First Stage Residencies

First Stage’s Residencies develop critical literacy skills among students to increase achievement on standardized tests and enhancing their overall comprehension and retention of grade appropriate English Language Arts Model Academic Standards.

Literacy Residency builds students' skills and knowledge in the following key learning areas:

  • Story comprehension
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Presentation/public speaking
  • Group/team work
  • Multicultural perspectives

For more information, please call (414) 267-2978 or email


Targeted to pre-school and kindergarten-age children, this 14-week program developed by First Stage’s Education director uses story drama, theater exercises, and active learning to help young participants build literacy skills. Specially trained First Stage Teaching Artists come into the classroom once a week for an hour throughout the Residency. Beloved story books are the basis for the active games and activities that will engage all students in the classroom.

Classroom teachers will receive a copy of each book read during the Early Literacy Residency lesson to add to the grade’s library. The students will also receive a copy of one book at the end of the school year to add to their personal library at home. 
  • Grades: K4-2
  • Length: 14 weeks



This customizable Residency will offer students of all theatrical backgrounds and skills an overview of theater history, script-reading and analysis, stagecraft (set-building, light and sound operation), acting and improvisation, and theater etiquette. Students will be exposed to the basics of stage performing through script reading, improvisation techniques, stage movement, theater games, monologues, speechmaking, playwriting, and directing.

Call for specific details – 414-267-2978.



In teams, students explore the basics of playwriting, including dramatic structure; writing dialogue; organizing an event sequence; use of descriptive details and sensory language to develop characters and events.  Over fourteen consecutive 45-minute weekly sessions, students go through a writing process that includes planning, revising, editing, and rewriting.  Students will conclude by performing a staged reading of their scripts. 
  • Grades: 6-8
  • Length: 14 weeks



Designed for the 4th-6th grade ranges, this 25-week program is based directly off of the comprehension and writing portions of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination, along with reading, writing, and language arts curricula. The major goals of this program are to develop critical literacy skills among students and boost state standardized test scores at schools in the Milwaukee area. First Stage Teaching Artists will visit the classroom once a week to facilitate an hour session of arts-integrated literacy based activities and lessons, bringing with them materials to share with the classroom teacher. This highly specialized program will help determine the specific needs of students in order to support individual strengths and opportunities.

  • Grades: 4-6
  • Length: 14 weeks

Contact the Education Department to set up residency session dates and times. Residency sessions will be arranged based on Teaching Artist availability and your classroom schedule. Contact us at (414) 267-2978 or email