Acting & Theater for Teens & Adults

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Questions & Advice

Drama Opportunities for 15 year old, not musical theater?

Jan 2009

My 15 year old daughter really enjoys acting but isn't really into musical theater. There seem to be plenty of musical theater companies for young people, but I'm having trouble finding a youth drama company or other organization where she could act in a regular theater production. Is anyone aware of a place where someone who loves acting but not singing can perform? Prefer the Oakland/Berkeley area, but SF is OK too. Thanks! Ready to Act

Our daughter had a good experience, from 6th grade to 11th grade, a few years ago, attending after-school acting classes at ACT in San Francisco. Their classes meet in an ACT building less than 2 blocks from the Powell St. BART station. Marty

Cal Shakes has a great year round program and summer classes for youth. My nine year old daughter has taken several classes and this summer she keeps reminding me that she wants to do the five week course. They have great teachers and the kids love it. Stage mom

Both my children (now aged 12 and 17) have had great experiences participating in Young Actors Workshop . It is run by a wonderful drama teacher, Sooz Worthing. It is open to kids in grades 6 through 12. During the school year there are Fall and Spring sessions that meet Monday and Wednesday from 4-7pm and some Saturdays, as well as a 5 week summer session. It's also a warm and supportive social environment. It is located at the Park Day School Community Campus, on Ridgeway near Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. Drama Mama

My name is Jack Baur and I am a new Teen Librarian with the Berkeley Public Library. In about 2 weeks I am going to be starting a Teen PlayReaders program at the library, Tuesday afternoons from 4:00-5:30. The idea behind PlayReaders is to explore theater through - you guessed it! - reading plays, switching off parts frequently and keeping things fast and fun. It should be a great opportunity for your daughter to try out a bunch of different roles and meet local kids who are in the local theater scene and who might know more about what's going on.

PlayReaders will also hopefully perform annual or biannual scene showcases so that teens can show off their acting chops to the broader community. This is more of a long-term goal; I have to get the group running first, but if there is interest from them it's a direction that I would like to head.

The first meeting of PlayReaders *hopefully* will be in the Community Room on the third floor of the Central Library at Shattuck and Kitteridge on February 2nd. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. My e-mail address is jbaur [at], and my office phone number is 510-981-6287.

Jack Baur Teen Services Librarian - South and Claremont Branches Berkeley Public Library

Drama Classes for 13 year old

Jan 2009

My 13 year old daughter has minimal drama experience but is now interested in exploring that venue. My concern is that most drama classes and camps will primarily focus on the ''stars'', and that I'll be paying the same money but my daughter will be relagated to the backround roles with less attention to her development. Does anyone have any ideas for where my daughter might best expand her drama interest? I am willing to travel anywhere in the east bay, but we live in Lamorinda. Thanks!!

It's true that for most programs, a kid often has to start with supporting roles at first, however my son has been doing drama camps and programs during summers and schoolyear for the last 5 years - he's 14 now, and has always had a total blast and learned a lot, sometimes in the chorus or in small roles, sometimes getting bigger ones. And even those in the chorus are usually on stage quite a lot. I HIGHLY recommend both the programs he's been involved in (both in Berkeley: Stage Door - no audition necessary ( and YMTC - by audition ( laurie

Take a look at the Contra Costa Civic Theater (CCCT). It's got a great summer program where the kids do scenes, skits and theater games so there really aren't any so- called ''stars.'' All different levels of talent... it is very well run and my 13 year old daughter loves it. You are probably looking at ''A'' camp because of her age. Anon

Afterschool theater programs for 13-year-old?

September 2006

I'm looking for an afterschool theater program for a 13 year old girl. She had been in ''Kids take the Stage'' in Alameda but it has canceled its fall program. Any other ideas for musical theater opportunities for a 13 year old? Thanks Mary

I just enrolled my son in Lafayette's Town Hall Theatre Encore program, which is for kids 11 to 14 years old. They are doing the Music Man this session. Classes start this week (Sept. 14), so I don't know if you'll get this information in time to sign up. I spoke with people active in drama in the lamorinda/walnut creek area and they spoke highly of the director for this session, Joel Roster. They will probably have a spring program if you can't getin for this session. Here is a link to the theater's education programs: I can't personally recommend this program yet, as my son hasn't started rehearsals. It should be worth checking out, though. I like the idea that it is just for middle- school and freshman kids. anon

My daughter took a Stanislavsky Method Acting class at On Camera Acting. They are great with kids and she couldn't stop talking about how much fun she had. The website is Sarah

I don't know of any regular after-school programs, except through AEF (Alameda Education Foundation). To try out for a show, check out Alameda Children's Musical Theater. My daughter did their summer camp and has been singing and dancing non-stop since then. During the year they have shows in the Fall (currently ''The Truth About Cinderella''), Winter (around January/Feb, I think) and Spring (March-April). In the summer they have a variety of camps. Their website is a little out of date, but you can find their contact info: --another mom of performer

Berkeley Rep. and California Shakespeare Theater both offer after-school youth classes R.K.

Berkeley Rep School of Theatre offers classes for youth, teens, families, and adults! Classes for teens include an Audition Lab, Hip Hop Theatre, Stage Combat: Rapier & Dagger, a Teen Performance Lab of Macbeth, and a Master Acting Intensive specifically for teens.

Kids 'N Dance 'N Theater Arts has musical theater. They have 2 age groups 6-10 and 9-14. They have 3 locations: 3841 Macarthur Blvd. in Oakland 531-4400, 3369 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette 925-284-7388, and 24 Orinda Way in Orinda at the Rec Center. They do full performances on stage and provide all of the costumes, props and scenery. They are doing Oklahoma and Beauty and the Beast right now and will start a new session in January. They also offer a Kids on Camera class at the Orinda Rec. Center. Their website is anon

Movie roles for 13-year-old?

Aug 2006

My daughter loves to act and would really like to get any kind of part in a film. I'm willing to support her efforts to find something in the Bay Area, but I really have no idea how to proceed and avoid scams. She found a website called, which lists roles--does anyone know anything about it, or have other tips for my aspiring actress? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Not a stage mom

I know a lot about this as I am a member of SAG. Go to and join. There is a subscription fee but it's worth it. Indie film directors list their casting notices there. The films range from student films to professional productions. The student films are great experience and will help your daughter to build her resume. Your daughter should do well since teens are in high demand! She can also get a talent agent who will send her out for commercial auditions. The casting connection website has info on getting an agent. katherine

To the teen looking for movie roles First thing you you should do is get a work permit from the Deapartment of Labor (DLSE) in Oakland or SF. That way you will be legal to work. You need to get an application and have it signed by the principal of your school. Then you take that down to the labor office, and they will issue a permit. It takes them a few weeks to get it to you. Good luck, jamie

Hi, My daughter is a student of Tami Erin of the On Camera Acting Film & TV Academy. Tami introduced her to the casting director of a film called ''Ed Meets His Maker'' that shot in the Santa Rosa area last April. She landed a small role as did other young actors Ms. Erin coaches. I recommend getting in touch with her organization and they can guide you from there. I know on her website it says she's been a guest expert on KRON 4 and I think Radio Disney about ''acting in films and TV for kkds''. The phone is (800) 496-0125 and web Sarah

May 2006

Beginning acting class for shy 16-year-old

My daughter is looking for a class that will help her to come out of her shell. It could be in the form of acting or poetry (possibly Slam Poetry). Though she is new at this and doesn't want to be the only one who is extremely nervous putting herself out there. anon

My daughter is very shy, but opened up when she started taking part in Kids Take The Stage performances. This summer they are doing an intensive workshop for one month followed by a performance. It's a bit pricey but all the parents who's kids have taken part in previous performances give rave reviews of the teaching. Go to their website for more info.
not a stage mom

Acting class for adults

July 2001

After giving birth to my second daughter, I am ready to take some time for myself and find an acting course somewhere near Berkeley. Is there a good theater or workshop around here that offers acting classes to adults? Thanks for your help. Rebecca

You can find adult acting classes through Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, the soon-to-open Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Education Center, and the UC Berkeley Extension. In addition (and probably cheaper), there are acting classes offered through many local adult schools (I know Piedmont Adult School usually has an offering and I imagine Berkeley does also). You might also get a copy of Callboard, the monthly publication of Theatre Bay Area, to find other offerings that fit the bill both financially and geographically (it has both display ads for classes and a section of class listings at the back. You can find it at many local bookstores. TBA might also have info on their website but I don't know that for sure.) Finally, I teach a terrific acting class (if I do say so myself!) called Peak Performance: Theater Techniques You Can Use at Work. It is designed specifically for working professionals who want communicate more effectively, think more creatively and spontaeously, and work better in teams. It'll be offered again by UCBX in Spring 2002 at their SF campus. Good luck (or should I say, Break a leg). Janet Keller callbackcom at earthlink dot net

I second the recommendation on the parents website to check out Callboard magazine. You can also check out the website of Theatre Bay Area, the service organization for professionally-oriented theatre artists and companies that puts Callboard out: There are classes at UC Extension starting in the fall as well. Please feel free to email me at melhillman at aol dot com as I am the Artistic Director of Berkeley's Impact Theatre, and I'm more than happy to give you some more details about classes that fit your schedule and level of experience. I can also add you to our actors database to which I forward audition notices from theatres all over the Bay Area on a regular basis. Mel

I really enjoyed my acting class with Peter Tripp. His number is (510) 236-7098. When I worked with him, he taught at the Watergate Clipper Club in Emeryville. D. Banks/ R. Porter

Theater groups for adults?

April 2000

Can anyone recommend any local theater groups/acting classes for adults in the area? I've seen recommedations on the website for children but not adults, and I'm interested in getting involved in thater again, now that I have the time... I've also been asked to participate in an indie film production, and I figure that brushing up couldn't hurt. Thanks! Annie

There are many places that offer these classes in the east bay and in SF. You should get a copy of the monthly magazine called Callboard available in many bookstores around here (Moe's, Cody's, etc.). There are classes for adults at ACT, Willows Theatre in Concord, Actor's Ensemble in Berkeley, and many more. I've taught or taken classes in many of these. Amy