Imagination Stage

Frequently Asked Questions

Registration Policies

Q: Age/Grade levels


Students may only enroll in camps/classes intended for their grade level, regardless of age. Our classes are designed for specific grade groupings, allowing for age-appropriate curriculum and programming. Although we understand that skill and maturity levels vary, younger students may not register up a grade level.

  • Programming is for students through grade 12/age 18.
  • Students ages 18-21 may enroll in one of Imagination Stage’s Access classes and must be enrolled in high school or a high school equivalency program.

If you have specific concerns about your student’s needs or any questions about what class your child should take, we invite you to reach out to the Education department (contact information found in the Classes/Camp section below); we are eager to help parents and caregivers find the best match and course of study for each child.

Q: Auditing


Students may audit 10 and 14-week classes for the first two weeks before enrolling. There are no audits available for shorter classes or summer camps. To  audit, contact the Registrar at [email protected]. A credit card payment for the first two weeks is required. If a student chooses to continue in the class, the balance due must be paid in full before the student may attend the third class. 

Q: Financial Aid and Discounts


Partial tuition assistance is available and awarded on the basis of financial need. Please contact Pam Freedy at [email protected] to receive an application.

Imagination Stage offers school employees, first responders, and members of the military. Discounts are:

20% discount on classes and camps. To use the classes/camps offer, please contact the registrar at 301-280-1636 or [email protected].

Q: Payment Plans


Tuition may be split into two equal payments by contacting the registrar or selecting the “payment plan” option online. Payments must be made by credit card, and the first payment is due with registration. Payment plan dates will be included in the confirmation email.

Payment plans for Summer camps consist of three equal payments – the first payment is due at the time of registration, and the second and third payments are each due one month apart. Camp payment plans must be paid in full before May 1st.

You can set up a payment plan at checkout or contact the Registrar at [email protected] for more information.


Q: Registration Confirmation/Receipt


Registrants will receive an automatic confirmation receipt via email. Registrations for 6- and 10-week classes are accepted up to and through the second week of class. Registrations for 14-week classes are accepted up to and through the third week of class. If you have any questions about your registration or need an FSA-compliant receipt, please email [email protected].

Q: Refund and Withdrawal Policy


We know that plans change. We also need to plan in order to best serve all of our students. Unfortunately, that means we have to have a withdrawal policy. 

Your payment will be fully refunded when a camp or class is canceled due to low enrollment. In the event of emergency closures due to weather, power outages, government mandate, and other force majeure events, Imagination Stage will do its best to provide alternative programming and/or make-ups but cannot guarantee doing so. No refunds are provided in the event of emergency related closures.  

Personal refund requests are subject to a 15% cancellation fee plus the cost of any classes that have taken place before the request was submitted. The $5 processing fee is non-refundable. Refund requests must be made by emailing the registrar on the following timelines:

  • 10 and 14-week classes: refund requests must be made within two days after the second class session. 
  • 6-week classes: refund requests must be made within two days after the first class session. 
  • There are no refunds or credits for production ensembles or conservatories.
  • Summer Camps: refund requests must be made by January 22 to receive a full refund. Refund requests made before March 15 are eligible for a refund less a 25% cancellation fee. Refund requests made before May 15 are eligible for a refund, less a 50% cancellation fee. After May 15, no refunds are available. 


Q: Emergency Closure/Inclement Weather


In the event of emergency closures due to weather, power outages, government mandate, and other force majeure events, Imagination Stage will do its best to provide alternative programming and/or make-ups, but cannot guarantee doing so. No refunds are provided in the event of emergency/non-COVID related closures.

We generally follow the cues of the Federal Government, which may or may not align with MCPS or private school plans and decisions. Look for a pop-up message on the homepage of our website for updates and, if you have a class or a performance scheduled, check your emails for a message.

Q: Siblings/Guests


In order to provide a safe environment for your child, siblings and guests are not permitted to accompany students to class. Unless otherwise stated, parents do not participate in classes.

Q: Arrival/Dismissal


School year: Students in grades 3 and under must be dropped off and picked up at the classroom door each day of classes or camps. Students in grades 4+ may be picked up and dropped off outside the building.

Summer Camps: Dismissal procedures vary from camp to camp; your camp manager will be in touch with details before your camp begins.

If your child needs to leave early from a program, you must pick them up at the classroom door, regardless of grade.


Q: Late Pickup


Parents will be assessed a $10 charge if a child is picked up more than 15 minutes after class/camp ends and an additional $1 per minute thereafter.

Q: Snacks and Lunch


All food must be brought from home. Imagination Stage is a nut-free facility. Families are asked to pack non-perishable food as no refrigeration is available on-site.

Q: Accessibility and Inclusion


Imagination Stage is deeply committed to serving children of all abilities and endeavors to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students. We encourage parents to contact [email protected] before enrollment to discuss reasonable and respectful accommodations and support strategies to ensure a successful experience at Imagination Stage.

Q: Photography and Videography


Imagination Stage and contracted photographers reserve the right to use photos and videos taken in class/camp for promotional and archival purposes. The taking of photographs, videotaping, and the use of recording devices is not permitted during performances of copyrighted material.

Q: Liability


Imagination Stage is not liable for the well-being and safety of children around any of our facilities before a program begins or after a program ends.

Q: Code of Conduct


In order to provide students with a safe and supportive environment, Imagination Stage does not tolerate any form of physical or verbal abuse, vandalism, or the use of any and all illegal substances. Any behaviors found in violation of this policy will be addressed and the student may be asked to leave class/camp, and no refunds will be issued. No weapons of any kind may be brought into the building.

Q: Release Agreement


By registering your student you agree to the following: Although every effort is made to provide a safe environment, I recognize there is always a risk of an accident. By submitting a registration, I agree to be responsible for any medical bills incurred resulting from illness or injury during my student’s participation at Imagination Stage. Students are expected to carry their own accident and medical insurance. I release Imagination Stage from any and all liability and/or claims or damages arising out of personal injury of any kind. If necessary, I authorize Imagination Stage to administer first aid and/or authorize medical treatment for my student.

Ticket Exchanges and Refunds

Q: What offers the best flexibility for tickets to Imagination Stage's professional shows?


We understand that plans can change. The best way to have flexibility with your ticket purchase ist purchase a ticket package. This allows for unlimited free exchanges–a valuable benefit.

Q: What are your return policies on general public tickets to a professional theatre performance?

  • You will receive a refund back to the method of payment you used (minus the facility fee) if you contact us 48 hours or more prior to performance. 
  • If you contact us within 48 hours of your performance, we will credit the price of your tickets to your Imagination Stage account.
  • If you do not contact us prior to the performance, you will not receive a credit or refund. 
  • The facility fee (which is broken out as you purchase your tickets on our website) is non-refundable. 

Q: What are your policies for ticket exchanges for a professional theatre performance?

  • Exchanges must be requested at least 48 hours prior your performance
  • Imagination Stage does not charge an exchange fee on exchanges requested at least 48 hours prior to the performance
  • Ticket package purchasers may exchange as often as they’d like, within the run of the specific production. However, their tickets may not be exchanged for a different production and they may not be refunded if not used. 

Classes & Camps

Q: Who can I ask if I have a question about what class my child should take?


We invite you to reach out to the Education Department; we are eager to help parents and caregivers find the best match and course of study for each child.  Our contact information and areas of specialization can be found here: 


Early Childhood & Grades K-12 – Sami Topping

[email protected]


Dance (Grades K-12) – Ashlee McKinnon

[email protected]


Digital Media (Grades 5-12) – David Stern

[email protected]


Advanced Training and Performance (Grades 4-12)- Nikki Kaplan

[email protected]


Access & Inclusion (All ages/grades) – Shanna Sorrells

[email protected]



Weeklong Camps for ages 3.5 through Grade 2 – Bekah Elles

[email protected]


Weeklong Camps Grades 3-12 – Torin Lusebrink

[email protected]


Musical Production Camp JR Grades 2-4 – Pam Freedy

[email protected]


Musical Production Camp SR and Musical Showcase Grades 5-9

Sami Topping or Nikki Kaplan

[email protected], [email protected]


Teen Production Camp Grades 9-12- Torin Lusebrink

[email protected]


Camps at American University Grades 7-12 Ashlee McKinnon

[email protected]


Filmmaking Grades 5-12 Benji Kapit

[email protected]


Q: Who can take classes at Imagination Stage?


Imagination Stage offers programming for children ages 12 months through Grade 12/Age 18. Students should only take classes specified for their age and grade level. Students ages 18-21 and enrolled in high school or a high school equivalency program may enroll in one of Imagination Stage’s Access classes.

Q: What is a good beginning class for my child?


Students in 3rd grade and below can begin with nearly any of our classes. Creative Drama is a great way to explore the foundations of theatre. Our dance and musical theatre classes introduce students to age-appropriate warm ups and exercises that will build a great love of the art forms and set them up for later success. Students in 4th grade and above should look into FUNdamentals of Acting, FUNdamentals of Musical Theatre, or Musical Theatre: Voice and Dance. For more specific recommendations and questions, please contact the age group or discipline liaison listed above.

Q: Does my child need prior experience for Imagination Stage classes?


Most of our classes are open to all levels of experience. As our teaching artists get to know their classes and individual students, they work to ensure that all students are given appropriately challenging work to grow their skills.  A few of our classes do require prerequisites or an audition process before enrolling (details can be found in the class description), including Teen Improv Troupe, Narrative Filmmaking, Filmmaking Conservatory, Acting and Musical Theatre Conservatories, IStage Performance Ensemble, IStage Dance Theatre, and Speak Out on Stage.

Q: Where can I park?


Imagination Stage is adjacent to an above-ground public parking garage, the Auburn Del Ray Garage at 4910 Auburn Avenue. The parking garage is FREE on Saturdays and Sundays. It is metered parking during the week. Street parking is free on Sundays, and accepts coins & credit cards Monday-Saturday.

Q: Does Imagination Stage recommend a class progression for students?


For students in grades three and below, we recommend selecting a class based on your schedule and a title that excites your child!  At 4th grade, as we transition to a more formal technique focused curriculum, we highly recommend starting with an acting class (Fundamentals of Acting or Actors Toolbox) as a way to get a firm grounding in acting.  From there, the student can layer on other disciplines based on their interest – Acting for Camera, Improvisation, Dance, Musical Theatre, Filmmaking etc. 

Q: Where do I pick up my child?


Students third grade and younger must be dropped off and picked up at their classroom door. Parents of students fourth grade and older may choose to drop off and pick up in front of the building, in the lobby, or at the classroom door. Parents are always welcome to wait in the lobby while their child is in class.

Q: What should students wear to class?


Since students are very active in classes, we recommend wearing clothes that allow for free movement. T-shirts and yoga/sweat pants or other comfortable clothes are the best dress choices.  Students who wear dresses and skirts should also wear pants or shorts underneath. Sandals, flip-flops, Crocs, and open-toed or platform shoes are not safe or practical for Imagination Stage classes. Please wear sneakers or other athletic shoes. For dance classes; dance/yoga pants, jazz shoes, a leotard or simply a form fitted t shirt is recommended.  Layering is also good practice to keep your body comfortable throughout class. 

Q: What productions can my child participate in?


For productions during the academic year, students in grades 4-12 can look at various programs in our Training & Performance programs. These programs span a variety of lengths and many culminate in full scale, professionally directed and designed productions.

During the summer, students entering grades 2-4 may participate in our Musical Production Camp, Jr. at Imagination Stage, and students entering grades 5-9 may participate in our Musical Production Camp, Sr. at the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School. These summer programs do not require an audition to participate.

Students younger than grade 2 do not have any production opportunities. These students are learning the basic foundations of storytelling and beginning to explore their creative process.

Q: If my child has more than one class on the same day with a short break, should they be picked up or can they stay at Imagination Stage?


During our camps (Spring Break and Summer), students who are with us for a full day will have a supervised lunch break. If a student is taking multiple classes on an evening or weekend, students in grades 4 and older are welcome to stay in the lobby in between classes, but we will not have supervision for them.

Q: Is there a sibling discount?


We do not offer a sibling discount, however we occasionally have several discount options available. Please contact our Registrar for information.

Q: Are there make-up classes in case we have to miss a week?


Because each of our classes has its own ensemble and lesson plans, we do not offer make-up sessions, due to a student’s inability to attend.  Should Imagination Stage have to cancel a class for weather, power outage, etc, we will endeavor to schedule a make up class if possible.

Q: It’s my child’s birthday. Can I bring cupcakes to class?


We do not allow food sharing due to allergy concerns.

Q: Should we bring a snack to class or camp?


During the school year, classes that are 90 minutes in length or longer will take a break at the halfway point and students are welcome to eat a snack they’ve brought from home. We ask that all snacks are nut-free (although we cannot guarantee that nut products will not find their way into the building).

Q: Do you follow Montgomery County school closures in case of snow?


We do not necessarily follow Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) cancellations, so please check in with us to confirm that we’ve closed for weather.  We will update our website, social media pages, and our Reception Desk voicemail with changes and cancellations to the schedule. We will also endeavor to email families of students registered on those particular days.  You can also call (301) 718-9521 if you have any questions about weather-related cancellations. Make-up classes will be scheduled whenever possible.

Q: Can my child try the class to see if they like it?


Yes, we allow audits for the first two weeks for our Fall & Winter/Spring semester classes. There are no audits available for shorter 6-week classes or for summer camps. To audit a class, please do not register online; instead, email or call the Registrar at [email protected] | 301-280-1636.  After the first two classes, should your child enjoy the class, you will pay the balance of tuition at that time.  If not, no further action is necessary and we hope to help you find a better match another time.

Q: Can I register my child outside their grade level (can my younger child enroll in an older class or join a younger class?)


Students may only register for their current age or grade level. Our classes are designed for specific grade groupings, allowing for age-appropriate curriculum and programming. We do NOT allow younger students to join older classes.  In certain situations, we will allow students to join younger classes within one grade level.  If you have specific concerns about the needs of your student, please reach out to the Education Department.

Q: Are guests allowed in classes?


No, for the safety and comfort of our students, we do not allow visitors to our classes, including parents, siblings, visiting relatives etc. The only exceptions are our scheduled sharings, observation days, and performances.

Q: What are Imagination Stage’s refund/withdrawal policies?


Your full payment will be fully refunded when a camp or class is cancelled due to low enrollment. 

All other related refunds require a written request and will be subject to a 15% administrative fee plus the cost of any classes that have taken place before the request was submitted. The $5 processing fee is non-refundable. Refund requests must be made by emailing the registrar on the following timeline.

  •   10 and 14-week classes: refund requests must be made prior to the third class.
  •   6-week classes: refund requests must be made prior to the second class.
  •   There are no refunds or credits for production ensembles or conservatories.
  •   Spring Break Camps: refund requests must be made one week prior to the start of the camp.
  •   Summer Camps: refund requests must be made prior to May 1 for a full refund less the 15% processing fee. Requesting a refund by June 1 entitles the purchaser to a 50% refund less the 15% processing fee.


In the event of non-COVID emergency closures due to weather, power outages, government mandate, and other force majeure events, Imagination Stage will:

  •   Provide credits for future programming for programs that have not yet begun; refunds will not be provided.
  •   Do its best to provide alternative programming and make-ups for programs already in process, but cannot guarantee the same experience or number of classes.
  •   Conclude programming for programs already three quarters of the way complete.


We do not offer make-up classes due to a child’s inability to attend.

Q: If I have a credit or gift certificate, how can I use it to register?


If you have a Gift Certificate, enter the unique ten-digit Gift Certificate number at check out to register online. If you are utilizing a credit, please call our registrar at 301-280-1636. If you are uncertain of your credit or Gift Certificate details, please email [email protected].

Q: Does Imagination Stage offer financial assistance?


Yes! Partial tuition assistance is available and awarded on the basis of financial need. Please contact Pamela Freedy at [email protected] for more information.

Q: Does Imagination Stage offer payment plans?


Yes! Payment plans are available for orders of $150 or more. Please contact [email protected] to register with a payment plan.

Q: I’m having trouble registering online; what should I do?


You can always call the registrar with your questions (301-280-1636). A step before that is typically closing out of your browser, deleting all browser history and/or cookies, and then starting over in a new private tab. But we are happy to get you set up by phone!

Professional Theatre and Performances

Q: It’s my first performance, what should I wear? What should I expect?


You can wear what you would wear to go to the movies (shirt and shoes required). Fancy dress is NOT required. It does tend to run a bit cold in the theatre, so we do recommend dressing warmly in all seasons. Please arrive 30 minutess early and purchase/pick up your ticket from the box office.

Q: Is food allowed in the theatre?


Food and drink are not allowed in the theatre, except bottled water. However we have a lobby where you can have a meal or a snack before or after a performance (or during intermission).


Q: How do I know if my child will like a show?


Most children love theatre–they are natural performers and likewise enjoy watching live actors on stage. Our shows are sometimes based on books, and reading the book before a show is a fun way to prepare them. If you have questions about the show, just call our box office to discuss the material.

Q: What if my child gets scared and starts to cry?


The Lerner Family Theatre is equipped with a soundproof “quiet room” where you can take an upset child so that s/he may settle down. and still hear the show from speakers inside the room. In the quiet room, you can continue to watch the show while not disturbing others in the audience.

Q: Does Imagination Stage provide any ticket discounts?


Imagination Stage offers discounts to school employees, first responders, and members of the military. Discounts are: 

25% off tickets to shows in Imagination Stage’s Lerner Family Theatre (limit 6 tickets, not good on balcony seats). To get the discount, use the promo code “Honor25.” You will be asked to show a current ID at the ticket window when picking up your tickets.

Q: Do you have an e-newsletter or mailing list where I can find out what’s happening?


Yes, please sign up at the bottom of the page for our weekly e-newsletter.

Q: Where do you find your actors for performances?


Our actors are professionals working in the DC area, and many are members of Actors Equity, the stage actors union. We cast our shows through an extensive audition process in the late winter/early spring of each year.

Q: What is the difference between The Lerner Theatre and The Reeve Theatre?


For the most part, the Lerner Family Theatre houses performances produced by Imagination Stage designed for children 4 years and older. The Reeve Studio Theatre typically houses our professional theatre productions for ages 1-5 year (early childhood).


Q: Are Imagination Stage theatre spaces accessible?


Imagination Stage has two theatres. The Lerner Family Theatre features accessible seating on a limited basis (with or without the option of transfer) and with the option for companion seating. Our Reeve Studio Theatre offers floor-level seating with the option for companion seating.

Q: What is Access and Inclusion?


Imagination Stage makes all classes, camps, and other programming inclusive for  students of all abilities, ensuring a space to build theatre arts and social skills, be creative, and have fun. Our dedicated Access and Inclusion team works with families and teaching artists to ensure a successful experience for every student. To learn more, please contact the team directly at [email protected]

Q: My child has a disability; can they take a class at Imagination Stage?


Yes! Imagination Stage strives to make all classes and camps inclusive for all students. Families are encouraged to disclose their student’s needs or specific diagnosis on our registration form. This enables our inclusion team to conduct an intake for new students. Using the information learned from this intake, our inclusion team can ensure that any accommodations or modifications pulled from our vast toolbox of strategies are in place from the first class onward. Inclusion staff will continue to monitor the classroom, speaking with teaching artists and families to ensure each student is finding their success in our classes!

Q: My child doesn’t have a disability, what does inclusion mean to them?


The inclusive environment of Imagination Stage classes is a boon to all students. Including all students in the same classroom encourages each young artist to increase their social and artistic empathy by broadening their worldview through alternative perspectives. Teaching artists and support staff, trained in inclusive teaching practices, provide the appropriate social context for students and ensure that all students’ participation and challenge in the classroom are balanced. If you have additional questions about the inclusive practices of Imagination Stage, please contact the Inclusion Team directly at [email protected]

Q: I see “Access Classes” listed on your website. How are “Access Classes” different from inclusive classes?


Access classes are intended specifically for neurodiverse students who prefer a peer-group experience. Access classes cover the same subject matter and goals as all of our other classes, but the learning environment, pacing, and structure of the class are designed to specifically meet the needs of neurodiverse learners. Teaching artists for Access Classes receive more extensive training in teaching to neurodiverse populations and continuously adapt their lesson plans to the needs of their specific ensemble of students. Access classes allow students up to twenty-one years of age to register, provided they are enrolled in a high school equivalency program. For more information regarding Access Classes please contact [email protected]


Q: Is your facility available for rental?


Yes it is, but with limited availability. 

For Groups and Parties

Facility Details
Located in the DC Metro Area in Bethesda, Maryland, Imagination Stage is an inspired arts venue with abstract architecture, innovative programming, and exciting events. As a performing arts and education facility for the young, Imagination Stage is perfectly suited to meet the needs of a diverse community. Our theatres, studios, and gallery are sure to meet your rental space needs.

Rental Spaces
The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre

Main Stage Theatre
Fixed seating for 364
Three-quarters thrust stage (set design dependent on current show)

Best Suited For: 
Award Shows
Staged Readings
Chamber Music Concerts

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Studio Theatre

Black Box Theatre
Fixed seating for 142
Proscenium style performance stage

Best Suited For:
Business Meetings
Chamber Music Concerts
Dance Recitals
Staged Readings
Film Screenings


Large Main Lobby and Gallery
Fits 250 people comfortably
Flexible, multi-purpose and centrally located event area
Café seating available for smaller events

Best Suited For
Silent Auctions


Education Studios and Labs

Studio Classrooms
Fits up to 50 people
Up to six studio rooms available of various sizes and shapes

Best Suited For:
Business Meetings
Small Receptions
Board Meetings
Break-Out Rooms

[email protected]

Rental Policies  

A 20% discount is available for non-profit organizations. For Lerner/Reeve rentals, stage space is dependent on fixed set/lighting design for running show. Events accrue up to a $75/hour surcharge if scheduled when Imagination Stage is closed to the public.

Payment Policy
Fifty percent (50%) of the rental cost is due as a deposit when the contract is signed. The balance will be paid 14 days before the event. If an event is booked less than 14 days in advance, the full rental cost is due when the contract is signed. Any additional charges or refunds will be sent to the client after the event.

Cancellation Policy
60 days before the event, the deposit is refunded fully
30 days before the event, 50% of the deposit is refunded
Less than 30 days before the event, there are no refunds

Renter must provide a certificate of insurance showing comprehensive liability insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000 per occurrence listing Imagination Stage as additionally insured. Absent this certification, renter must acknowledge and agree to assume complete responsibility for insurance claims relating to its staff/performers/audience caused by its staff/performers/audience. Renter must also accept full responsibility for any damage caused to the facility’s building or property.

Every rental includes an on-site manager and, if renting one of the theatre spaces, one technician. The following extras are available, some requiring a nominal fee:

Tables: Each classroom comes with two rectangular tables (6’x2’). Four additional tables available upon request.

Chairs: Each classroom comes with 20 chairs. Additional chairs available upon request.

Podium: Acrylic full length podium available upon request.

AV equipment: Classroom projector available upon request for $50. Theatre projectors available upon request for $100 (theatre space/set permitting). Theatre lighting/sound information available upon request.

Ticket Services: Event tickets advertised and sold through and printed at Imagination Stage for $600/event.

Additional Technicians: Available for $25/hour at a minimum of three hours.

Note: Specific requests for tables, chairs, podium, AV equipment, and additional technicians must be made when booking the event.

Plan Your Visit


Q: Where is your building located?


4908 Auburn Ave, Bethesda, MD (just south of the NIH Campus).

Q: Can I get there by public transit?


We are an easy walk or Bethesda Trolley ride from the Bethesda Metro (Red Line). Imagination Stage is easy to reach, tucked between Old Georgetown Rd. and Wisconsin Ave.

Q: Do you have other locations?


Currently there is only one Imagination Stage, however, we do run our summer camps at additional locations (Charles E Smith Jewish Day School and the Whittle School). We also offer residencies that can be tailored to your school.

Parking Info

Q: Where can I park?


We are adjacent to a public parking structure. There is free parking there on Sundays and metered street parking Monday through Saturday. On Sunday street parking is free, as well.

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