The Imagination Stage Creativity Initiative
Founded in 1979, Imagination Stage is the Washington metropolitan region's leading professional theatre for young audiences and theatre arts education center. Here, 100,000 children and their families are entertained, enriched and educated every year through a professional theatre that ranks with the greatest in the nation and an after-school education program that is considered by its peers to be the best in the nation.
The world has changed greatly since 1979 and Imagination Stage, which was created to counter insufficient opportunities for creative expression in schools, finds the situation 33 years later, worse. A July 2010 Newsweek cover story "Creativity in America" noted that creativity scores in elementary school children have declined steadily since 1990 according to the Torrance Test, the only nationally established measure for creativity. Thought leaders including Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, Jonah Lehrer, and Tom Friedman are all of the opinion that this trend must be reversed. Fifteen hundred CEOs interviewed in an IBM study said the same thing: creativity is the asset they value most in their associates.
In response to this need to re-build creative capacity in children and youth, Imagination Stage is broadening its mission to include new programming at its headquarters in Bethesda. In our first stage of this Creativity Initiative, we will:
- Define Creativity: We will consider the essence of creativity and establish how it is nurtured.
- Build Creativity: We will produce innovative prototype content that will build Creativity through Theatre in children, their parents, and their teachers.
- Measure Creativity: we will become the regional center for administration of the Torrance Tests (Figural and Movement Based). We will collect the data from these tests and become the local experts in this field. Concurrently, in collaboration with brain scientists who study development in children, we will investigate what happens to the brain of the young child when engaged in theatre.
- Advocate for Creativity: We will heighten our advocacy profile and lobby for more creative content in our homes, in our schools and in our lives.
Upcoming Creativity Initiative Programs
- Torrance Testing for All Ages: Returns in Fall 2013
- Creative Parenting Classes: Three Weeks | Sundays, June 16-30, 11:30-1:30
- The Imagination Stage Blog: Where we post and respond to new articles and research
Past Creativity Initiative Programs
• A Project Zero Evening at Imagination Stage: Making the Most of Children’s Imaginations: April 30, 2013
• A Creative Conversation: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
• Post-Show Creativity Workshops. Seussical (12/ 9 for ages 4-6): A creative structured play activity with visual and movement arts; Anime Momotaro (2/10 for ages 7-10): • Make-Your-Own-Manga (Japanese cartooning activity)