Why Support Us

All of First Stage’s programs work toward the same goal; the education and personal development of young people.  We strive to ensure they are accessible to everyone and are reflective of our increasingly diverse community.

As a non-profit organization, we can’t do it alone.  Approximately half of our revenue comes from ticket sales and class fees and the other half from generous contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, government sources and UPAF.

First Stage serves over 150,000 people each year.  Consider the impact of First Stage programs on these individuals:

  • A young girl and her mom drive an hour to attend First Stage’s production of SEUSSICAL. Her mom is excited to share this experience with her daughter who is not familiar with the story. When Horton sings, "A person's a person no matter how small," Mom looks at her daughter who is looking up at her and they share a moment of understanding. The girl’s name is Madeline. She is 7-years-old but is the size of a 3-year-old due to her rare form of dwarfism.
  • On Monday morning a young boy enters the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center as a student of First Stage Theater Academy’s Next Steps program. He doesn’t have any friends here, he’s not sure what the class will be like and he certainly doesn’t like not knowing what is in store for him. By Friday, he is singing, acting, laughing, and interacting with his new friends. His mom says she has never seen him so happy and for the first time, he is showing no signs of the anxiety and avoidance that typically go along with group activities. His name is Anthony and he is on the autism spectrum.
  • A fifth grade teacher is struggling to keep order in her classroom. Her ability to teach is being compromised by the bullying among her students. She tries her best to find solutions but has run out of ideas. Finally her principal agrees to bring First Stage’s Bully Ban workshop into the school. The students learn to find creative and practical solutions to conflicts, understand different points of view, and inspire each other to make respectful and positive choices. The teacher’s name is Sue and she is grateful for the impact the Bully Ban workshop had on her students.

First Stage truly transforms lives through theater.  Thank you for your interest in making a donation to First Stage.  A gift of any size makes a difference.