How you can help support MadStage! Radio theater page Submit show information to MadStage Information about performance venues Wisconsin playwrights and scripts page Theater humor page Win Free Tickets! Thanks to all those who've contributed to MadStage in the past year! About MadStage Theater and dance classes, workshops, teachers and schools Performance links Performance-related job and volunteer opportunities, plus internship listings Dance Groups featured on MadStage Theater groups featured on MadStage Performance Calendar Home

Proud Theater

To change the world through the power of theater and the theater arts, and to make a positive difference in the lives of LGBTQ and allied youth through the tenants of art, heart, and activism!

Proud Theater is an award-winning, exciting and innovative youth theater program designed to foster self-expression and self-empowerment for youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer/questioning (LGBTQ), or who are the children of LGBTQ parents, or who are allies of the LGBTQ community at large.

Throughout the school year, the teens of Proud Theater collaboratively create original theatrical pieces, poetry, music and dance utilizing improv, group discussion and guidance from prominent adult members of the community they serve. The emphasis on original theater, music, prose and poetry makes Proud Theater stand out.

Founded in 1999 by Sol Kelley-Jones and Callen Harty in Madison, Wisconsin, Proud Theater’s mission is to change the world through the power of theater and the theater arts, and to make a positive difference in the lives of LGBTQ and allied youth through the tenants of art, heart, and activism.

Homophobia and transphobia present many challenges in the lives of young people. As a result, these self-described “queer” youth may be more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience depression, family estrangement, school problems, and substance abuse. In response, Proud Theater offers encouragement, inspiration, and support on many different levels. It builds upon the youths’ innate resilience—providing them with community, security, peer support, and mentorship. This in turn, contributes to their positive engagement with school, overall health, self-esteem and stability.

Proud Theaters’ tradition of celebrating rainbow symbols has dual meaning for those members of the group who have multiracial identities. In addition to producing pieces that work to counter homophobia, anti-racist and multicultural themes are integrated into their works.

Proud Theater is a program of Art & Soul Innovations, dedicated to the advancement of queer youth nationwide. The group is also sponsored in part by a generous grant from the Mukti Fund – dedicated to supporting queer youth theater across the country, and PFund – a foundation that supports the LGBT community in the Midwest. Proud Theater also enjoys support from local organizations Fromagination in downtown Madison which specializes in artisanal cheeses and companions, and Life After Hate, an online magazine dedicate to the notion that kindness and compassion are virtues of strength, not weakness.

Proud Theater has recently begun to expand, and has opened a chapter in Wausau, Wisconsin. The group will be opening similar chapters in Milwaukee, Houston and other communities around the country. An older post high-school version of Proud Theater is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2012 at UW-Stevens Point in Wisconsin.

Tax-deductible donations can be written out to Proud Theater and sent to ‘Proud Theater, 702 Nichols Rd, Monona, WI – 53716’. For more info about the company, contact Proud Theater at, or visit, or call Brian Wild at 608-222-9086.

Past Productions