This is who we are!

By Mithra Ballesteros, First Stage Children's Theater

To understand the mission of First Stage, one need only walk through the lobby of the Todd Wehr Theater at our preview event last week. All branches of the theater company came together Thursday evening to celebrate the preview of THE MAGIC BICYCLE.

First and foremost, we are a theater company that provides professional theater performances that enlighten, enrich and engage young people and families. And digging a little deeper reveals that we are dedicated to creating new material. So we were thrilled to sit through the preview of THE MAGIC BICYCLE, an original play that we commissioned from playwright John Olive.

Secondly, we are a Theater Academy. For twelve months a year, we teach life skills through stage skills. This too is part of our mission. Usually our lessons take place in classrooms at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. This evening, students and parents met at the theater to participate in a pre-show workshop and then attend the performance.

Which brings us to the third arm of our organization: Theater in Education. Our teaching artists go out to schools and use theater as a tool to teach a specific curriculum identified by the classroom teacher. This evening, Julia Magnasco, Education Director, led guests in a pre-show workshop that fired up their synapses and prepared them to better appreciate the time-travel themes presented in THE MAGIC BICYCLE.

Of course the breadth of First Stage's mission wouldn't be possible without the support of our donors, sponsors, and partners. Variety of Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that aids children with physical disabilities, is a partner of this production. Their support of THE MAGIC BICYCLE is especially meaningful as they provide their own version of 'magic bicycles' or adaptive bikes to children with special needs. They invited 200 children affiliated with their organization to the preview performance.

THE MAGIC BICYCLE runs through February 5th at the Todd Wehr Theater. Tickets begin at $11.50 Please click here to order.

Photos by Michael Warren, First Stage Children's Theater.

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