Having attended a past My First Imagination Stage performance, I knew my family was in for a real treat when we went to see Inside Out, a live performance geared for 1 through 5-year-olds. Inside Out did not disappoint. In fact, it kept my 4-year-old son laughing just about the entire 45 minutes. And, his brother, who recently turned 6, was equally amused.
This was an interactive experience for the young audience. Children received a small laundry bag of props to use during the play. The play ended with a “free play” session allowing the audience to explore some items used in the show. Both my boys enjoyed any opportunity to go up on the stage. If needed, parents were encouraged to retrieve their children.
The lights are on during most of the show but do dim at certain brief points such as when the kids pretend they are underwater and the children use their gloves from their bags to become dancing fish – another highlight!
Seating is first come, first serve. The stage is a bedroom set on large flat interlocking foam squares. Children sit on the orange squares along the edge of the stage. Parents sit directly behind the children on the floor. If you are lucky enough you will find one of the very few chairs or theater seats behind your child, but count on sitting on the floor for this 45 minute performance with no intermission. I saw plenty of grandparents attending as well and Imagination Stage made sure they had a chair or bench to sit on, if needed.
Theater patrons wait in a long narrow corridor until the doors open about 5 minutes before show time. The coat rack fills up fast. However, you can easily stash your coat on an empty theater seat. There is space outside the theater to leave a stroller. Across from the coat rack is a table with crayons and paper socks for the children to decorate that will be hung up on a string outside the theater doors.
Both my 4 and 6-year-old boys stayed engaged the entire time and I was also entertained. We attended the 10:00 am show and found children across the entire suggested age range of 1 to 5-years-old. We had a wonderful time and hope to return to Imagination Stage for another of their My First Imagination Stage productions.
Coming soon is Mouse on the Move showing June 28 to August 10, 2014. A video preview is available on the Imagination Stage website.
- Performances run through April 6, 2014 at 10:30 and 11:45am. Tuesdays-Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 and 11:15am. Each performance is approximately 45 minutes. ASL-interpreted show is on March 15 at 11:15 am.
- Tickets, available online, via phone at 301-280-1660 or at the box office, are $10 weekdays and for the 11:15 am performance on weekends. The 10:00 am weekend performance is $12/ticket. Lap tickets are are available for $5 and should be purchased for children 12 months and younger who do not take a seat. Seating for this event is first come, first served.
- Download the Inside Out Activity Guide.
- Imagination Stage is next to a public parking garage with free parking on weekend and metered parking during the week (meters on higher floors are cheaper than those on the lower floors and allow for longer stays). The red line Bethesda Metro station is a half-mile walk from the theater.
- Food and pictures are not allowed in the theater.
- The self-service vending cafe is open when the building is open. A gift shop by the main doors is open Monday to Saturday 11:00am to 5:30 pm and Sunday 12:30pm to 5:30pm. Hours are subject to change based on show times & class sessions.
- Imagination Stage offers a variety of classes and single session workshops for children aged 1 to 5, throughout the week and weekend. In addition, they offer performances, camps, and classes including dance, theater and film making geared for children 5 and older. More information can be found on their website.
Pictured: Megan Graves and Bradley Foster Smith. Photo credit: Imagination Stage.