The National Building Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library and Folger Theatre present engaging programs throughout the run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the National Building Museum

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The National Building Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library and Folger Theatre present engaging programs throughout the run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the National Building Museum

Unique daytime and evening performances and activities to take place inside The Playhouse at the National Building Museum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Building Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library are creating a summer of engaging performances, hands-on activities, and exciting events as part of the summer-long run of Folger Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A full slate of performances, talks, music, tours, and interactive workshops are being presented during the day and prior to performances of Midsummer inside the majestic Great Hall of the National Building Museum, home to The Playhouse this summer.

The Playhouse serves as home for the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party, providing visitors with lively theater-related experiences throughout the day. Behind-the-scenes tours, face-painting, scavenger hunts, storytime, interactive workshops, and more captivating activities will be offered daily beginning Friday, July 1 and run through August 28, 2022. A full schedule of the Museum’s daytime programming can be found at

Tony Cisek (production designer for A Midsummer Night’s Dream) directed the creation of The Playhouse, which was developed in collaboration with Jim Hunter, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of South Carolina and South Side Design and Building, responsible for the design and fabrication of the Midsummer Forest, an immersive installation in the Museum’s West Court.

In the evenings, The Playhouse transforms into the enchanting setting for Folger Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Folger and the National Building Museum will host a variety of pre-show events, including performances by the celebrated Frontera Project, poetry workshops, free musical performances on the Museum’s lawn, free lunchtime readings, workshops on Hip Hop and Shakespeare, artist talks, behind-the-scenes tours, a staged reading of Call Me Olivia, and more.

Folger Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on stage at the National Building Museum, July 12 – August 28, 2022.

The Playhouse Programming and Special Events:

Beginning July 1, visitors to the Museum will enter this summer’s experience through A Midsummer Forest, an immersive installation based on Joanna Robson’s A Knavish Lad, a double-concertina artists’ book from the Folger collection that visually narrates every scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The book was completed in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Brought to life by Southside Design & Building, adults and children alike will be transported into the world of Midsummer, allowing them to step into the magic of Shakespeare’s beloved play.

Everyday guests will discover the characters of A Midsummer Night’s Dream through an interactive Scavenger Hunt, and crafts inspired by the play, while Shakespeare Mad Libs, Costumes & Crowns will provide inspiration for guests as they explore backstage. Guests will design Elizabethan London in a Shakespearean-inspired City by Design urban planning activity and construct their own Globe Theater to take home. Free with Museum admission.

Each morning at 11:30am, a Storytime and Activity will be offered and on weekends, Face Painting (1pm – 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays) will get guests into the Midsummer spirit. Free with Museum admission.

Paper artist Josefina Hernandez offers art workshops exploring patterns found within the National Building Museum and the illustrative history of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on July 9 and 10. Sessions run at 11:30am and 1:30pm both days. Free with Museum admission.

Beginning Monday, July 11, behind-the-scenes Backstage Tours are led daily at 1pm and 2pm (Thursdays – Mondays). This 45-minute guided experience takes you through the magical Midsummer Forest installation of The Playhouse and pulls back the curtain on the playmaking process right on the set of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where visitors can take center stage through interactive theater exercises. Free with Museum admission.

A Pre-Performance Conversation with Folger Director Michael Witmore about Shakespeare’s madcap comedy takes place on Wednesday, July 13 at 6:30pm. $20, with discounts available for Folger Shakespeare Library and National Building Museum members.

The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series at the Folger presents the Brown Bag Poetry “But A Dream” series at 12pm on July 14, July 21, and July 28. These readings will explore predominant themes of Midsummer—love, dreams, magic, and fantasy. Free with Museum admission.

  • On Thursday, July 14, a reading on “love” will be presented by DC poet and historian Kim Roberts
  • Sally Kindred Rosen will present a reading on fairies and mythology on Thursday, July 21
  • Annie Finch concludes the series on Thursday, July 28 with a reading on the moon

Folger Theatre’s Stage Director Talk happens on Thursday, July 14 at 6:30pm. Learn about the creative process, staging, and vision of Midsummer with director Victor Malana Maog in conversation with Folger Theatre Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels. $20, with discounts available for Folger and National Building Museum members.

Creating The Playhouse: Setting the Stage for A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Monday, July 18 at 6:30pm, with National Building Museum Executive Director Aileen Fuchs and Folger Theatre Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels leading a lively conversation about the creation and activation of the theater space with stage designer Jim Hunter and offering insights into the unique challenges and exciting opportunities afforded by the project. $10 for National Building Museum members/$15 for non-members/free student admission.

Join knowledgeable Folger docents for a lively plunge into Shakespeare and his magical comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Education Workshops on Thursday July 21 and Friday, July 22 at 2pm. Whether you’re a Shakespeare scholar or just being introduced to the Bard, this high-action—and loud!—workshop is for all visitors. Free with Museum admission.

Two Poetry Workshops led by Folger Poetry Coordinator Teri Cross Davis are on Friday, July 22 and Friday, August 5 at 6:00pm. Using the themes of dreams and dreaming, participants will study and discuss provided poems in these rich, in-person workshop sessions, and then be guided in the creation of their own work. $45, with discounts available.

Before taking in the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sit outside and enjoy the sounds of Music on the Lawn (on 5th Street, between F & G). Live performances take place on Thursdays July 28, August 4, August 11, and August 18 from 6:30pm-7:30pm.

Acclaimed artists of The Frontera Project will perform on the festival stage July 29, 30, and 31 at 12pm. The Frontera Project brings Mexican and U.S. artists together in a unique, bi-lingual, interactive performance that fuses elements of theater, movement, and music. The Frontera Project, with its specific focus on Tijuana/San Diego, celebrates the richness, complexity, and humanity of Fronterizo life. Free with Museum admission.

The Frontera Project will also be offering lively and interactive workshops in the classroom at the National Building Museum on Thursday, July 28 at 2pm and July 29, 30, and 31 at 2:30pm.

On Monday, August 1, The Frontera Project will perform on the festival stage during a special Late Night at NBM at 8pm. Doors will open at 6:30pm and admission includes Museum exhibitions, including The Wall/El Muro: What is a Border Wall?, light bites, and drinks. $25; $10 for NBM and Folger members; $5 students.

Audience members are encouraged to stay and take part in our Post-Show Discussion with the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Thursday, August 4. This interactive discussion, led by Folger’s Resident Dramaturg Michele Osherow, will follow the 8:00pm performance.Actor, writer, and musician Malik Work leads Hip Hop Shakespeare, an interactive workshop designed to unveil the tools of theater and storytelling using the celebrated work of the Bard and the innovative and relevant work of contemporary Hip Hop. These free workshops will be held on the Midsummer stage on Friday, August 5 at 2pm and August 6 and 7 at 12:30pm.

Spotlight on Design: Renovation of the Folger will take place on Monday, August 8 at 6:30pm. Folger Shakespeare Library Director Michael Witmore and architect Stephen Kieran will discuss the Folger Shakespeare Library’s multi-year renovation project currently underway. They will examine what it takes to bring a historically listed 1930s building into the
21st-century. $10 for National Building Museum members/$15 for non-members/free student admission.

Family members of all ages can join comic book maker Evan Keeling and Folger staff in Evan’s Story-Making Workshops on Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12. Participants will capture a favorite story and learn how to make a mini 8-page book out of a single sheet of paper, creating their very own comic book. Free with museum admission.

 Folger Theatre’s popular Brews & Banter Pre-Show Talk will be held on Friday, August 12 at 6:30pm. Join in on this off-the-cuff pre-show conversation with Midsummer cast members Bryan Barbarin (Demetrius) and Renea S. Brown (Helena). Ticket includes complimentary craft beer, available for tasting at 6pm. $15, with discounts for Folger Shakespeare Library and National Building Museum members.

An Open-Captioned performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will take place on Sunday, August 14 at 7pm.

Please check the Folger website at, and the National Building Museum website at, as events continue to be added to the performance calendars.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is produced in association with the National Building Museum and the University of South Carolina.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Ticketing Information & Performance Dates:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays at the National Building Museum from July 12 through August 28, 2022. Please check the Folger website for a full performance schedule.

Tickets are $20 – $85, and may be purchased from the Folger Theatre Box Office at or (202) 544-7077. Tickets are also on sale at the National Building Museum Visitor’s Center Thursday through Monday from 11am – 4pm.

The Playhouse at the National Building Museum can be explored July 1 – August 28, 2022, Thursday – Monday, 11am – 4pm. The Museum is located at 401 F St., NW in Washington, DC.

Visiting The Playhouse during the day and participating in all of the hands-on activities is included with admission to the National Building Museum. Tickets to performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and other evening programs are a separate purchase.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols:

The safety and health of our community are of utmost importance to us. There will be no vaccination checks for all daytime programming inside The Playhouse. However, well-fitted masks are recommended for all visitors.

Evening programs, including pre-performance talks, and performances of Folger Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will require the following of audience members to ensure a safe venue for patrons and our artists:

  • Provide proof of vaccination with either an original vaccination card or a clear photo.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask that covers both the nose and mouth at all times.

All Folger performers and staff are vaccinated. Folger staff and volunteers on site will be masked at all times.

About Folger Theatre and Folger Shakespeare Library:       

 Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. It provides unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of path-breaking research. The Folger offers the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages.

The award-winning Folger Theatre in our nation’s capital bridges the arts and humanities through transformational performances and programming that speak inclusively to the human experience. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels, Folger Theatre continues its legacy through exciting interpretations and adaptations of Shakespeare and expands the classical canon through cultivating today’s artists and commissioning new work that is in dialogue with the concerns and issues of our time. Folger Theatre thrives both on its historical stage and in the community, engaging audiences wherever they happen to be.

During a multiyear building renovation, join the Folger online and on the road. Learn more at

About the National Building Museum:

The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the history and impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, and design is important for all ages. Through exhibitions and educational programs, we show how the built world has power to shape our lives, communities, and futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


Folger Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is supported by the Share Fund, the William Abell Foundation, with additional funding from the University of South Carolina Excellence Initiative, a grant program that promotes transformative teaching, research, creative activity, and community engagement.

Season Sponsors
Maygene and Steve Daniels, Helen and David Kenney and Family, and the late Neal T. Turtell

Contributing Sponsor
Gail Kern Paster

The Playhouse at the National Building Museum is generously supported by presenting sponsor AARP and lead sponsor CoStar.