Providing advocacy & resources for the field of theatre for young audiences.

Janet Standford


Janet Stanford is theatre artist dedicated to bringing excellent and innovative professional theatre to children and she is proud to be a national leader in the realms of international work, commissioning new plays and musicals, promoting Theatre for the Very Young (ages 1-4) in the USA, as well as creating programming to reach the underserved.  She began directing and writing for young people at The Virginia Stage Company (LORT B) in Norfolk, VA where she ran the Children’s Theatre Series for three years.  In 1993, she joined Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD, and has helped the company transition from a small, $600K community based arts organization to a nationally significant regional TYA theatre and arts education program with an annual budget of $6M.

As a playwright, Janet has made works for all age groups.  Many of her pieces appeared at Source Theatre’s summer festivals.  In the 80’s Janet co-founded The Human Bridge Theatre Company with actress/activist Rebecca Rice.  Together they wrote THIS IS THE HOUSE, a play about domestic violence, which played at The Horizon Theatre Company in DC; on tour with At The Foot of the Mountain Theatre in Minneapolis; and in the1985 American Festival of Arts in London, UK.  Janet wrote and directed for the Kennedy Center’s Programs for Children & Youth’s and adapted severalf traditional fairy tales for Imagination Stage.  SNOW WHITE OUT WEST and SLEEPING BEAUTY, TIME-TRAVELER, a musical with Deborah Wicks la Puma and Andrea Dodds are published by Samuel French Ltd. and Dramatic Publishing.  ALADDIN’S LUCK is held by Plays for Young Audiences and has been produced by Honolulu Theatre for Youth and Lewis Family Playhouse in California.  Most recently, Janet has written the book and lyrics for two large-scale collaborations between Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet –THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE which received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding TYA Theatre Production.

As a producer, Janet has commissioned US and international playwrights including Kevin Kling, Karen Zacarias, Joan Cushing and Charles Way whose plays and musicals have gone on to be produced across the USA, in Europe, and as far away as China.  Janet has traveled widely on grants seeking inspiration and guest artists for the theatre.  Her visits to festivals in Denmark, Spain, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Croatia and the UK have 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 Theatre for the Very Young pieces:  Lyngo Theatre Company (2011) (Italy); Tell Tale Hearts (2013)(England); and Mons Dansa (2016) (Spain).  In August 2016, Janet was invited to speak at the theatre salon of the China National Theatre for Children in Beijing.