Imagination Stage Executive Director Bonnie Fogel Assumes New Position

Search for New Managing Director to Co-Lead the Organization Now Underway

Bonnie Fogel, Founder and current Executive Director of Imagination Stage.

Imagination Stage Board President Patrick O’Neil announced today that Executive Director Bonnie Fogel will assume a new part-time position, with the title of Founder, beginning on January 1, 2021. This move launches a succession plan that includes recruiting a Managing Director to co-lead the awarding-winning Theatre for Young Audiences and arts education organization with Founding Artistic Director Janet Stanford. A search committee, headed by highly respected businesswoman and former Imagination Stage Board President, Jane Fairweather, has been created to identify the right candidate for the new executive position.

“Launching and developing Imagination Stage has been the greatest adventure of my life, and I can’t believe how quickly the last 40 years have gone,” said Fogel. “As we celebrate four decades of service, it’s time to find the next leader with the skills needed to guide the organization into the future.”

Bonnie with Patrick O’Neil, Board President, at Imagination Stage’s 40th Anniversary Gala.

“It is impossible to overstate Bonnie’s dedication to Imagination Stage and the incredible skill and strategic thinking she brings to everything she does,” said Imagination Stage Board President Patrick O’Neil. “This is a big step for this organization, so we are creating a deliberate and thoughtful process that reflects the importance of this moment.”

Fogel’s position as Founder will focus on fundraising, institutional advancement, as well as ongoing entrepreneurial endeavors. A key element of her portfolio will be transferring institutional knowledge, laying the groundwork for a smooth and stable transition to the new Managing Director.

“I am so grateful that Imagination Stage will continue to benefit from Bonnie’s experience, insight, and commitment as we bring a Managing Director onboard and beyond,” said Imagination Stage DC Board President Kim Barnette. “In this new role, she will be an invaluable resource as the organization charts the course for its next 40 years.”

Bonnie with Founding Artistic Director Janet Stanford.

“Bonnie and I have been so-called ‘partners in crime’ for many years,” said Founding Artistic Director Janet Stanford. “I am incredibly grateful for her energy and knowledge of the arts community, government, and funders. Having Bonnie here to ensure a smooth transition will be an enormous benefit to our staff, the artists we work with, and the families who have made Imagination Stage a part of their lives.”

Created in 1979, Imagination Stage has grown from an after-school program serving 17 students to become one of the largest youth-oriented arts organizations on the East Coast, reaching 100,000 children and families each year. Today, Imagination Stage has a budget of more than $5.4 million and a full-time staff of 41. Its main facility is a 40,000 square-foot building in the heart of Bethesda.

The Managing Director search committee, led by Fairweather, includes seven individuals, all of whom represent the Imagination Stage Maryland and DC Boards. The successful candidate will be responsible for overseeing all managerial aspects of the organization — prioritizing efficient daily operation and administration, strategic planning, fundraising, marketing, community relations, and governance of the Maryland and DC Boards.

Bonnie discussing Imagination Stage’s work with the Whittle School & Studios and other upcoming initiatives for the Maryland Board of Public Works.

About Bonnie Fogel
Bonnie Fogel has guided Imagination Stage from its creation in 1979 as a PTA project in an elementary school to the national institution it has become. Prior to Imagination Stage, she worked as an independent writer and journalist. In the U.K., she worked in the communications department retail giant Marks & Spencer. In the U.S., she worked for Pittsburgh Public Schools and The National Parks & Recreation Association. In the community, she currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Siena School. She is a former Board Member of the BCC Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the BCC’s Cultural Arts Committee and the Committee for a Bethesda Cultural District. In 2004, Ms. Fogel was named a Washingtonian of the Year. Other awards include: Montgomery County ArtStars Award (2005); Maryland’s Top 100 Women (2006), Smart CEO Award, (2007), TheatreWashington Helen’s Star (2012), Montgomery Women Shining Star Award (2014), and recipient of the Gelman, Rosenberg, & Freedman Excel Award for nonprofit management (2015).

About Imagination Stage
Founded in 1979, Imagination Stage is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to inspire creativity through theatre and arts education programs that nurture, challenge, and empower young people of all abilities. It offers year-round professional theatre for young audiences and classes in creative drama/acting, musical theatre, dance, and filmmaking for ages 1-18. Visit

For press inquiries, contact Jessica Pettit, Marketing & Communications Director, at [email protected]


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