Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shakespeare Theatre Welcomes 'Candide' to D.C.: The Venue

Glass facade
Entrance on F Street
Animated sign
A spectacular glass facade greets patrons to the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, DC. Opened in 2007, the 800-seat theatre occupies the first five-and-a-half floors of an 11-story office tower.

The bay windows of the orchestra and mezzanine glass facade lobbies hang over the sidewalk below and afford the theatre patron with stunning city views. Because the upper level lobbies do not hug the auditorium or glass facade, they appear to be suspended bridges with views to the level below it.

The three lobby spaces and staircases, each with glass railings, and glass facade give the feeling of a airy uncrowded space. With so much glass, the lobbies are flooded with light during the daytime. Restrooms, entrances to the auditorium, concession stands, table seating and cocktail tables on both upper lobbies help to disperse the audience before a performance and at intermission.

Mezzanine level lobby
Orchestra level lobby
The theatre auditorium offers excellent sight lines, though the leg room is not generous especially in the mezzanine level seats. The stage can be altered to a thrust, open stage or proscenium configuration. The street level lobby contains the box office and gift shop. Just outside are animated signs advertising the theater's productions.

This is one of the few modern designed theaters where the visit to the theatre is a treat in itself. The production on stage has that much to live up to.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company, founded in 1985, also features its season productions at the nearby Lansburgh Theatre (451 seats). The company's theatre season includes plays written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and those he influenced. More info at Single tickets $68-$88. Premium Seats available.

City view from mezzanine lobby
The musical 'Candide' is the current production


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