Folger Theatre to present ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the National Building Museum

Shakespeare’s magical comedy will be staged in an enchanting playhouse to be built inside the museum's Great Hall.

Folger Theatre returns to live performances this summer with one of William Shakespeare’s most magical and beloved comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This romantic and mischievous romp will be produced as part of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party on stage at The Playhouse that is being built from the ground up inside the Museum’s majestic Great Hall.

Image by Tony Cisek.

In the evenings, The Playhouse transforms into the enchanting setting for Folger Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Victor Malana Maog. This once-in-a-lifetime production full of yearning lovers, mischievous fairies, and bumbling amateur actors colliding beneath the glowing moon is 90 minutes of sheer delight and romance.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on stage July 12 – August 28, 2022.

“There’s been so much change in our lives, in our world and truly, in our organization,” says Folger Director of Programming and Folger Theatre Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels. “Midsummer represents an opportunity for us all to have some respite through adventure, some magic and romance and joy. Our dynamic cast, led by our fearless leader, director Victor Malana Maog, and his creative team are literally going to carry us to new heights. Most importantly, we’ll have this unique opportunity to delight audiences, young, old, and everything in between in this venue we are creating from the ground up. It’s going to be an incredible summer for the return of Folger Theatre!”

The extraordinary cast features Jacob Ming-Trent (Public Theater’s The Merry Wives of Windsor; HBO’s documentary Reopening Night) as Bottom, Rotimi Agbabiaka (Macbeth at California Shakespeare Theatre) as Oberon, Danaya Esperanza (Shakespeare Theatre Company’s The Merchant of Venice) as Puck; and Nubia M. Monks (Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Titania. The production also features Bryan Barbarin (Demetrius), Renea Brown (Helena), John Floyd (Flute), Brit Herring (Snout), Lilli Hokama (Hermia), Jake Loewenthal (Lysander), Shinji Elspeth Oh (Philostrate), John-Alexander Sakelos (Peter Quince), Sabrina Sawyer (Snug), and Kathryn Zoerb (Starveling).

“What a great joy to helm a beloved work that reminds us about the transformative power of love and imagination,” says director Victor Malana Maog. “Midsummer at the National Building Museum invites everyone into a timeless world full of laughter, invention, and wonder. This production boasts an incredible mix of stunning local and national artists who have assembled to launch this exciting next chapter in the Folger’s contributions to the wild, whimsical, and wholly human possibilities of Shakespeare in 2022.”

Image by Tony Cisek.

Four-time Helen Hayes Award winner Tony Cisek also 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 is responsible for the design and fabrication of the A Midsummer Night’s Dream-inspired installation in the Museum’s West Court.

The Playhouse will serve as the home for the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party, providing visitors with unique and lively theater-related experiences throughout the day. Behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, sword-fighting demonstrations, face-painting, and other fun activities will be offered daily beginning Saturday, July 2 and running through August 28, 2022.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream features original music composed by sound designer Brandon Wolcott, with scenic design by Tony Cisek (The Merry Wives of Windsor and Amadeus at Folger Theatre), costume design by Olivera Gajic (The Conference of the Birds at Folger Theatre), choreography by Alexandra Beller (Sense and Sensibility at Folger Theatre), and lighting design by Yael Lubetzky (Playwrights Horizons’ The Moment When). The stage was designed by Jim Hunter (lighting design for Richard III and Julius Caesar at the Folger).

Visitors enter the National Building Museum summer experience through an immersive installation based on Joanna Robson’s A Knavish Lad, a double-concertina artists’ book from the Folger Shakespeare Library 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 and the installation allows visitors to step inside its pages.

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 are a separate purchase but include access to Robson’s installation.

“Bringing The Playhouse to the National Building Museum, continues our tradition of Summer Block Party installations as a way to activate our iconic Great Hall with joyful cultural programming,” says Aileen Fuchs, President and Executive Director of the National Building Museum. “The partnership between the Museum and Folger is an opportunity for each of us to introduce ourselves to new audiences while welcoming back our long-time supporters, presenting them with new experiences. The reimagining of a theater within our space builds upon our 2007 exhibition Reinventing the Globe: A Shakespearean Theater for the 21st Century, allowing us to continue the exploration of how we can innovatively rethink spaces to serve new functions.”

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

Ticketing Information & Performance Dates:        

A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays at the National Building Museum from July 12 through August 28, 2022. Performance times are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 8 pm; Wednesdays at 4 pm and 8 pm and Saturdays at 4:30 pm and 8 pm, and Sundays at 7:00 pm. All performances are accessible for audience members who may require sensory-friendly access to the show. Please check the full performance schedule online.

Tickets are $20 – $85. Lower priced preview performances and discounts for first-time Folger audience members, seniors, military, and groups of ten or more are available and may be purchased from the Folger Theatre Box Office at or (202) 544-7077. Tickets will be on sale at the National Building Museum Visitor’s Center Thursday through Monday from 11 am – 4 pm beginning in June.

The Playhouse at the National Building Museum can be explored July 2 – August 28, 2022, Thursday – Monday, 11 am – 4 pm. The Museum is located at 401 F St., NW in Washington, DC.

Related Programming & Special Events:

Pay-What-You-Can performance is on Tuesday, July 12, 8:00 pm. Tickets will be available for sale to the public at 6 pm. One ticket per person.

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

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

Building the Dream: Setting the Stage for A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Monday, July 18 at 6:30 pm, with National Building Museum Executive Director Aileen Fuchs and Folger Theatre Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels moderating a lively conversation about the creation and activation of the theater space. Scenic designer Tony Cisek and stage designer Jim Hunter come together to offer insight into the unique challenges and exciting opportunities afforded by the project.

Two Poetry Workshops will be led by Folger Poetry Coordinator Teri Cross Davis on Friday, July 22, and Friday, August 5 at 6:00 pm. 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.

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 8:00 pm performance.

Spotlight on Design: Renovation of the Folger will take place on Monday, August 8 at 6:30 pm. 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.

Folger Theatre’s Brews & Banter Pre-Show Talk will be held on Friday, August 12 at 6:30 pm. Join in on this off-the-cuff pre-show conversation with select Midsummer cast members. The ticket includes complimentary craft beer, available for tasting at 6 pm. $15, with discounts for Folger Shakespeare Library and National Building Museum members.

An Open-Captioned performance will take place on Sunday, August 14 at 7pm.

Please check the Folger website at, as events continue to be added to the calendar.

For Folger’s Karen Ann Daniels, the Bard’s big O stands for opportunity (interview by Ramona Harper)


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