Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Site Visit - Folger Shakespeare Theater

Venue: Folger Shakespeare Library

Address: 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC

Neighborhood: Capitol Hill

Venue Type: Unique Venue

Best for: Receptions, Seated Dinners

To Note: The Folger Shakespeare Library is home to the world's largest Shakespearean collection.

Capacity: The Great Room (pictured) allows for 150 seated for dinner, 250 for a standing reception or 100 for dinner with space to accommodate a reception. The Paster Reading Room allows for 200 seated for dinner, 250 for a standing reception, or 100 for dinner with reception space. The two rooms will allow for 500 standing.

There is also a theater that will seat up to 260, and a smaller space, The Founders' Room, that will allow for an intimate dinner up to 30, or 50 for a standing reception (perfect for a smaller, VIP Reception).

Rental Fees: $$$ with the potential for a partial charitable deduction.

Catering: The venue has a preferred catering list but outside caterers may also be used (upon approval by the Special Events department).

Transportation: Parking in this area is always difficult. Just steps from the Capitol Building and bordering a residential neighborhood, valet is a must. The venue is metro accessible via the Capitol South station (blue and orange lines) but those dressed in their black-tie finest, or on days with awful weather, might find the 3 block walk a bit much. Cabs will be easier to find if guests walk a block to 1st Street, SE.

Venue Website:

What we love: The 'Shakespearean' feeling you get as enter The Great Room. Your guests will be instantly transported to a by-gone era by the Renaissance interior oak paneling, vaulted ceilings, carved wood and stain-glass windows.

Planner's Tips:
  • The Great Room is long and rectangular in shape, potentially making for difficult sight-lines should you need to host a stage program.
  • The Paster Reading Room is a world-renowned researcher center and is closed by day but for those with the appropriate credentials. Your guests will be thrilled that your event allows them access (sans Ph.D.). 
  • Ticketed events are not allowed. Similar to the Smithsonian venues, hosts may not sell tickets to their events, though the Folger Library does allow hosts to have their functions under-written by outside organizations. We suggest you talk through your plans in-depth, prior to going to contract.

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