Education – FBYCP

Education The Fran Bauer Young Critics Project

Fran Bauer Young Critics' Project logo

The Fran Bauer Young Critics Project (FBYCP) is our arts education program. Named after our beloved Board member and journalist Fran Bauer, FBYCP was created to form the next generation of theater critics.



 Upon completion of FBYCP, students will be able to:

  • Understand the foundational elements of theater;
  • Understand the contrast between opinion and critique;
  • Utilize engaged thinking to discuss themes and analyze and interpret written and performed theatrical works;
  • Hold honest, respectful, and meaningful conversations about themselves and peers;
  • Set and meet both personal and professional goals for themselves and peers;
  • Actively practice self-efficacy and autonomy increasing confidence, productivity, and professionalism.

What Is It?

The Fran Bauer Young Critics Project is a six-month educational program offered by Renaissance Theaterworks is designed to introduce high school and college aged students to theatre criticism and professional writing.

Selected students will attend monthly workshops with local writers, reviewers, and artists to help understand and value the performing arts, writing skills, the differences between personal opinion and insightful critique, and knowing your audience. Students will practice the skills learned in the workshops by writing reviews of a prerecorded Renaissance Theaterworks performance, a live performance from RTW’s 22-23 season, and various performances throughout the greater Milwaukee area.

Students will receive feedback from each other, RTW staff, and guests artists throughout the six month program. At the end of the session, final reviews will be published on FranBauer.Blog - a new Milwaukee-based theatre critique website managed by Renaissance Theaterworks. After completing the program, select FBYCP alumni will be invited to continue writing critiques for the website.

How To Apply

In order to make space for the most individualized attention students deserve, the FBYCP will be capped at 12 students per session. While the mission of FBYCP is to encourage and emphasize the voices of young women in the community, students of all gender identities are invited and encouraged to apply.

To apply, students must fill out the FBYCP Application found on the RTW website. With the application, students must submit a one-page written response to the following prompt:

Think back to a performance you’ve seen that you really enjoyed. This can be a play, musical, concert, dance, movie, television show, etc. What did you like about it? What made it stand out to you? What aspects about the performance made it work? What was your favorite part? Now, think about performance that you’ve seen/watched and did not enjoy. What didn’t you like about it? What didn’t work? What would you have done differently?

Materials must be submitted to Ryan Rehak at [email protected] no later than Friday, December 9th at 11:59pm CST. Selected students will be notified the following week.

What’s The Schedule?

Workshops take place on the first Saturday of each month from January-June from 11am-1pm. Lunch will be provided at each workshop.

January 7th, February 4th, March 4th, April 1st, May 6th, June 3rd


Fran Bauer Young Critics Program, a Renaissance Theaterworks education program designed to introduce Milwaukee high school girls to theater criticism and professional writing.

We are grateful to have partnered with PEARLS for Teen Girls for this project! In previous years we have been able to provide their students with dynamic teams of local theater artists, including Arts Educator Trevor Rees, MFA; Writer, Poet and Founder of Still Waters Collective Dasha Kelly; Shepherd Express Theater Critic, Selena Melenski; Former Footlights Editor Amanda Schumacher; and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Theater Critic, Michael Fischer.

Pearls for Teen Girls logo

About Fran Bauer

Fran Bauer

Fran Bauer was a trailblazing reporter for the Journal Sentinel for over thirty years. She was an important voice for the underdog –an advocate for the elderly and the disabled. She was also a single mom, raising three children while pursuing her career in a male-dominated world. Fran was a fierce activist for women’s rights and worked very hard to empower women in everything she did. She was a Renaissance Theaterworks' Board member for many years.

Fran was also a gifted artist. She painted the world through her eyes with incredible spirit and joy in living. Her kind, generous and caring soul, and her funny spirit, touched all who had the good fortune to know her.

Fran passed away in July, 2016, at the age of 79. We miss her deeply! We are overjoyed to honor her memory through the Young Critics Project.

We are deeply committed to Milwaukee's future generations of theater lovers!
Our goal with FBYCP is to foster a new and more diverse group of theater critics.

Please contact us for more information.