Imagination Stage brings free kids show to Olney Outdoors

Enchanting dance theater piece 'Paper Dreams' to play weekend mornings.

Imagination Stage returns to producing in-person theater this summer with the dance-based show Paper Dreams. This play was originally produced in 2017 as part of Imagination Stage’s My First Imagination Stage programming for very young audiences. It is being remounted as part of “Olney Outdoors” at Olney Theatre Center’s (OTC) Root Family Stage. Paper Dreams runs Saturday and Sunday mornings July 31 to August 15, 2021. Patrons may reserve free tickets in advance online or by calling 301-924-3400.

Scenes from ‘Paper Dreams.’ Photos courtesy of Imagination Stage.

The playful dance theater piece imagines two friends who live inside a wastepaper basket. Together they discover what ideas might unfold from a crumpled piece of paper. Maybe mistakes are okay — perhaps they can inspire our greatest ideas. In its earlier run at Imagination Stage, DC Metro Theatwe Arts called Paper Dreams “an enchanting production that…educates and entertains and sparks inquiry into the creative process for young and old alike.” Janet Stanford, Imagination Stage’s producing artistic director, says, “With generous support from the PNC Foundation, Imagination Stage is absolutely delighted to partner with OTC to provide a free, outdoor, in-person arts experience for families this summer.”

“We are delighted to support Paper Dreams, a performance that is all about the power of imagination,” says D. Jermaine Johnson, PNC regional president for Greater Washington. “It is great to see live performances like this — designed for our youngest learners — safely return to the region. These are much-needed sensory learning opportunities that spark creativity, all while providing children and their caregivers the opportunity to enjoy learning together.”

Paper Dreams was originally developed in collaboration with Mons Dansa Dance Company of Barcelona, Spain, and is remounted by Imagination Stage Associate Artistic Director Kathryn Chase Bryer. “This show is filled with such joy and humor,” says Bryer. “I am thrilled to bring back our first dance offering for the very young and am constantly amazed by how much Paper Dreams can communicate through simple movement and humorous gestures. I know our audience will be fascinated with the creative props, set, costumes, and clownlike characters!”

Anna Lynch reprises her role in Paper Dreams and Graciela Rey makes her official Imagination Stage debut. Lynch originated this role in Imagination Stage’s earlier production of Paper Dreams and has previously been an understudy for the title role in Imagination Stage’s Charlotte’s Web, among others. Rey has previously been a teaching artist, director, and choreographer for Imagination Stage classes and camps, and was the assistant choreographer for Imagination Stage’s Anatole: Mouse Magnifique!

Paper Dreams, best for ages 1 to 7, runs July 31, through August 15, 2021, in Olney Theatre Center’s Root Family Stage, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, MD.  Performances are at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are free, though pre-registration is highly recommended. Tickets may be reserved online or by calling 301-924-3400.


Founded 41 years ago, Imagination Stage is a holistic theater arts organization for all children and youth. Through award-winning professional theater, arts education, and community-based theater programming, the organization helps children and young people develop a deep appreciation of theater arts, while building a sense of self and social understanding. Based in Bethesda, MD, it’s programming serves children and families throughout the DMV.

Paper Dreams is part of My First Imagination Stage, programming, which focuses on ages 1+ and recognizes “play” as the “work” of early childhood development. Through live performances, workshops, and classes, My First Imagination Stage creates fun and developmentally exciting experiences for the very young and their caregivers. A national leader in Theatre for the Very Young, Imagination Stage began focusing on the youngest of theatergoers in 2010 with the world premiere of Wake Up, Brother Bear! My First Imagination Stage has welcomed guest artists from Italy, Great Britain, and Germany, and has developed many acclaimed world premiere productions including Mouse on the Move, Inside Out, and Blue.


The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multiyear initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

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