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Stagebridge

Stagebridge Records

1979-2017
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1024
Depiction of Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)
Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)

A theater company of older adults based in Oakland, Calif., Stagebridge is recognized as a pioneer in the field of creative aging. Founded by Stuart Kandell in 1978, the organization sponsors workshops, performances, and other opportunities for lifelong learning that provide a creative means to transform the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts. Organized “for and of” older adults, Stagebridge is testimony to the ways in which elders enrich our culture and communities.

The Stagebridge collection contains scrapbooks, photograph albums, news clippings, and some scripts beginning in the earliest years of the organization. Digital materials in the collection are even richer, ranging from videos of performances to promotional materials and organizational records.

Background on Stagebridge

Stagebridge, founded in 1978, describes its mission as to enrich and transform the lives of older adults and their surrounding communities through the performing arts. The company attempts to remove social stigma associated with aging and disprove the idea that seniors cannot contribute to society by demonstrating through theater how older citizens can improve our culture. Never Too Late, Stagebridge’s longest running show, is one way they accomplish their goal, as the play breaks down stereotypes about what it means to be old and showcases older actors, singers, and dancers in funny but wise skits and songs.

Stuart Kandell was a young theater teacher who worked at a senior center through the East Bay Center of Performing Arts before he founded and began directing the “College Avenue Players” at the College Avenue Adult Activity Center in Oakland, Calif. What began as a drama class of five women in their 70s soon became an up-and-coming theater company which by 1985 had twenty core members between the ages of 50 and 85. Playwright Linda Spector was hired in 1980 (and named Co-Director in 1981) to write original plays for the Players that featured positive roles for older actors and addressed themes including media stereotypes of older people, the problems of crime and the elderly, and work and identity. In 1989, the company changed its name to Stagebridge, to more accurately reflect their mission of bridging the generations, and moved to the First Congregational Church in downtown Oakland, which Stagebridge still calls home.

An innovator in the field of creative aging, Kandell received his doctorate in Intergenerational Studies from the Union Institute in 1996. Though he stepped down from Stagebridge in 2013, Kandell continues the work he began so many years ago, traveling around the world speaking, training artists, and helping governments and organizations develop creative aging programs. As for the organization Kandell established, Stagebridge has been honored as the winner of the 2013 MetLife Foundation Creative Aging Award and the 2009 American Society on Aging MetLife MindAlert Award. Stagebridge’s work has also been featured on ABC‐TV, CNN, and National Public Radio, in publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Modern Maturity, Oakland Magazine, and Storytelling Magazine, and at national and regional conferences.

Now known as the nation’s oldest senior theater company, Stagebridge is regarded as a leader in the field of healthy aging. The company currently offers programs that span from storytelling visits to classrooms through the Storybridge Speaking and Listening Program, to the Performing Arts Institute (PAI) which offers training and classes in acting, storytelling, musical theater, and improv.

Contents of Collection

The Stagebridge records contain materials that follow the company since its founding to just before its 40th anniversary, including VHS tapes and CDs of plays and events, files associated with certain plays, scrapbooks, news clippings, posters, magazine articles, event programs, marketing materials, and newsletters.

Collection inventory

Aging conferences in California
1980-1998
Box 1: 1
Articles: general
1979
Box 1: 2
Articles: general
1980
Box 1: 3
Articles: general
1980
Box 1: 4
Articles: general
1981
Box 1: 5
Articles: general
1983
Box 1: 6
Articles: general
1983
Box 1: 7
Articles: general
1985-1992
Box 1: 8
Articles: general
1993-1999
Box 1: 9
Articles: general
2000-2004
Box 1: 10
Articles: general
2007-2008
Box 1: 11
Articles: general
2010-2016
Box 1: 12
Article: “Battling old-age stereotypes” (San Francisco Chronicle)
1983
map case
Articles: storytelling
1996-2007
Box 1: 13
Articles: Stuart Kandell
1978, 1981
Box 1: 14
Articles: Stuart Kandell
1983
Box 1: 15
Articles: Stuart Kandell
1996-2006
Box 1: 16
Class registration form
2011
Box 1: 17
Correspondence from students and teachers
undated, 1982-1983
Box 1: 18
Event programs
1997-2001
Box 1: 19
Event programs
2003-2014
Box 1: 20
Field study: “Participation motives of the storytellers of Stagebridge, a senior theatre group”
2002
Box 1: 21
Grandparent tales: contest articles
1996-2005
Box 1: 22
Grandparent tales: teacher guides
undated, 2004
Box 1: 23
Grandparent tales: teacher guide
undated
Box 1: 24
Informational packet
ca.2002
Box 1: 25
Marketing materials: brochures and postcards
ca.1980, 2003-2010
Box 1: 26
Marketing materials: flyers
1983, 2008-2011
Box 1: 27
Newsletters
1982-1983, 2004-2006
Box 1: 28
Newsletters
2007-2011
Box 1: 29
Opening speech
1979
Box 1: 30
Play files: “Jack London and friends”
1986-1989
Box 1: 31
Play files: “Sinners and suffragettes”
1988-1989
Box 1: 32
Play files: “Crazy after all these years”
1989
Box 1: 33
Play files: “Social security”
1990
Box 1: 34
Play files: “Women changing”
1990
Box 1: 35
Play files: “Take care”
1993, 1995
Box 1: 36
Play files: “Love, sex, and growing old”
1997
Box 1: 37
Play files: “Women and men”
1999
Box 1: 38
Play files: “The hypochondriac”
2004
Box 1: 39
Play files: “Being something”
2005
Box 1: 40
Play files: “Sylvia’s advice on how to age gracefully on the planet denial”
2010
Box 1: 41
Play files: grandparent tales- “Chicken Sunday”
1993, 1998, 2005
Box 1: 42
Play files: grandparent tales- “Strega Nona”
1994-1996
Box 1: 43
Play files: grandparent tales- other grandparent tales
1995-2000
Box 1: 44
Posters
1987-1999
map case
Posters
2002-2004
map case
Posters
2005-2010
map case
Programming: elder abuse
1995-1997
Box 1: 45
Scrapbook: “‘Boarding house’ and San Diego Ca. American art convention, special awards and notes”
1979-1983
Box 1: 46
Scrapbook: “Plays, ‘Friends and lovers,’ ‘Images, ages, changes'”
1979-1980, 1994
Box 1: 47
Scrapbook: “Was there life before TV?” play files, finances, traveling files, correspondence, and articles
1979-1981
Box 1: 48
Storytelling booklet: “The old lady in a shoe” (Chabot School P.M. Kindergarten)
1987-1999
map case
Video: “3 short videos about Stagebridge” (CD)
undated
Box 1: 49
Video: “The danger project” – Stagebridge; “Hendrika” – Early Wise Company (VHS tape)
undated
Box 1: 50
Video: “Stagebridge sampler” (TV features) (CD)
undated
Box 1: 51
Video: “Storytelling sampler” (CD)
undated
Box 1: 52
Video: “Take care” (VHS tape)
undated
Box 1: 53
Video: “Time slips” (program for dementia) (CD)
undated
Box 1: 54
Video: “USS Hornet Spanish TV” (VHS tape)
undated
Box 1: 55
Video: “The war at home” (storytelling program) (CD)
undated
Box 1: 56
Video: “News programs” (CD)
ca.1980-1999
Box 1: 57
Video: “Social security” (VHS tape)
1990 March 31
Box 1: 58
Video: “Women and men” (VHS tape)
1999
Box 1: 59
Video: “The Center for Creative Aging West presents the Art of Aging Festival” (CD)
2005
Box 1: 60
Video: “Being something” (CD)
2005 April
Box 1: 61
Video: “Being something” (KPFA interview) (CD)
2005 April 15
Box 1: 62
Video: “Never too late” (CD)
2005 August 18
Box 1: 63
Video: “Senior-student storytelling swap” (CD)
2006 April 7
Box 1: 64
Video: “Journeys” (CD)
2006 October 1
Box 1: 65
Video: “Storycorps griot” (CD)
2007 July/August
Box 1: 66
Video: “Tellabration!” (CD)
2007
Box 1: 67
Video: “Friends and lovers” (rehearsal) (CD)
2007 May 30
Box 1: 68
Video: “Circles of understanding” (CD)
2008
Box 1: 69
Video: “Chicken Sunday” (CD)
March 2008
Box 1: 70
Video: “Stagebridge seniors aired Sunday 30 March 2008 on KPFA 94.1 Fm 6:30p-7:30p” (CD)
2008 March 30
Box 1: 71
Video: “Flor y canto” (CD)
2008 June 2
Box 1: 72
Video: “Tell it on Tuesday” (storytelling performance) (CD)
2008 October 21
Box 1: 73
Video: “Civil rights tales” (CD)
2009 February 27
Box 1: 74
Video: “Grandpa’s teeth” (CD)
2009 March 15
Box 1: 75
Video: “Sylvia’s advice on how to age gracefully on the planet denial” performed at The Ashby Stage (CD)
2010 February
Box 1: 76
Video: “City green: the musical” (CD)
2010 May
Box 1: 77
Video: “Playwriting showcase” (CD)
2011 June
Box 1: 78
Video: “Wee Poets” (storytelling children and grandparents) (CD)
2011 July 8
Box 1: 79

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Gift of Stuart Kandell, May 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth Huang, 2018.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Stagebridge Records (MS 1024). Special
Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Libraries.

Gift of Stuart Kandell, May 2018
Subjects
Aging
Creative aging
Older people
Theater--California
Types of material
Photographs
Videotapes

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