continue the life changing programs of Stagebridge with the addition of a vibrant program on its own, under the sponsorship of the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County.