First Stage Welcomes New Talent

10:51 AM
In anticipation of our 25th anniversary season, First Stage has recruited new talent in nearly every area of the organization.  Please join us in welcoming our newest additions!

Katie Weeks

Katie Weeks (formerly Peschel) has joined First Stage this month in the role of Development Director.  Prior to First Stage, Katie served as the Vice President of Development for the United Performing Arts Fund where she helped oversee the $9-10 million dollar annual campaign in support of the Milwaukee performing arts community.  Katie was included as part of the Business Journal’s Forty under 40 in 2011.  She has served on the Board of Directors of Wisconsin Dance Council and Danceworks and is a member of Milwaukee Forum, Professional Dimensions and Milwaukee Urban League.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, she earned a double Major in Theatre and Communication.  She is originally from Madison, Wisconsin.  Welcome to First Stage Katie!

Katie Doral, former Patron Services Manager, has been promoted to General Manager.   Katie has been working at First Stage since 2007.  As General Manager, she will head Human Resources, serve as the Administrative Director for the Education Department, and oversee all business operations for the organization.  From Rochester, Michigan, Katie holds a B.A. in Speech Communication and Theater from Albion College.  She is a graduate of The Purple Rose Theatre Apprentice Program and a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association having received her union card in 2003 while stage managing at The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, MI.  Congratulations Katie!


Robb Bessey

The First Stage production department recently added Robb Bessey in the position of Technical Director.  Rob joins First Stage after three years as the Technical Director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.   He has over 25 years experience building and supervising construction of scenery for theatre, corporate meetings, fashion shows, displays and trade shows.  Robb has built theatrical scenery for Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, the Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Bialystock and Bloom and Next Act Theatre.  He has worked on exhibits for Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee Public Museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum among other professional projects. A graduate of the University of Delaware Professional Theater Training Program, Robb has taught Technical Theatre at the University of Iowa, Carroll College and Florida State University. 

First Stage Theater Academy announces the addition of Katie Cummings as School Year Academy Director.  Prior to joining First Stage, Katie held the position of Development and Donor Services Manager with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.   Katie directed First Stage Theater Academy’s Young Company production of “Little Women” earlier this year.  She was the Resident Director at St. Joseph High School in Kenosha for eight years and has worked professionally with Bunny Gumbo Productions, The Alumni Players, Racine Youth Players and UWM’s College for Kids.  Katie has a B.A. in Theater and Business from Cardinal Stritch University.


Ken Williams

Ken Williams joined the Academy staff as Summer Program Director.  Ken is a professional actor and educator.  He has taught at First Stage since 2008.  Locally he has worked with the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Bunny Gumbo Productions, In Tandem Theatre, Optimist Theatre, Boulevard Ensemble, Lake Geneva Theatre Company, Windfall Theatre, Summer Stage of Delafield, Cornerstone Theatre, Cedar Creek Repertory, Racine Prairie School and Milwaukee Public Schools where he helped to create district-wide teaching standards for theatre education.  Ken has a B.A. in Theatre from UW-Milwaukee and is a licensed theatre educator in the state of Wisconsin. 

Also new to the Academy staff is Jennifer Adams, Early Stages Program Director.  Jennifer is a teaching artist and director who will oversee the development of Creative Drama Curriculum for
Pre
-K through fourth grade.  Jennifer earned an M.F.A. in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida and a B.S.Ed. in Theatre Education from Columbus State University of Columbus, Georgia.

Patrick
Schley joins the Academy staff as Academy Services Manager.  Patrick has been involved with First Stage as a student, intern and supporter since 1999.  Recently he held the position of marketing manager for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  He has also worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Lake Geneva Theater Company and others.

The First Stage marketing department recently added Erica Passey in the position of Communications Manager.  Erica has over ten years experience in non-profit/arts marketing most recently holding the position of Marketing Director of the Charles Allis Art Museum.  She holds a B.A. in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Also new to the marketing team is Lindsey
Abendschein, Creative Services Manager.  Lindsey holds a B.F.A. with an emphasis in graphic communications from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  She has over ten years experience designing for both print and digital media. 

Christopher Cuhel also joins the marketing team, taking over the role of Patron Services Manager.  Christopher has over five years experience in patron relationship management with such arts organizations as the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

Welcome to First Stage everyone!

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