First Stage expands programming for students with autism

Spookley the Square Pumpkin, rehearsal
photo by Lindsey Abendschein.
First Stage will present three world premiere, sensory-friendly performances this season to further serve the needs of young people on the autism spectrum and their families. This is the first season a sensory-friendly performance will be included as part of First Stage’s Family Series at the Todd Wehr Theater. Designed for children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other sensory, social, and cognitive disabilities, performances inlcude a limited number of attendees, lower volume, lights up, and a host of resources and support before, during and after the performance. 

“We are excited to bring these sensory-friendly performances to both the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center and the Todd Wehr Theater this season,” said Jennifer Adams, director of First Stage’s Next Steps program, theater classes designed to serve students on the autism spectrum. “It is a great opportunity to share First Stage productions and the Next Steps program with a wider audience. Seeing a live theater performance can be transformative, and everyone deserves the opportunity to experience that for themselves!” Adams continued.

First Stage's 2015-2016 Sensory-friendly Performances: 

Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 3:30 p.m.
A world premiere stage play by Joe Troiano
Based on the film "Spookley the Square Pumpkin" by Joe Troiano and Tom Hughes and the book "The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin" by Joe Troiano.
Songs by Joe Troiano and Jeffery Kahn
@Holiday Hill Enterprises, LLC
Performances at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, for everyone ages 3-6.

Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.
A world premiere musical adapted from the books by Mercer Meyer
Book and Lyrics by John Maclay
Music by Brett Ryback
Performances at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, for everyone ages 3-6.

Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
A world premiere by Finegan Kruckemeyer
Commissioned and developed by First Stage, Oregon Children's Theatre and Magik Theatre
Performances at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater, for everyone ages 8 and up.

To reserve tickets, please contact the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961. Ask how you can save up to 30% off single ticket prices with a Family Package to three or more plays this season.

Classes for students on the autism spectrum
First Stage has also expanded its NEXT STEPS program, classes designed to help students on the autism spectrum experience the joy of acting, movement and musical theater - while allowing them the opportunity to sharpen social skills and make new friends. School year classes have been added (serving students age 14-20), the program has grown to include Fall, Winter, Spring, a week-long Spring Break session (grades 3-12) and Summer Academy (grades 3-12).

Families are encouraged to contact the First Stage Academy Office to talk about the next step in getting involved at First Stage at (414) 267-2970 or 

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