DAR Constitution Hall remains the same on the outside, but big changes await visitors when the building reopens. (Courtesy venue)

A spotlight in our December issue checked in with venue managers from around the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia. Here are responses from a couple of them; for more, please check out the full story.


Paul Guilderson, managing director

DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.

How was venue business before the shutdown?
We were about average for bookings in that time frame.

What big shows did your venue host over that period?
World Bank – IMF Board of Governors Meeting and numerous other corporate events. Quite a few comedy shows, including Aziz Ansari, Bert Kreischer, Jo Koy, “My Brother, My Brother and Me.” The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song (tribute concert).

What changes did your venue make or get started on before the shutdown?
We were set to commence a nine-month renovation of the auditorium on July 1. When venues were shut down we were able to accelerate the work schedule and began on April 1. We have a scheduled completion date of March 27, 2021.

Have you done any work on the venue during the shutdown?
We are in the process of replacing every surface in the building. The ceiling, walls, floors, carpets and seating are all being replaced. The acoustics have been redesigned, the rigging and fall arrest systems have been completely redesigned and improved, and the ceiling is being re-created to resemble the glass ceiling in place when we opened in 1929.

What preparations are you taking for your venue’s eventual reopening?
We are constantly updating the safety precautions for the building as the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines change. There have been numerous plans designed to be prepared for any crowd size limitations that may be in place when we reopen.

What are you most excited for when live events return?
Aside from pretty much everyone’s desire for revenue, the energy generated by live events will be a welcome change to the subdued environment of a COVID-era office.


Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Va.
Terri Vander Vennet, interim director

How was venue business before the shutdown?
Business was very strong.  Stronger than the previous two years.

What big shows did your venue host over that period?
Bassnectar’s Bass Center XII, Chris Brown, Dead & Company, Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, DaBaby with Gunna and Pop Smoke, PBR.

What changes did your venue make or get started on before the shutdown?
We were just starting to work with the architects to renovate our dressing rooms and several of our meeting spaces,  finalized the installation schedule for new telescoping seating risers, and our new assistant director of operations and events had started on March 9.

Have you done any work on the venue during the shutdown?
We completed the riser installation and replaced of our AC chillers.

What preparations are you taking for your venue’s eventual reopening?
Upgrading our Wi-Fi infrastructure to support new hands-free technologies for ticketing and POS, converting restrooms to touchless, installing acrylic barriers for customer-facing transactions, redefining guest ingress/egress and flow patterns, completing GBAC accreditation, analyzing and adjusting cleaning/disinfecting protocols, and training staff to work with the new norms.

What are you most excited for when live events return?
Having our guests return to the venue, feeling the excitement of the crowd, and being able to do what we love to do again.