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First Stage Theater Academy

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The nation's largest high-impact theater training program for young people

First Stage Theater Academy is celebrating it's 30th year as the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people. We offer classes emphasizing the process of becoming strong performers, creative thinkers, and confident young people, for students as young as 4 up through high-school seniors. Professional theater artists share their expertise with students, fostering life skills through stage skills. 

In accordance with the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center guidelines and the CDC recommended guidelines, masks are now optional within all Academy classes starting on March 7, 2022. As we move ahead, we will be equally supportive and respectful of those that are ready to remove masks, and those who will continue to wear them. We will continue to follow the CDC recommendations and make adjustments when necessary.

Registration for the 2022/23 School Year is OPEN!


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Registration for the 2022/23 School Year is open!

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School Year Academy

Throughout the school year, we offer classes in Fall, Winter, and Spring Sessions for grades K4-12th. All experience levels are welcome! Performance fundamentals, storytelling, advanced classes, and specific techniques are offered.

Classes are taught by professional theater performers and artists, based on First Stage's highly developed curriculum.

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Next Steps Theater Academy

Summer and School Year Theater Academy classes designed for both verbal and non-verbal students, students with classic autism, PDD-NOS, other sensory processing disorders, and Asperger's. With small class sizes, our curriculum explores acting, singing, dancing and improvisation, through which students improve social understanding, fine and gross motor skills, empathy, conversation skills, public speaking and confidence. 

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Student Advisory Board

Do you want to be a student leader at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center? These positions are great for students looking to boost their extracurricular activities, make a difference in their community, and create a welcoming (and fun!) atmosphere for all students that walk through our doors. Students of all backgrounds, talents, and abilities (Grades 5-12) are encouraged to apply. 

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Young Company

First Stage Young Company, the Theater Academy’s award-winning training program for advanced high school actors is open to students who want to take their work to the next level. Accepted students will complete college and graduate-level training in Acting, Voice, Movement, and Shakespeare as well as electives ranging from Auditioning to Stage Combat to Dialects.

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Summer Academy

Full-day and half-day sessions held throughout the summer for students entering grades K4-12 in the fall. All experience levels are welcome! Classes range from basic storytelling and dramatic play for the youngest students, to introductory show clinics and audition-based performance experiences for older students.

Summer 2023 information will be released in March 2023. 

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Financial Assistance

We are thankful to many generous sponsors that allow us to offer financial assistance to any family that applies; awards are need-based. Flexible payment-plans are also available. Contact the Academy at to learn more. 

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