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Sheila Goldsmith offers free improv workshop for youths

Sheila Goldsmith of Improv Playworks offers a free introductory workshop for youths Oct. 17 at her new studio on Girard Street.
Sheila Goldsmith of Improv Playworks offers a free introductory workshop for youths Oct. 17 at her new studio on Girard Street. The Bellingham Herald

Sheila Goldsmith let me know that her new studio for her company, Improv Playworks, is now open at 1011 Girard St., at the corner of G Street and one block from Whatcom Middle School.

That’s convenient for her free introductory workshop on improv for youths age 9 through 14 that will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 17.

Goldsmith came to Bellingham in 1968. A graduate of Sehome High School and Western Washington University, she co-founded The Upfront Theatre with Ryan Stiles.

Goldsmith’s background is in psychology, counseling and group facilitation. Through improv, which she says she discovered when she took a class at San Francisco’s Bay Area Theatresports, she watched people transformed from being shy — which she says she is — to being self-confident and poised.

“Improv is a wonderful way to discover the fun and creativity that comes when we embrace the unexpected, trust our own voices, and change our attitudes toward making mistakes,” Goldsmith says. “Students in my classes initially come out of curiosity, and quickly develop into a tight-knit community, having a great time while developing lifelong skills that are necessary for success.”

As a teacher, Goldsmith says she strives to create an atmosphere of trust, respect, safety and play in order to connect her students with their creative possibilities.

“I’m skilled at adapting games and exercises to fit groups of all ages and levels of ability,” she says.

Over the last 15 years, she says, her students have discovered that improv is a life-enriching experience for developing communication, focus, teamwork and creative expression, all in a “laughter-filled group setting.”

Improv Playworks’ new studio will offer before- and after-school programs for youths 9 and older.

The scope of Goldsmith’s work includes teaching daytime and evening classes, both in her studio and throughout the community.

“I facilitate outreach programs for local schools working with middle schools, teens, and at-risk youth, and I also teach adult and senior classes,” she says.

Goldsmith is offering a communication course for business at Bellingham Technical College this fall. She also creates customized workshops for business and nonprofit organizations that want to enhance team-building and communication.

Goldsmith’s older students will perform improvised skits and games at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at Firehouse Performing Arts Center. Tickets for that event are $12 at Brown Paper Tickets.

Details: 360-756-0756,

Get your zombie on for Thrilingham

Be part of Bellingham Halloween tradition! Thrillingham is a community event that uses a zombie dance performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on Halloween night to benefit a local charity, to be determined.

The main event is 8 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Maritime Heritage Park, at Holly Street and Central Avenue. This year, organizers will raffle items donated by local businesses and will collect donations for Lydia Place.

To join the fun, learn the “Thriller” dance routine at weekly rehearsals at Learn to Move Studio Z, 311 E. Holly St. Rehearsal details are on Facebook.

Even if you don’t want to participate in the dance, it’s fun to attend the event and buy raffle tickets.

Volunteers are needed, included an emcee with lights and sound, people to sell raffle tickets and swag, and event photographer and videographer, and people to hang posters around town.


Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or