MILWAUKEE — Supporters of First Stage got a sneak preview of the spring lineup in a special event this week. What they also got, was a powerful testimony on the importance of arts education in childhood development.
Young performer, Lily Miller sang an emotional song from “Gretel!” a musical premiering in February. 11-year-old Lina Singh performed a monologue from “Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand,” another 2020 show at First Stage.
The event was a fund-raising appeal to about 200 people, who in addition to the preview heard from multiple speakers on the off-stage work First Stage Performs.
“Not that we are trying to produce the next Misty Copeland or the next Picasso, but the arts gives our children a chance to really work through a lot of the adverse childhood experiences that they've had,” said Kathy Thornton-Bias, President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and spoke at the event.
First Stage provides programming at eight club sites. “We're making a very concerted effort to work with partners like First Stage to bring best in class agencies to our kids,” Thornton-Bias explained. “We want our kids to have the best arts education, the best theater education the best music education and we have great partners in Milwaukee that do just that.”
First Stage theater in education programs reach more than 16,000 students every year. Director of Programming, Julia Magnasco, says the outreach is a critical part of the mission. “We are simultaneously developing those skills of concentration of cooperation of empathy, building empathy, of having these opportunities of learning how we respect ourselves and others...”
For more information on First Stage productions, Academy classes, or how to bring them to your school, visit their website.