Stay tuned for new classes!


Previous Classes

Want us to bring back a class? Let us know at

November  7, 2021
11:00 – 12:30pm PT

Beat the stress and find the funny – it’s all around you! Please join us for an anxiety-reducing, laughter-filled 90 minute workshop event with Emmy Award-winning comedy writer, comedian, and motivation speaker Monica Piper.

February 4, 2021
6:00 – 8:00pm PST
Free on Zoom

Are you Persian/Iranian? If so, The Braid invites you to bring your stories to life through this unique writing workshop for Iranians in partnership with NuRoots and The Nazarian Initiative.

Iranians are one of the most successful immigrant communities in America, holding a beautiful rich culture and heritage, but their stories often go untold. Yet, storytelling is a deep tradition within Iranian culture and through this opportunity you can help keep these stories alive, in America and beyond.

Whether you realize it or not, you have a story to tell and in this workshop you will discover your stories and learn how to share them in a compelling way. Through this hands on experience, not only will you craft an engaging story but you’ll have the opportunity to submit your finished piece for The Braid’s upcoming Salon show Persian Sunrise, American Sunset featuring stories from the Persian community.

We look forward to coming together and exploring the stories that make you who you are!

Taught by Leslie Schwartz
8 Sessions: March 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1

Remember the person who changed your life? The first time someone broke your heart? Or the experience that offered you life-changing wisdom? This memoir class is designed to help you structure, write, and revise the story you’ve been wanting to tell. Classes will focus on building a structure, creating the opening “hook,” developing your voice, writing scenes (show, don’t tell) and crafting endings for your memoir or personal essay. Also: short readings of essays by masters like Cynthia Ozick, Nora Ephron and Michael Chabon.

Leslie Schwartz is the award-winning author, most recently, of the memoir The Lost Chapters: Finding Recovery & Renewal One Book at a Time. Her novels Jumping the Green and Angel’s Crest (now a feature film), have been translated into 13 languages. She’s written for numerous major publications and her short stories and essays have been published in dozens of literary magazines. Leslie is a past president of PEN USA and the recipient of numerous awards, grants and fellowships. She has been teaching writing for over twenty years.

Fee: $395 

7 Mondays, Sept. 17 – Oct. 29, 7-10pm

Joshua Townshend-Zellner creates a safe space where a small group will explore physical movement, writing prompts, improv and project development so that the most meaningful and compelling scenes and stories authentically emerge.  The 7 week workshop culminates in an evening of sharing where students will present to an audience the work they’ve developed in class.

Joshua Townshend-Zellner has been involved in the theatre, film and the entertainment industry for over 25 years as a writer, actor, producer and director.  He has trained with many luminaries of the international theatre scene including; Ron Sossi, Yoshi Oida, George Shandoff, Osentinsky, and Ryszard Cieslak.   Joshua has blended his worlds of theatre and improvisation training along with his studies in the yogic and shamanic traditions to create experience based techniques and skills that will take you on a deep dive into the creative process.  His background as a cultural creative, director, acting coach and phenomenologist will support your process as you are  guided through the labyrinth of writing and performing your creative art.

Fee: $375 


$75   Sunday   9am-Noon

Does Social Media overwhelm you?  This 3-hour class will teach you how to write a media release and acquire traditional and basic social media knowledge to spread the word about your current project and events.

Taught by:
Maureen Rubin – Emeritus Professor of Journalism, CSUN
Andrew Fromer – Digital Marketing Consultant

Light refreshments will be served.


$20   Sunday   1-3pm

Join us for a stimulating and empathic group experience that deeply connects us to ourselves and each other.  Through stories, creative exercises and conversations about big ideas, we will light the candles to illuminate new perspectives.  Put a pin in your stress and reimagine yourself.

Facilitated by Shari Foos, Marriage and Family Therapist, education, activist improviser and founder of The Narrative Salon.

FROM STORY TO STAGE  with JWT Artistic Director Ronda Spinak

$550   8 Sessions   Wednesday Evenings 7:00-9:15pm

JWT’s Artistic Director Ronda Spinak will lead you to the dramatic heart of the story you want to tell. You will write that story, adapt it to the stage, work with a dramaturge and a professional director. At the final workshop session, your story will be performed by professional actors before your family and friends.

THE ART OF MEMOIR – HOW TO TELL YOUR PERSONAL STORY with Award-Winning, Best-Selling author Leslie Schwartz

$400   8 Sessions   Tuesday evenings   6:30-9:30pm

As memoirists and personal essayists, writers must present a story that has significance beyond itself. It is your job as the author to convey that significance to others. But how? This spirited and engaging class will answer that question, and many others, with craft lectures, writing prompts, class critiques and open discussions in a safe, supportive environment. Discover the mystery and beauty of creative nonfiction, while you find your true voice and hone your craft.

IMPROVISATION WORKSHOPS with writer and television and stage actor Melanie Chartoff  (Seinfeld, Fridays, Rugrats, Newhart…. and JWT!)

$55   Introductory session Saturday, 1:00-400pm;   $400   10-week Course Tuesdays 6:30-9:30pm

Melanie Chartoff’s improvisational exercises empower both non performers and seasoned writers to increase the flexibility of  their voices, body language and imaginations. Come discover underused aspects of your humanity and humor in play. Learn from a pro in the improv, acting, and writing arts, and laugh madly and often as you increase your confidence in communicating with anyone, anywhere, anytime.


You don’t need a traumatic childhood to write a memoir. You don’t need terrible parents, death or drug addiction to write a compelling story about your life. Authors like Jo Ann Beard (The Boys of My Youth) and Terry Tempest William (Refuge) have written stunning, lyrical stories about their lives without depending on high drama to make it interesting.

This course will teach you how to write compelling narrative nonfiction, which includes memoir, personal essays and other formats of creative nonfiction with or without that traumatic past. By giving you the tools to conceive and write your story, plus the opportunity to workshop your writing in a safe peer environment, this course will bolster your courage and help you write and publish your personal truth. Prepare for fun and challenge as you embark on this inspiring journey and begin work on your personal story.


$20   Sunday   10am-12:30pm

Join us for an innovative bookmaking workshop that integrates art, craft and creative writing.  This project is supported by the WORD Grant, AJU’s Institute for Jewish Creativity.

THEMATIC AUTOBIOGRAPHY WORKSHOP with Dr. Marlene Wagner & Susan Aminoff

Introductory Class   Sunday   10am-12pm

Find new meaning in the story of your life!

Change. We all experience it. But how do you cope with difficult life transitions, with changes in your body and mind, in your friendships and family ties? How does your life experience affect your feelings about our changing world? Through evocative questions like these, Dr. Marlene S. Wagner and Dr. Susan Aminoff’s thematic autobiography workshop leads students through a process of writing their stories about change, and sharing them in small groups. Its purpose is not only to ask who we are and who we aspire to be, but also how our stories are part of the larger social picture.

Dr. Marlene Wagner taught autobiography workshops at USC and Vermont College.  She earned her Master’s and Ph.D degrees from USC as well as a Certificate in Gerontology.  Dr. Wagner had an administrative career of more than three decades at USC, where she began an encore career as a facilitator of thematic autobiography workshops.

Dr. Susan Aminoff was professor of sociology in the LA Community College District.  She has been a member of the Board of Trustees at  Santa Monica College and Broad Stage Board of Santa Monica College and the Performing Arts Center.  She received her Master’s in Gerontology and Ph.D in the sociology of education from USC.

ART OF THE HAGADDAH with Jim Ruxin   

$25   Sunday   2-4pm

Documentary and Presentation of the Szyk Haggadah

Join us for an afternoon of exploring the Szyk Haggadah with local filmmaker Jim Ruxin. You will take a journey through the visual history of the diaspora as seen through 500 years of Haggadot from around the globe.

The afternoon will feature the film “Every Generation: Understanding The Szyk Haggadah.”  At the conclusion, suggestions will be offered to pull together your family haggadah using your own family story,

WRITING THE MEMOIR with Amy Friedman
$375   5 Sessions   Monday evenings   6:30 – 9:30pm
Everyone has moments of divine inspiration, everyone’s work deserves and requires respect and attention, and much sweat is required of the artist. In the classroom, Amy thinks of herself as part physical and mental trainer, part colleague, part master and, always, part learner.
This class is designed for masters and newcomers alike, providing techniques and tips for transforming life experience into art. The course includes lecture, recommended readings, and writing assignments. Students will learn techniques for focusing, crafting and structuring their stories.
Amy Friedman is an essayist and author of the memoir, “Desperado’s Wife”.
$165   Sunday mornings   10am – 12:45pm
Are you ready to tell your story but feel unsure how to perform it? A strong story needs a strong storyteller, and writing a story and telling it to an audience are very different skills. In this workshop, participants will explore how to captivate their audiences through movement, gesture, facial expression, pacing, emphasis, vocal projection, emotion and characterization.
Workshop members will bring their own material for coaching, feedback and will participate in exercises to develop their storytelling technique.
$40   Saturday   1:30 – 4pm
Cuff your wrist in style!  Join designer Susan Ryza for a fun afternoon of jewelry making.
$45   Sunday
Judy Zeidler, kosher culinary legend, will be speaking about her new book, “Italy Cooks.”  She will share her experiences with Jewish and international cuisine and do a cooking demonstration.  Cost $45  includes light brunch, copy of her book, parking and all-day admission to The Skirball.
“You’re certainly not safe any time you come out and tell a story. You’re naked. Especially in theater. But it [the class] was the first time I felt safe.”
– Shawn, writer