Donor Spotlight: Meet the Burns Family!

The Burns family has been involved in First Stage for many years! First Stage chatted with mom Julia Burns to learn more about her family’s passion for our organization.

What was your first experience with First Stage? 
My husband Bladen and I have always loved live theater.  As a young boy, our son Jack loved the “Frog and Toad” stories.  When First Stage was performing FROG AND TOAD, I purchased tickets.  Jack was enthralled with the performance. I believe his love of theater was born that day. Coincidentally, the actor who played Toad, John Maclay, later wrote the amazing musical, ANATOLE, in which Jack had his first acting role!  Hooked by FROG AND TOAD, we became First Stage subscribers and now all five of our children (Jack - 11, Reed - 9, Margaux - 7, Colin - 7 and Grace - 4) enjoy the shows each season. 

Jack Burns in this season's RUDOLPH (First elf on the left)
What has your family’s experience been in the Academy?
We believe the Academy’s mission of developing life skills through stage skills is extremely valuable. Our entire family chants the First Stage cheer when we’re about to tackle something difficult. 

How did you get your children’s school involved in First Stage’s Theater in Education Programs?
This past fall, I contacted First Stage Education Director Julia Magnasco as part of Washington Elementary School’s initiative to provide more students with the opportunity to attend live theater. As First Stage’s programs align with the Common Core standards, it is an excellent fit with Washington’s curriculum. Several teachers have already taken advantage of First Stage’s programs and more will do so next year.  

We are so happy you attended First Stage’s Make Believe Ball last year. What did your family enjoy about this family-friendly fundraising event? 
The fact that the entire evening is geared towards children makes the Make Believe Ball a special and unique event. It was the first formal party we had attended with our children and we all had so much fun. The activities for the kids kept them entertained which made it easier for the adults to have a good time, too. Our family is excited to attend the Ball again this year!

What inspires you to invest in First Stage by making a financial contribution? 
We want to invest in organizations that promote and develop positive life-long skills and values in children. Everything First Stage does is consistent with developing future adults who are confident, kind, open-minded and respectful. This is a tremendous value to our community. We feel so blessed to have First Stage in our lives. 

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