MISSION & HISTORY

OUR MISSION

 

Imagination Stage empowers young people to discover their voice and identity through performing arts education and professional theatre.

 

OUR VISION

 

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.

 

INCLUSION, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & ACCESS (IDEA)

 

From its very inception Imagination Stage has welcomed ALL young people and families regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, religion, age, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We use theatre arts to explore complex social justice issues and amplify historically marginalized voices through our Theatre for Change programming. We offer students diverse stories through our mainstage season of performances for families and schools, and foster opportunities to learn from artists and students of many backgrounds in our classes, camps, and workshops. This includes the many native and diverse peoples of our region. Our very theatre home sits on land that is still cared for by the Piscataway Conoy tribe. We are grateful for their continued stewardship of this land. The people of the Piscataway tribe, especially their children, have powerful voices that have often been silenced throughout history. Learn more about the Piscataway tribe and their legacy to Imagination Stage.

 

As we continue our work, Imagination Stage will always seek to celebrate the diversity of our nation and global society and to promote cultural understanding through our programming.

 

History of Inclusiveness

Since its inception over 40 years ago, Imagination Stage’s core values and mission have affirmed our commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) for all children as well as for our artists and staff. As a female founded and led organization, we recognize the imperative of IDEA in every aspect of our operations including hiring, program planning and implementation, and governance.

 

Statement Against Racism

Imagination Stage does not tolerate any form of racism, harassment, or bullying. We invest in anti-racist training and have promoted a staff working group focused on building anti-racism into the fabric of our workplace. We acknowledge that becoming an anti-racist organization is a continual process without a finish line.

 

Our Commitment to IDEA

We prioritize IDEA in our practices which include, but are not limited to: equity in our hiring on and off the stage; continued cultural competency and anti-racist training for staff and board members; diversity in our programming and production teams; and continued partnership with the community to ensure audiences have access to Imagination Stage. We will always be open to thoughts and suggestions that help us better fulfill our IDEA goals.

 

Imagination Stage, including its affiliate, Imagination Stage DC, strives to be an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible organization for ALL children and families. We continue to work towards making our building in Bethesda feel like a home to everyone who enters. This sentiment applies to wherever we work and perform throughout the community. We support the whole child in telling their unique stories and enriching our community.

 

Thank you for joining us in this journey.

OUR VALUES

 

We value inclusiveness and diversity by including all artistry, abilities, and talent, by welcoming and serving the diversity of our community and by respecting the diversity of our world and our work.

 

We value investment in the future of young people through our commitment to nurturing their creative and intellectual growth through excellent, innovative theatre and arts education experiences.

 

We value and create a safe haven for young people to embrace and explore their creativity.

 

We value service on behalf of children as we work to use theatre to improve the lives of children in our community regardless of their means or their location.

 

We value our staff associates and respect their contributions to the achievement of our mission and vision.

OUR HISTORY

 

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.