Listen: As students passed through the front doors of Milwaukee Youth Arts Center for the First Stage Summer Theater Academy, I could see an eager look in the eyes of nearly every youth. And as soon as they found their classes and friends, I could see the reason for their enthusiasm; they loved being around each other. First Stage has a strong focus on allowing the students to just be themselves, and as simple as that sounds, it’s not always the easiest of tasks.
What struck me about this idea in the setting of a theater camp — in learning to play characters and inhabit the voice of another person, the students become comfortable with their own voice first. Anna, a rising senior at Shorewood High School and First Stage veteran, is a prime example of this process. She entered the Theater Academy as a middle schooler reluctant with the camp and herself, but eventually found acceptance: see podcast below.
To learn more about First Stage, check out their website. And unfortunately, their Summer Theater Academy has ended, but that makes way to its school-year relative — the First Stage Theater Academy. Learn more about it here!
Produced by: Benjamin Wick