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Celebrating Women’s History Month at Imagination Stage

Photos of four women: (L-R) Janet Stanford, Bonnie Fogel, Lisa Agogliati, Carol Trawick
Left to Right: Janet Stanford, Bonnie Fogel, Lisa Agogliati, and Carol Trawick

In honor of Women’s History Month and in anticipation of our 2024 Annual Gala: Celebrating the Women who Made Imagination Stage, we are spotlighting four incredible women who are an integral part of this organization’s history and the reason it still thrives today. 

Read the descriptions below to learn about each of these women and their contributions to Imagination Stage. Then, join us along with Gala Chairs Ashley Bronczek and Michelle Johnstone the evening of Friday, May 10 to celebrate these wonderful women and so many more!

Bonnie Fogel, Founder & Former Executive Director

Bonnie Fogel founded Imagination Stage–known then as the Bethesda Academy for the Performing Arts (BAPA)--in 1979 and served as our Executive Director for 43 years. BAPA began as a grassroots organization: as Bonnie puts it, “a couple of moms that wanted to do something for the children in the neighborhood.” She and her founding partner had a deep passion for the arts and for providing young people with arts education, but neither had any “governance skills, political skills, [or] fundraising skills,” and learned much of what it took to run Imagination Stage through the process of doing so. 

Learn more about Bonnie and the founding of Imagination Stage in this video.

Carol Trawick, Local Philanthropist

Carol Trawick, head of the Trawick Foundation for the past 18 years and self-described “Community Business Activist,” has been a longtime supporter of Imagination Stage. She first met Bonnie almost 40 years ago and was introduced to BAPA when it was just a small organization renting space in a local elementary school. Carol immediately connected with BAPA’s mission of bringing “the arts to every child” and began to serve as a mentor, helping Bonnie build relationships in the community and strategize the growth of Imagination Stage. She has also been integral to our organization’s financial survival, donating $2.5 million to retire  the mortgage on Imagination Stage’s building at 4908 Auburn Ave.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when Carol’s video is released.

Lisa Agogliati, Founder of Deaf Access Program

Lisa Agogliati began her journey with Imagination Stage in 1989 when she worked for BAPA as a teaching artist during college. Just a year later, Lisa founded BAPA’s Deaf Access Company–which she ran for 20 years–after a Deaf student inquired about participating in a production. Lisa had never worked with deaf students before but approached the challenge head-on, building a teen theatrical company that involved Deaf students, hearing students, and students with Deaf parents. As a teacher and director, Lisa aimed to make theatre fully accessible so that families with a mix of hearing and Deaf members could enjoy a performance together and everyone could “feel like they belong.”

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when Lisa’s video is released.

Janet Stanford, Founding Artistic Director & 2024 Imagine Award Recipient

Janet was first involved with Imagination Stage (then known as BAPA) as a teaching artist tasked with supervising summer camps in 1984. Prior to joining the organization full time in 1993, Janet worked as a freelance artist, an adjunct professor, and co-ran a social justice-focused theatre company. 

As part of the staff, Janet was most excited to start producing professional theatre for young audiences at BAPA’s newly acquired space at White Flint Mall. She had noticed a lack of good, diverse theatrical material written for children, and–as Artistic Director–committed our organization to commissioning new plays that would properly reflect the heritage and culture of the young people in Imagination Stage’s community. Janet has now produced over 160 shows, directed 55, written 9, and commissioned 50 new works throughout her time as artistic  leader of Imagination Stage. She is retiring this spring, and we are grateful for all she has accomplished in her time here.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when Janet’s video is released.

Our 2024 Annual Gala: Celebrating the Women who Made Imagination Stage will take place on Friday, May 10 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. Single tickets are now on sale in addition to sponsorship opportunities; more information on these can be found on our support page.

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