Story: Local Acting Student Nahjee Robinson
When Nahjee Robinson started at First Stage at age five, he was just learning to speak. After being diagnosed with meningitis as a baby, doctors told his mom his brain wouldn’t develop past the age of two.
“When I could kind of, sort of talk when I was five, my mom didn’t give up on me,” Nahjee said. “She put me in First Stage.”
“It was my first time meeting new people," Nahjee said. "I remember being so confused and nervous. It was truly nerve-racking at the time. I’m so glad I didn’t quit.”
Nahjee credits the kindness and helpfulness of the First Stage staff, the structure of the programs and classes in acting, musical theater and improv in helping him get to know the other kids, feel more comfortable over time and grow exponentially as a person. He was involved with First Stage from age five through his high school graduation this June.
“First Stage has impacted my life in so many ways,” Nahjee said. “I’m very outgoing; I enjoy talking, meeting new people and performing. I’m proud of how much I have grown as a person and how outgoing I have become.”
“I don’t know where I would be without First Stage,” he said. “I would probably still be that quiet and shy kid who didn’t want to talk to anybody. Being involved with First Stage for 13 years has created a lot of opportunities and I’ve developed so many relationships with staff and students. Not only have I been in productions at First Stage, but I also attended summer camps, worked as an intern and was involved in Young Company theater training program.”
Nahjee has also been part of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival over the past two years and will be attending UW-Milwaukee to study acting.
“I would like to continue learning in the field I started with at First Stage," Nahjee shared. "There are so many levels to learn and grow. First Stage helped me change my perspective of what I want to do in life. I would like to pursue a career in what I love best, performing. I feel that’s the right direction for my future.”
"Arts education programs help us expand on our imagination and our creativity," Nahjee said. "Arts education should be available to all young people because they all have a creative side to them and it should be expressed at every age."