Recipient of The Washington Post's 2012 Award for Excellence in Non-profit Management (honorable mention), Imagination Stage is the largest and most respected multi-disciplinary theatre arts organization for young people in the Mid-Atlantic region. We offer a year-round season of professional shows (adult actors performing for families and classes), after-school programs and summer camps for ages 1-18, and arts-integration professional development training for teachers, students, schools, and families. All of our programs are informed by our core belief in making the arts inclusive and accessible to all children, regardless of their physical, cognitive, or financial status.
Imagination Stage inspires creativity through theatre and arts education programs that nurture, challenge, and empower young people of all abilities.
Imagination Stage envisions a future where theatre experiences are a fundamental aspect of children's lives, nourishing their creative spirit, inspiring them to embrace the complexity and diversity of their world, and helping them overcome their challenges with hope, courage and, above all, creativity.
Imagination Stage was founded as BAPA (Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts) in 1979 in response to the urgent need for arts education for young people. The company was renamed Imagination Stage in 2001 in anticipation of its move to its downtown Bethesda theatre arts center in 2003. Imagination Stage has grown from a handful of children in a single classroom to a full-spectrum theatre arts organization, with theatre productions by professional actors and artists. Unlike most children's theatre companies, Imagination Stage commissions new works for children every year. These productions have been recognized with awards and productions by other companies around the world.
Imagination Stage's education program includes the nationally recognized arts integration residencies and professional development model: Imagination Quest, expansive after school education programs based in a unique pedagogy expanding from the multiple intelligences theory of Howard Gardner, and nationally-acclaimed programs for children with disabilities.
Every year, over 110,000 children and their families attend our professional performances, and participate in our classes and student performances. Imagination Stage is the east coast's première children's theatre and arts education organization.
To learn more about the history of Imagination Stage, view our timeline.