Our Bright Future: Touring Company

By Susan Wiedmeyer

First Stage’s Touring Company is a year-round, audition-based musical theater group for students in 7 – 12 grade. Spreading the First Stage mission of “Transforming Lives Through Theater,” these musical ambassadors rehearse and produce an original 30-minute show to take to community events and schools across the city from October through May.

During a two-week intensive in September, members write their own monologues and scenes, and hone their vocal and dance skills. They continue to train during Saturday afternoons throughout the year and during various evening rehearsals. Performances are held in a variety of venues throughout the city—ensuring that each performer learns to be versatile, reliable, and responsible.

The extended contact hours and progressive curriculum that Touring Company provides empowers each student to maximize his or her artistic ability as well as emphasize commitment, responsibility, critical thinking and personal expression.

This year, Touring Company has 15 members (7 – 10 grade) who come from all over Milwaukee—from Waukesha to Mequon. Together they have created this year’s original 30-minute show entitled, LIFE CHANGING MOMENTS, which focuses on First Stage’s core values of acceptance, self-confidence, and finding empathy.

Written collaboratively by Touring Company members and First Stage Teaching Artists, LIFE CHANGING MOMENTS acknowledges that everyone has his or her own struggle and that no one is alone. Full of personal stories of perseverance, standing up to adversity, hope and song, members share wisdom that is far beyond their young years:

 “When I was 8 years old, I was having trouble controlling my body so my parents took me in for testing. They discovered that I had Tourette Syndrome. It’s a type of syndrome that causes people to have involuntary body movements randomly. Up until this point, I felt normal. Not anymore. The next day at school, I started snorted and sniffing uncontrollably. Some of my friends asked me why I couldn’t stop snorting, and I told them I had tics. They thought it was the animal kind of ticks—like you get from deer. I told them it was Tourette Syndrome. They looked confused and instead of understanding, they made fun of me, mimicked me and mocked me. My parents and I came up with a plan to talk with the class and the teacher welcomed us in. After we talked with them about what Tourette’s is, the whole class clapped! THAT made me feel better! Living with Tourette’s can be hard, but I power through it and know that whether people accept me, bully me, or anything in between, it will be alright eventually, and I’ll still be standing.” - Touring Company Member 

To learn more about Touring Company or to schedule a performance or audition, please contact the Academy office at (414) 267-2970 or academy@firststage.org.

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