Two decades of leadership
The non-profit Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. is one of downtown’s most loved and established arts organizations. Operating the city-owned Carolina Theatre complex for nearly two decades, we are funded by ticket sales, individual and corporate contributions, and an annual management stipend from the City of Durham.
150,000 fans and counting
Each year we present over 60 concerts, daily film and film festivals, serve 15,000 school children with our Arts Discovery Educational Series, and provide a home for numerous nonprofits and other organizations that utilize the facility – in all attracting more than 150,000 people to downtown.
More than numbers
People who love downtown Durham crave the distinct personality, programming, and atmosphere that we specialize in. The Carolina Theatre is more than a building, it's an experience that can only be found in Durham.
Fletcher Hall, an auditorium with 1,048 seats hosting a diverse lineup of live events and film. Fletcher Hall has been restored to its 1926 décor, and is the only downtown building designed in the Beaux Arts style.
Cinema One (226 seats) and Cinema Two (49 seats), operate year-round, 364 days per year
The Carolina Theatre has been in the heart of downtown Durham since 1926. More than 90 years after opening as the Durham Auditorium, the Carolina Theatre has become one of its city’s most beloved institutions. The historic venue presents vibrant, thought-provoking film and live performances that contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of downtown Durham and the Triangle Region.
Three years after it opened, the Durham Auditorium was renovated and renamed the Carolina Theatre, a movie theater that also presented stage shows and concerts. By the 1940s and 1950s, the city-owned Carolina Theatre had become Durham’s most majestic showplace for film and the performing arts, with live shows featuring such noteworthy stars as Ronald Reagan, Katharine Hepburn and many other celebrites of the day.
In March 1978, after economic conditions had forced the closure and a proposed demolition of the Carolina Theatre the year before, the City of Durham leased the venue to the Carolina Cinema Corporation with Dr. Monte Moses as president. Through the late 1970s and the 1980s, Connie Moses, the wife of Monte, and her close friend Pepper Fluke organized a legion of volunteers and spearheaded a successful effort to save, preserve and renovate the Carolina Theatre.
After screening the world premiere of the Durham-based baseball film Bull Durham in June of 1988, the Carolina Theatre closed again for extensive renovations, reopening with a new cinema wing in 1994, two years after the Carolina Cinema Corporation became the Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. — the nonprofit which still operates the venue today.
Strengthened from weathering nine decades of social, political and economic change, the Carolina Theatre continues to be a source of civic pride; an important marker of historic change; a valuable touchstone for the community; a crucial resource for education through the arts, and a beacon attracting visitors to partake in — and contribute to — the bright future of its city’s downtown.