Our Story – Next Act Theatre

Our Story

NAT believes that stories work best when they involve characters in the midst of a struggle or a quest. Audiences identify with them, becoming emotionally and intellectually invested. The character’s situation, tragedy or triumph becomes the audiences’ to endure, mourn or celebrate. The theatre proves itself, then, as essential to the nourishment of our human spirit by bringing us together to examine, experience and explore the human condition, perhaps coming away with knowledge and perspective that only a good story can deliver.


Next Act Theatre engages the hearts and minds of audiences with intimate, compelling productions intended to stimulate thought, foster the exchange of ideas and promote the development of new perspectives and understanding.

Our mission is defined by four specific and interrelated goals:

  • Next Act produces dramatic material that brings social, cultural and political issues to the center of the community debate, reflecting the universal needs and aspirations of our fellow human beings.
  • Next Act nurtures and collaborates with the best of local, professional talent.
  • Through strategic play selection, community outreach activities, and accessible artistic style and management, Next Act works to develop new audiences.
  • Next Act establishes and maintains familiar, appreciative relationships with patrons and donors through service-oriented administrative practices and proactive staff interaction.

Land Acknowledgment

Next Act Theatre recognizes that we live and work on traditional homelands of the Kickapoo, Menominee, Peoria, Potawatomi, and Sioux peoples, and serve a community where members of Wisconsin’s sovereign indigenous nations remain present.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

We stand together with our community and fellow arts groups to embrace words and actions that help make our organization a better, more empathetic, accepting and inclusive place. We will continue to use our creative platform to lift up the stories of marginalized community members and bring social, cultural and political issues to the center of the community debate. In addition, we have come to understand there is more work to do and commit to actions that increase equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our work.


Formed in 1990 by a merger of its predecessor companies, Theatre Tesseract and Next Generation Theatre, Next Act continues its tradition of creating high-quality, professional theatre in Milwaukee. Next Act has earned a strong reputation for producing engaging work that feels intimate, powerful and personal. The plays presented are passionate, often bold, sometimes humorous and always up-close-and-personal.

A strong, vibrant and financially stable company, Next Act produces a four-show season of contemporary plays. The company is particularly noted for its acting excellence, accessible performance style and for a varied and consistently interesting selection of stories. Next Act has mounted more than 100 main stage productions, most of them being area premieres, and six original scripts.

Our Audience

Next Act performs for a growing subscriber base of over 1,200 and a single ticket community of over 4,500, attracting individuals and groups from Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Our audiences express a consistent and positive appreciation for the intimacy of our performance style and accessibility.

Next Act Theatre is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization.

FY20 Annual Report
FY19 Annual Report
FY20 Form 990
History Document