Action Theater meets Contact Improvisation

Wednesday June 12: 10am-12:30pm

As part of the first PDX CI +/- Festival (Contact Improvisation), Mary & Nathaniel will be teaching an intro to Action Theater that includes explorations with Contact Improvisation. We’ll explore physical, vocal, and verbal expression, tuning in to sensation and our inherent connection with imagination in order to create improvisations that are alive with the truth and oddities of existence. We are currently exploring the cross sections between these two favorite practices and are excited to share what we are discovering.

Cost for the class is sliding scale $30-$15, and is also included in the full festival pass. Details here

PCC Community Education 8 Week Class

Thursdays Oct 3rd thru Nov 21: 6pm-8:20pm

This Fall we’ll be teaching an Action Theater class through the PCC Community Ed department! And we’ll be doing something we’ve wanted to do for a while: follow the progression of Ruth Zaporah’s book! For those of you who don’t know, Ruth is our teacher and the creator of Action Theater. We’ll work our way through the first 8 weeks of it and of course riff in our own ways too.  All levels welcome! Keep your eyes peeled for the fall registration for PCC Community Ed on the SE campus. The class capacity is 18.

Fall 2024 Community Ed schedule will be available Monday, July 29, 2024

Level 2 Half Day Intensive – Focus on Frames

Sunday May 19th 2024 9:30am-1:30pm

In 2024, Portland Action Theater will offer a variety of 4-hour intensive workshops one Sunday a month that explore improvisation topics in more depth.


The frame is one of our foundational building blocks in Action Theater – a constellation of constantly reorganizing elements of form, where mood is boss. In this class, we will explore different aspects of using frames in our improvisation practice:

  • developing and deepening them while staying true to their boundaries 
  • exploring how different types of frames can respond to one another 
  • practicing remembering and bringing back frames in longer improvisations 
  • reframing the known to reveal the unknown

If we’re feeling skillful and adventurous, we may even venture into the land of transforming frames…


Cost for this 4-hour class is $94 due at first class. To hold your spot, please pay in advance a non-refundable deposit of $25. Payment plans available – please inquire.



2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings 6:30-9:30pm – class & jam

This is a playfulness-forward opportunity for all of the young at heart to discover what comes into being when vocal and verbal channels of expression are available alongside movement and contact. In other words, we’re playing with the territory where Action Theater and Contact Improvisation meet! This is designed more for people who have some experience with Contact Improvisation as we will not be teaching principles of CI. That said, beginners are welcome to come and explore and there is no requirement to do contact. You can lean more towards the AT side of improvisation or more towards CI. Totally up to you. We recommend that if you want more guidance on CI you check out other venues for beginner classes.

Our agreements for this space:

  • To respect peoples boundaries, verbal and non-verbal
  • This is a non-sexual space
  • To take care of yourself
  • You can say no or end a dance at any time, for any or no reason
Here’s how we’ll break down the time:
6:15 Doors open, feel free to warm up and stretch
6:30-7:45pm Class: Action Theater exercises & games (connecting movement, vocalizing, and words)
7:45-9:30pm Open contact improv/Action Theater jam inviting movement, vocalizing, and words

$25 for class & jam, $15 for only class or only jam

Upcoming Happensdance dates:

  • June 25
  • July 9, 23
  • August 13, 27
  • September 10, 24


All classes are located at The North Coast Seed Building:

2127 N. Albina Ave, #211 (2nd floor), Portland OR 97227