Next Actors: Summer Theatre for Teens emboldens passionate high school students in Milwaukee and surrounding areas to recognize their value and connect artistically to their community.
Next Actors provides a structure for teens to create a student-written performance that is then toured throughout the metro area. With the guidance of professional arts and community leaders, students gain self-awareness and confidence while learning to trust, respect, and collaborate with each other to create their own original work of performance art.
Next Act presents one special student matinee performance for each of its four main stage productions. To ensure access, deeply-discounted tickets are provided for the attending students. As needed, student tickets are sponsored for schools that do not have the means to buy tickets even at the discounted price. Pre- and post-show classroom visits from Next Act artists can be arranged upon request.
Community Youth Project
This annual program features a custom-designed, participatory student project inspired by one of the season’s main stage productions. The overall goal is to provide a select group of students the opportunity and the means to create an artistic response to the Next Act production. Students will see the play and work with artist-educators over the course of two to four weeks developing their project. A final presentation may be held at the theatre.
Next Act coordinates a series of five or more post-show “talkbacks” in conjunction with each season production, as well as after readings and special presentations. Directors and actors host many of the informal discussions, with occasional assistance from professionals with specific expertise on issues that arise in the plays. Talkbacks provide the audience with a forum in which to reflect upon the play and the issues portrayed within, and the chance to share their perspectives with others in a welcoming environment.
Next Act also holds a series of talks before performances to enrich the audience’s viewing experience. Free of charge, these casual but noteworthy presentations give context to the play with insights on topics like artistic production, design challenges and historical background. Attendees meet at the theatre 30 minutes before show time for these lively give-and-take discussions. Personal Previews are an important tool that helps Next Act forge memorable, strong connections between artists and audience members.