PSA: Enrollment For First Stage’s Summer Theater Academy Is Open NOW!

and classes start on Monday June 13, 2022!! Details that I received from First Stage follow below:

First Stage Theater Academy, the nation’s leading high-impact theater training program for young people, is offering its Summer Academy programs in-person this summer with classes beginning Monday, June 13, 2022. One of Milwaukee’s longest-running summer theater training programs, First Stage’s Summer Academy will celebrate its 30th year of offering theater classes to Milwaukee area youth. Classes will run June 13 – August 5, 2022 at the newly-renovated Milwaukee Youth Art Center and will follow First Stage’s curriculum in Acting, Musical Theater, Improvisation and more, fostering life skills through stage skills. The classes will be led by First Stage Academy staff as well as by professional theater artists  including Milwaukee dancer and choreographer Christopher Gilbert (Director of Step Kids), actor Brandite Reed (Co-Director of THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM) and Chris Flieller (UW-Oshkosh Theatre Department/former Artistic Director for In Tandem Theatre), among many others.  

Classes are available for students entering grades K4 – 12 this fall. One week or multi-week sessions are available at Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Classes for students entering grades K4 – 5 will also be held at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield July 5 – 15, 2022.   

New this summer, from July 25 – August 5, 2022 classes will be held at UW – Parkside in Kenosha, offering weeklong classes for students entering grades 5 – 12, spending each day rotating through classes in Musical Theater, Acting, Clowning and Shakespeare, building a foundation of theatrical performance skills through a variety of lessons led by theater professionals. 

Summer Academy classes for young people on the autism spectrum – part of First Stage’s Next Steps program – will be held August 8 – 12, 2022 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. 

Locations: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 West Walnut Street, Milwaukee, WI  53212; Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 3270 Mitchell Park Drive, Brookfield, WI  53045 (July 5 – 15, 2022 only) and UW – Parkside, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha, WI 53144 (July 25 – August 5, 2022 only) 

Cost: $150 – $635 depending upon the length of classes. Payment plans are available. Families that enroll in multiple classes for one student or enroll siblings will receive $10 off per class. Financial assistance is also available. Many classes are already full, so advance registration is recommended.  

That gives you the background and some of the details on the program and what to expect and where it will be held. Here is information on enrolling and the course catalog:

Website: To view the list of summer classes and to register, please visit: firststage.org/theater-academy/summer-academy/ 

Course Catalog: To view the full Theater Academy Course Catalog, please visit: firststage.org/theater-academy/register-for-classes/ 

And although many activities are returning to more normal levels of participation, COVID is still something that we all need to be aware of:

COVID Protocols: In accordance with the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center guidelines and the CDC recommended guidelines, masks are now optional within all Academy classes. As First Stage Summer Academy moves ahead, it will be equally supportive and respectful of those who are ready to remove masks, and those who prefer to continue to wear them. First Stage Theater Academy will continue to follow the CDC recommendations and adjust when necessary. First Stage COVID safety protocols and updates can be viewed here: firststage.org/plan-your-visit/safety-security/ – performances 

And for those of you unfamiliar with First Stage or the First Stage Theater Academy:

First Stage Theater Academy is the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people. The region’s finest professional theater artists share their expertise, skills and passion for their art with over 2,000 young people this summer. Students will develop skills in musical theater, scene study, Shakespeare, improvisation and much more, while simultaneously building life skills, such as confidence, focus and teamwork. Young people are encouraged to take risks and conquer their fears, and First Stage is proud to be building the next generation of artists and leaders. 

And finally, my two cents worth: Everyone from First Stage that I have interacted with this past season have been excited about and dedicated to these youth programs. And the plays that I attended were exciting and professional and broad in scope. AND the kids on stage and in the audience all had a great time. If your child is interested in theater in any way, this would be a great summer learning and ‘play’ opportunity!

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