Workhouse Arts Center drive-in movies logo

The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton will begin showing drive-in movies every weekend beginning Friday, June 12.  

The first weekend will feature "Beetlejuice" on June 12 and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" on Saturday, June 13. Gates open at 8:15 p.m. and showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are for sale now at

Titles and ticket sales for the other weekends will be released the week of June 8. 

The Workhouse said the movies create an opportunity  to bring the community together while still practicing social distancing and other Covid-19 precautions. Joseph Wallen, performing arts director of Workhouse, presented the idea to the board of directors and received overwhelming support to offer the community and Northern Virginia a unique way to get out of the house for entertainment in line with the mission of the organization.

“Since temporarily closing our ‘actual doors’ to the public in mid-March, the staff has explored ways to open ‘virtual doors,’ so that we may still continue to engage with the community and present unique arts experiences. Our socially distanced drive-in theater will allow families to enjoy some of their favorite films in a new way. We felt this would be a fun experience to enjoy together, while observing current safety guidelines.”

The drive-in theater will be in the parking lot on the north side of campus (next to building W7) and will be limited to 75 vehicles at $30 per vehicle. All tickets will be purchased online and parking location will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Options to purchase a packaged snack box will also be available. Alternatively, movie-goers may bring their own snacks or meals from local restaurants.

Various levels of sponsorship are available for businesses and include their logo on screen, logo placement on event collateral and marketing, day and weekend passes and more.  

"As we all have had to adapt to a new reality during this pandemic, we have become creative in how we operate as a community and how we as a community-based arts organization engage with our audience,” said Dale Marhanka, Workhouse operations director and glass and ceramics program director.  

Social distancing and restroom guidelines as well as FAQs and links to purchase tickets are posted on the Workhouse website at Staff and volunteers will also be trained on safety precautions and PPE use.

 The property on which the Workhouse stands was purchased from the federal government in 2002.  The abandoned former Occoquan Workhouse, founded in 1910 as part of the District of Columbia’s Correctional Facility in Lorton was transformed into a cultural arts center that opened to the public in 2008. Today, the Workhouse Arts Center is a multidisciplinary arts center offering a broad array of arts experiences, the majority of which are free or low-cost, to the public.

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