A worker inspects damage to Adventure Theatre in the hours after a fire broke out last Friday. Credit: Joe Zimmermann

Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park is back in action after a fire damaged its building last week.

On Thursday morning, the theater was staging its first show since the fire, which caused the cancellation of shows last weekend. A performance of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day began at 10 a.m. and another will be held at noon Thursday, followed by shows through Friday and the weekend.

“We’re excited and nervous,” Leon Seemann, the theater’s managing director, said Thursday morning. “There are little things like the actor bathrooms are not in service, so it’s a little bit roughing it, but it will be good. The audience will get their smiles and that’s important.”

Electrical wiring in one of the building’s castle turrets sparked a fire after 1 a.m. last Friday. Though the stage itself was undamaged, the fire and resulting smoke and water damaged devastated the office spaces in the building as firefighters were forced to pry open the roof and walls to douse the flames.

Seemann said it will be a significant period of time before theater staff can use the offices again. Most of the office space has been cleared out, and everything will be put in storage next week as repairs are made.

The damage from the fire will cost about $500,000 or more to repair, Seemann said. The National Parks Service, which owns the property and will conduct the exterior repairs, will cover part of that cost, as will the theater’s insurance, but Seemann said theater officials expect there will be a “gap” in funding that the theater will have to cover.


The Adventure Theatre is raising money on its website through a “Fill the Gap” campaign. Seemann said the theater hasn’t solicited donations yet, but already has raised “a couple thousand” just from having a donation page on its website. The theater staff plans to start actively promoting the campaign next week.

Seemann said he’s feeling sad about the loss in the building that the theater has used since 1971 and worried about the “long road back.” Still, he’s excited the theater can continue to put on shows and entertain kids.

My parents always taught me—in adversity, smile. You do what you can and God takes care of the rest,” he said. “We’re incredibly lucky to have an amazing staff, good partners and a supportive community that’s all coming together to get us there.”