Janet Stanford is an American Theatre Artist who spent her formative years in the UK.  She is best known as the Founding Artistic Director of Imagination Stage and as a national leader in Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) who commissioned 60 new works for the field, introduced Theatre for the Very Young (TVY) to the USA, and reached non-traditional audiences with social justice themes.

On settling in Washington, DC, Janet began her long association with Imagination Stage (ISI) while at the same time co-running The Human Bridge Theatre Company with Artist/Activist Rebecca Rice.  At ISI, she negotiated Equity and USA contracts, and successfully led the charge to have the Helen Hayes Awards include TYA productions.  She helped ISI transition from a community arts organization with a budget of $850K in 2000 to a nationally significant regional theatre and arts education center committed to youth development with an annual budget of $6M by 2012.

Janet Stanford
Janet Stanford

Janet has directed over 60 plays and musicals for Imagination Stage, other TYA companies, colleges and small professional theatres.  Four of her productions have been nominated for Helen Hayes Outstanding Theatre for Young Audiences Awards and she has twice been nominated for the Outstanding Director Award, Resident Musical.  Janet is also an experienced arts educator and has been adjunct faculty at Catholic, American and Georgetown Universities as well as Goucher and Mount Vernon Colleges.  In addition, Janet won many travel grants in order to find inspiration and talent. Her visits to Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Croatia, China and the UK led to a co-commission with Seattle Children’s Theatre for Toronto- based playwright David S. Craig on The Neverending Story (2008);

Guest Director and Illusionist Paul McEneaney from Belfast for the Pirate Rep (2010); Composer Marc Schubring from Berlin for Double Trouble (2015) and three international collaborations on new TVY pieces:  Lyngo Theatre Company (2011) (Italy); Tell Tale Hearts (2013)(England); and Mons Dansa (2016) (Spain).

Janet’s plays for children, ages 1-12, are published by Samuel French Ltd., Dramatic Publishing, and Plays for New Audiences.  She is the 2017 winner of the Harold Oaks Award for Excellence and Innovation in TYA, and the recipient of the 2024 Imagine Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Janet Stanford

Contact Janet