Continuing our commitment to new play development with The Foundry

As The Wisconsin Cycle –– our six-year series developing new plays that celebrate the history and people of our state – concludes with the world premiere WELCOME TO BRONZEVILLE, First Stage looks ahead to our next phase of new play development. The Foundry seeks to forge the next generation of new plays, new artists and new audiences.

“The term ‘foundry’ pays homage to the work ethic and manufacturing traditions of Milwaukee,” said Artistic Director Jeff Frank. “Our latest new play development initiative honors the effort required to craft new plays and programs while simultaneously developing artists and building community,” Frank continued.

A reading for The Sisters Eight by John Olive, December 2016
Beginning this season, The Foundry is comprised of a series of new play readings, engaging the community in conversations about the work and our process of creating a new play. These new play readings give First Stage’s artistic team an opportunity to hear a new work read aloud and receive vital feedback on the new script from those who matter most – our family audiences.

“As artistic director, I find the conversations we have with audiences about a new play are invaluable,” said Frank. “Learning from families what they enjoyed most about a story, what moments really resonated, what parts they find unclear – the feedback is necessary in shaping the piece to the high caliber theater we require ourselves to deliver to our audiences.”

In addition to gaining insight from audiences with these new play readings, The Foundry nurtures the talents of our local playwrights and artists, providing additional opportunities for youth and adult actors, writers and directors. The Foundry also looks globally for stories and the tellers of those new tales – tales that build awareness and understanding, foster empathy, and promote unity.

The following three new play readings are slated for the remainder of the 2016-17 season. These events take place at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Mark your calendars, and to step into The Foundry and help us forge the future of theater!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 7pm
By Alan Ayckbourn, Musical Adaptation and Lyrics by Paul James, Music by Cathy Shostak and Eric Angus

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 7pm
An original play by Finegan Kruckemeyer

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 7pm
Adapted by Marie Kohler, From the novel by Gene Stratton-Porter

Admission is free for these new play readings; advanced registration is encouraged. For full details on these readings and to register, visit

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