First Stage
Press Release

Generous Milwaukee Bucks Foundation Grant will support First Stage Community Partnership Program

The grant will support First Stage’s Community Partnership Program this season.

By - Aug 21st, 2019 12:34 pm

Milwaukee, WI – August 21, 2019 – The Milwaukee Bucks Foundation has awarded First Stage, one of the nation’s leading theaters for children and families, a $10,000 grant that will support its Community Partnership Program. While the Milwaukee Bucks have previously provided smaller grants to enable more young people to see First Stage theater productions at subsidized ticket prices, this is the first time First Stage has received a formalized grant from their foundation. The Milwaukee Bucks Foundation is dedicated to improving outcomes for underserved populations in Wisconsin, developing innovative partnerships and supporting impactful ideas in Youth Education, Youth Health and Wellness and Community Betterment. 

The grant will support First Stage’s Community Partnership Program (CPP) this season. CPP removes barriers and ensures access to First Stage’s transformative theater productions, Theater Academy classes and Theater in Education programming for Milwaukee youth and families. By participating in First Stage’s theater programming, young people from all backgrounds develop essential skills including teamwork, critical thinking, leadership and cross-cultural skills.

First Stage’s Community Partnership Programs include:

In-School Programming: First Stage offers Milwaukee classrooms two highly subsidized education programs – Partnership Program and Literacy Plus – with curricula linked to the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards, Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Learning Skills.

·     Partnership Program: First Stageprovides tickets and transportation to a theater performance, pre/post-show workshops, arts-integrated lessons and professional development opportunities for teachers. Students develop strong personal connections to the themes explored during a First Stage performance and utilize their theater experience as a springboard for an integrated learning experience. Classrooms also receive a weeklong “Teaching through Theater” program that enhances students’ comprehension of traditional academic topics. All classroom teachers are provided with curriculum guides and professional development offerings in arts-integration.

·     Literacy Plus: Ignites students’ love of reading by providing tickets and transportation to a First Stage theater performance and seven in-school workshops that connect its productions with the English Language Arts curriculum. Students actively explore key literacy skills by acting out stories from different characters’ perspectives, adapting and performing books as plays and participating in improvisational scenes based on literary themes thematically related to the theater production they will attend.

After-School Programming: First Stage provides financial assistance for students to attend Theater Academy classes through its Family Partnership Program, which provides need-based financial aid awards, along with transportation and mentorship opportunities to more than 300 Academy students annually. Financial aid amounts are determined on each student’s unique family and financial situation, Federal Adjusted Income and past Academy experiences. Reaching nearly 2,000 students each year, the Theater Academy offers a wide-range of theater classes and is guided by the motto of teaching life skills through stage skills. Students gain a solid foundation in theater while learning self-confidence, leadership, empathy, problem solving and teamwork. For more information about First Stage’s Theater Academy, please go to:

Family Engagement Opportunities: First Stage firmly believes that family engagement is the key to its young people’s success and community revitalization.

·     “Pay What You Choose” theater performances allow attendees to pay any dollar amount per seat, subject to availability. To view this season’s Pay What You Choose schedule, please go to:

·     Family Partnership Programming: The Theater Academy’s Family Partnership Coordinator works with Academy financial aid recipients and their guardians to offer a wide-range of family programming including backstage tours, discount/free theater tickets and pre-show workshops.

·     Family Literacy Nights: At these 45-minute events, families participate in storytelling experiences that promote literacy and language comprehension skills.

Betsy CorryFirst Stage’s Managing Director and a 2019 Women of Influence award-winner, commented: “We are delighted at the news of this grant and even more so, at the opportunity we have in partnering with the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation and combining our efforts to improve the quality of life of our community’s young people and families. The Bucks’ generous support will enable us to expand our reach and deepen our impact through our Community Partnership Program – which provides access to youth and families who otherwise would not be able to participate in our transformational theater experiences.”

To learn more First Stage and their upcoming 2019/20 season, please go to

About First Stage

First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves nearly 2,000 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’sEureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education and the arts for its Next Steps program for students on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

About Milwaukee Bucks Foundation

Since its inception in 2016, the MBF has announced and fulfilled more than $1.4 million in grants to nonprofits across Wisconsin. Dedicated to improving outcomes for underserved populations in Wisconsin by providing financial grants, developing innovative partnerships and supporting impactful ideas in youth education, youth health and wellness and community betterment, the MBF is now accepting applications for 2020 grants. For more information on the MBF, or to apply for a grant, visit

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