On Display July 1 – August 28, 2022
PLAYHOUSE: THE WONDER OF SHAKESPEARE IN THE GREAT HALL
The National Building Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with the University of South Carolina, invite you to step back in time with the Bard for the latest iteration of the Museum’s Summer Block Party with The Playhouse.
Explore the marvels of a Shakespearean stage, a unique built environment constructed in the Great Hall. Engage in activities and behind-the-scenes tours by day, and take in the magic of live theater by night with a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream performances and production information can be found here: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Folger Shakespeare Library.
See “The Playhouse” list of events here
All daily activities are free with Museum admission
Explore the Midsummer Forest
A Midsummer Forest is an immersive experience based on Joanna Robson’s popup book, A Knavish Lad, that visually narrates every scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Brought to life by Southside Design & Building, visitors step directly into the magic of the beloved play.
Discover 9 mischievous characters and the delightful plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Clues from this scavenger hunt will take you through the Midsummer Forest and Museum exhibitions.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Crafts
Every great actor needs a prop! Create your own fairy wand, lion mask, or paper moon and you’ll be ready to join in the theatrical fun and match the characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
Build Your Own Globe Theater
Pension Commissioner’s Suite
Theater design plays a role in how audiences experience the show. In Shakespeare’s time, there were not as many theaters as there are today, so Shakespeare and his friends built one in 1599. Build your own paper model of London’s Globe Theatre and see how plays in this venue differ from today.
Shakespeare Mad Libs, Costumes, and Crowns
Take inspiration from Folger Theatre costumes to create your own theatrical look using a variety of accessories including crowns, capes, and wings. Shakespeare Mad Libs gives you the opportunity to re-write some of his most famous speeches and put yourself in the scene!
Elizabethan City by Design
Pension Commissioner’s Suite
Visitors learn about city planning by co-creating an Elizabethan town constructed of buildings they create out of recycled materials.
The Insider’s Tour: The Building, The Forest, The Playhouse
Begins July 15
1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, Midsummer Forest
Led by Folger docents and staff, this 45-min interactive experience will give visitors a chance at a more intimate and inside view of the National Building Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Playhouse. Jump on stage and have fun with some of Shakespeare’s juiciest lines. Explore a backstage experience that includes fun activities for ALL ages.
Storytime and Activity
11:30 am, Room 201
Enjoy an interactive story and do a related activity!
Saturday and Sunday only. 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, East Court
With your stage makeup on, you’ll join the ranks of the fairies or your favorite Midsummer character, ready to explore The Playhouse.
Saturday and Sunday only. 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, West Court
‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ becomes reality, at last, at Building Museum – The Washington Post
Young life: The play’s the thing at National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party – Fredericksburg Freelance Star
How set designers transformed The National Building Museum into a magical playhouse – WAMU 88.5
A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the National Building Museum’s new Playhouse – ABC News 7