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What is YES Next Stage?
YES Next Stage is an advanced theater training program for juniors and seniors in high school with an emphasis on finding, applying to and thriving in the college that best suits them as an artist and an individual. More than that, it is an opportunity to answer necessary, deeply personal questions about your relationship to theater, your sense of self, and your desire to continue your training as an artist. In addition to elevating young actors’ craft to the point where they would excel in the industry, we also aim to educate young actors about the options available to them, and to offer a rigorous and fulfilling opportunity to explore whether continued advanced training in a BFA conservatory or BA program is right for them and their families.

Why should I choose YES Next Stage for myself or my child?

For those who intend to apply to conservatory programs in theater arts, YES Next Stage is here to help prepare you for the road ahead. Starting with the same demanding training that you will encounter in the country’s leading BFA and MFA programs and continuing with college application guidance and audition prep, YES Next Stage will give our young actors the highest possible chance to succeed.  

For those who are still exploring the role that theater will play in their lives, YES Next Stage is here to help discover how it can continue to enrich your life for years to come, whether or not it’s as a career. We fervently believe that this advanced training, and arts education in general, is beneficial beyond simply preparing young actors for college applications. What theater demands – and this training fosters – is generosity, empathy, bravery and imagination; these will help you succeed in a BFA audition, a group project or a computer programming class.

What is the curriculum?

YES Next Stage is made up of four components: Main Stage Days, College Summer Sprint, Professional Workshop Days and Professional Mentorship and Coaching.

Northern Stage Main Stage Days, also a part of our YES Program, are opportunities to spend the day at the theater with the industry professionals involved in our main stage productions, followed by a pizza party with the rest of the YES company and the opportunity to see the show and participate in a talkback with the cast and creative team. Participants in YES Next Stage get a discounted rate on Main Stage Days and serve as leaders in our YES Program. 

The College Summer Sprint for Seniors is a week-long jump start to the year, consisting of  sessions dedicated to solidifying a college application list, access to a college counselor, completion of the college essay, and mentorship in choosing any artistic materials needed for application supplements. For Juniors, we offer a one day session at the end of the week to learn about the college application and financial aid process as well as how to begin looking at colleges and decide whether a program aligns with what they are looking for or not. 

Our professional workshop days will include classes devoted to movement, voice and speech, dance, Shakespeare, scene study, musical theater, and audition prep, along with industry panels on crucial topics such as what it takes to succeed in theater off stage. These will be taught by guest artists along with Northern Stage staff. 

Professional mentorship and coaching will include one-on-one coaching sessions with industry professionals along with Education Team members, including Director of Education Robert David Grant (MFA Yale School of Drama, faculty lecturer in the Theater Department at Dartmouth). Actors will receive guidance on their college application process, regardless of whether they choose to apply to a conservatory program, that includes coaching and filming of audition cuts to send to schools.

What does YES Next Stage cost?

Tuition for rising juniors applying to YES Next Stage is $2,000 for the academic year beginning in fall 2023. Financial aid is available for qualified actors and their families. Please see below for the cost breakdown.

If you are interested in applying to YES Next Stage, we’d love to meet with you! Please email Robert David Grant at to schedule an interview – we ask to meet with young actors and their families at this early stage to determine if what we offer will benefit everyone involved, and to answer any questions you might have about the program before you apply. Following the interview process we invite candidates to apply.

Important Dates for 2023/24 academic year: 
Interview requests due by 5/15
Interviews completed by 6/01
Applications due 6/9
Acceptances announced 6/16

Scholarship and Payment Plans
In an effort to ensure theater education is accessible to all, Northern Stage offers need-based scholarships and payment plans for our education programs. If you would like to apply for a scholarship or set up a payment plan, please email and ask our staff to hold a place for you until the scholarship or payment plan process is complete. 

To learn more about our new Sliding Scale Tuition Assistance Program, please click HERE.
We are grateful to Janet Miller Haines and Heywood Alexander, Education Fund donors, and our entire family of supporters for making YES scholarships possible. If you would like to set up a payment plan or have questions about payment options, please email