Built from two restored 18th-century barns, The Barns at Wolf Trap is a popular spot for music lovers in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The intimate 382-seat theater offers audiences a chance to experience superb acoustics and impressive performances from top-notch artists across genres.
You’ll find more than 80 performances annually during a typical season at The Barns between October and May—everything from legendary folk singers to chamber musicians to jazz greats.
During the summer months, The Barns is home to Wolf Trap Opera.
The Barns at Wolf Trap is owned and operated by Wolf Trap Foundation, which is committed to creating an artistic lineup as diverse and discerning as the audiences that attend year-round.
Are they really barns?
Yes! The Barns is made up of two adjacent historic 18th-century barns that have been refurbished and refined with stellar acoustics and amenities.
Creating The Barns
After attending a concert in Maine held in a traditional barn, Wolf Trap founder Catherine Filene Shouse, was charmed by the informal and acoustically unique setting. She set out to replicate the experience at Wolf Trap. Mrs. Shouse began working with craftsmen and barns historians in 1980 to identify two barns for relocation to Virginia. After finding the barns in upstate New York, Mrs. Shouse purchased the buildings and paid to relocate and rebuild the structures on their present site in 1981 using an 18th-century “block and tackle” method of construction with gin poles, ropes, and manpower.
Both barns are made of hand-hewn beams and posts, and the exterior walls have been reversed to show more than 200 years of patina.
In an act of philanthropy, Mrs. Shouse purchased the barns, paid for relocation and construction, and donated the venue.
One barn for theater
Built around 1780, the German barn features a large “swing beam,” which reflects the original function: supporting the hayloft above, while below, enabling a team of horses to be turned around into their stalls without obstruction.
Today, this design makes for a perfect theater, seating 284 on the threshing floor and another 98 in the hayloft.
One barn for gathering
The Scottish barn was built about 1791 and is smaller in size than the German barn.
It serves as a lovely reception and gathering spot, with a kitchen offering patrons artisanal appetizers and entrees, signature desserts, and a variety of cocktails, wines, microbrews and more before performances.
Recent updates to The Barns include an enclosed atrium, enhanced bar, accessible backstage elevator, additional kitchen space, improved backstage area, and refreshed artist and public amenities.
Take a 3D tour of The Barns