Next Steps

Using research-based best practices, Next Steps Theater Academy classes serve young people through our philosophy of teaching life skills through stage skills. We strive to help each student take his or her next steps as an artist and a person.

We serve both verbal and non-verbal students, students with classic autism, PDD-NOS, other sensory processing disorders, and Asperger's. With small class sizes, our curriculum explores acting, singing, dancing and improvisation, through which students improve social understanding, fine and gross motor skills, empathy, conversation skills, public speaking and confidence. 

ACTING: Explore character, relationships, action and text while developing overall acting skills and confidence.
MUSICAL THEATER: Increase your versatility and work on new vocal and dance techniques while exploring the art of telling a story through words, music and movement.

There are eight students per class. Our classroom model includes teams of lead teachers, special education professionals, and teaching assistants with approximately a 2:1 and often 1:1 student to teacher ratio. Family aides may accompany a student to class as necessary and agreed upon between the family and First Stage. 

For questions or to register, please contact Brenna Kempf, Next Steps Director at or (414) 267-2969.

Saturday Theater Academy classes are open to new and returning students entering grades 3–12. Classes are available in fall, winter, and spring. Students in our Saturday Theater Academy classes will study Acting.


Week-long Theater Academy classes are open to new and returning students entering grades 3-12.Students attending a week-long Theater Academy classes will study both Acting and Musical Theater as part of our curriculum.

  • April 10 - 14, 2017 (one week), grades 3-12

One and two-week long Theater Academy classes are open to new and returning students entering grades 3-12 this summer. Classes take place from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

  • August 7-11, 2017 (one week) $200
  • August 14-18, 2017 (one week) $200
  • August 7-18, 2017 (two-week) $395

For questions or to register, please contact Brenna Kempf, Next Steps Director at or (414) 267-2969.

A number of sensory friendly performances are available throughout the season for families with children who need sensory accommodations. These performances feature a welcoming environment including lower sound, lights up, and available quiet areas staffed by educators experienced with the care of students with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Join us for our final Sensory Friendly performance of our 2016-2017 season:

Saturday, April 8, 2017
1:00 p.m. 

Contact the First Stage Box Office to reserve your space at (414) 267-2961 or email


Eureka Award

Next Steps is a winner of the Business Journal's Eureka Awards, which recognize creativity, innovation, leaps forward and progress in business, the arts, education, health care and other areas.

  • Sensory-friendly performances

    Sensory-friendly performances for our 2016-2017 season have been announced! Learn more

  • Parent testimonial

    "My daughter embraced the concept of being comfortable taking risks. I was thrilled to see her learn to see a mistake as an opportunity for growth."