Old Greenbelt Theatre is a one-screen movie theatre located in the heart of Greenbelt, Maryland, showing contemporary films in addition to offering a schedule of diverse and community based film programming. Completed in 1938, the Old Greenbelt Theatre is an iconic building in Greenbelt, MD, a federally planned New-Deal-era community. The core of Old Greenbelt was declared a National Historic District in 1997, with the Theatre a prominent reminder of a bygone era of cinema as well as a living institution whose values of community service and collective responsibility continue to be pertinent and valuable.
The Theatre, like the supermarket and many other enterprises, initially was run as a cooperative, with members working together to staff the Theater, to make decisions about which films to show, and to determine what concessions to sell. The first screening, which took place on September 21, 1938, was Little Miss Broadway, a musical drama starring Shirley Temple. Admission prices were 30 cents for adults and 15 cents for children, and during this period the theater typically showed four new features per week.
The Theatre is remarkable not only for its original design but also for having survived eras of economic instability without being split into a duplex or a different kind of venue altogether, as has been the fate of so many historic single-screen cinemas. The Old Greenbelt Theatre is both a reminder of a bygone era of cinema exhibition as well as a living institution whose values of community service and collective responsibility are as pertinent and valuable as ever.
Remodeled in 2014-2015 by the City of Greenbelt, today the Theatre has 380 seats, a 40’ CinemaScope screen, two Simplex XL 35mm projectors, a Christie 4K digital projector, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound system. In 2015, Friends of Greenbelt Theatre signed a contract with the City of Greenbelt to operate the Theatre as a non-profit organization.
Greenbelt, MD 20770