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people enjoying an acting workshop


Photo credit: cotton bros studio

Hone your skills or learn something new!

We offer workshops in acting, directing, improv and other stagecraft throughout the year.
Note: If registering through PayPal isn't your thing, you can always pay at the first class. However, you do need to contact us to sign up in advance, so we can manage the numbers. Thanks!

Advanced Improv Scrimmage
coached by Maurissa Afanador & Chopsy Gutt

January 22 through February 26, 2024
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm


Offers a chance to meet and play with other intermediate and advanced level improvisers in the Santa Cruz area. Content may include scene study, classic games, exercises from the great books of improvisation, and experiments with old and new long forms. Each two-hour session will have an improvisational quality to it -- we may build on the previous week, we may change the exercises up based on an in-the-moment inspiration.


Price is $108 for all 6 sessions, or $25 for drop in. 

Sign up here to be put on the calendar invite.

Coaches will be in touch about payment options. 


"Maurissa is an amazing teacher.
She made it a very safe environment for us to fail and learn."

"Her passion for improv was immediately and consistently contagious."

Maurissa Afanador is the owner and lead improv instructor for Greater Than The Sum, a vendor-provider of theater arts classes for The Arts at Google. She is a 30-year improv veteran who has performed on multiple house teams in Chicago and Los Angeles.

headshot of Maurissa Afanador

Chopsy Gutt was an artistic director and member of Um Gee Um, the longest performing improv troupe in Santa Cruz, which received a Gail Rich award.

She was also a member of Sappho's Lappho's, and recently performed Improvised Shakespeare online with Impro Theater’s Advanced Shakespeare ensemble out of LA and at the BATS theater in San Francisco. 


The Voice of Your Life: Wellness, Ease, Strength, and Integrity
with Joanna Cazden

Mondays, June 3, 10, 17 & Tuesday, June 25, 2024
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm


Renew your expressive voice through solo and group exercises, health tips, and explorations of your vocal biography. Through these four evening sessions you’ll expand your repertoire of warmups and understand why they work; rediscover the fundamentals of technique and vocal wellness; and appreciate your personal voice as a multi-dimensional channel for art and life.


Sign up link coming soon...

For more information, visit:


"Warm, funny, engaging, and passionate… Joanna can take highly technical information and make it accessible to any vocal artist."

—Mary Ellen Wessels, music educator

"Joanna has a unique ability to marry the clinical and spiritual aspects of voice. I recommend her for voice/body exploration, education, and healing."

—Andrea Odinov Fuller, Lee Strasberg Institute

Joanna Cazden, MFA, MS-CCC, is a voice specialist who has taught at CalArts, American Academy
of Dramatic Art, several CSU campuses, and teacher-training programs across the US and UK.


 She is certified in Fitzmaurice Voicework and Performing Arts Medicine; and has trained with Catherine Fitzmaurice, Fran Bennett, Paul Blake, and the RSC’s Robert Lloyd. From 2001-2020, she was senior voice therapist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Voice Clinic, Los Angeles, treating injured actors and singers. Her book “Everyday Voice Care: The Lifestyle Guide” (Hal Leonard) is in wide use in arts conservatories; other publication topics include the vocal risks faced by actors in videogames and the neuroscience of vocal emotion. Also a singer-songwriter with six solo albums to her credit, Joanna is known for voice work that is holistic, practical,  cross-disciplinary, and well-informed. She has resided in Santa Cruz since 2022 and has offered workshops for the Santa Cruz Jazz Society and several choral groups. 

Bill Peters is a professor emeritus at San Francisco State University where he taught playwriting, acting, directing and Shakespeare performance for many years.

bill peters_edited.jpg

​His directing credits include projects at the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Denver Center, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Jewel Theater in Santa Cruz, and the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. He has directed many times for Actors' Theatre's 8 Tens @ 8 Festival.

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