On Display July 1 – September 5, 2022


The National Building Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with the University of South Carolina, are partnering this summer to present The Playhouse. Starting on Friday, July 1–and running through September 6, 2022–visitors can step back in time with the Bard for the latest iteration of the Museum’s Summer Block Party. An exciting Festival stage, developed by Jim Hunter, Department Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of South Carolina, will welcome visitors as they arrive. The Playhouse provides a venue for unique experiences related to theater—from behind-the-scenes tours to sword-fighting demonstrations and other hands-on activities. At night The Playhouse transforms into a stage for Shakespeare’s most famous, fairy-filled comedy for Folger Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Visitors will enter this summer’s experience via an immersive installation based on Joanna Robson’s A Knavish Lad, from the Folger collection that visually narrates every scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Completed in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this book will be brought to life by Southside Design & Building, to transport adults and children into the world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream allowing them to step into the magic of Shakespeare’s beloved play.

This year’s Summer Block Party will offer a variety of drop-in and scheduled programs daily, Thursday–Monday, July 1–September 6, 2022. Guests of all ages will find something fun to do, including building an Elizabethan City by Design, a Shakespearean-version of a favorite Museum activity where visitors discover details about city planning and create a town of buildings constructed from recycled materials. A scavenger hunt will take participants throughout the Museum looking for Midsummer characters, and guided tours will present the art and mystery of stagecraft while showing the intricacies of The Playhouse’s construction.

The Playhouse is the latest of the Museum’s Summer Block Party installations including Lawn by LAB at Rockwell Group, FUN HOUSE by Snarkitecture, Hive by Studio Gang, ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations, the BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and Snarkitecture’s The BEACH.