Carolina Theatre

226 N. Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28202

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Carolina Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened on March 7, 1927, the Carolina Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Charlotte. In the 1940’s in was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary H.F. Kincey.

Despite a successful multi-decade run, including a period as a Cinerama theatre, the Carolina Theatre closed on November 27, 1978, and was damaged by arson in the 1980’s. Many decorative elements of the original interior were removed, but others remain including the (badly damaged) murals. The lobby and entrance portion of the building was demolished recently, but the space from the auditorium to the street was very recently turned into a beautiful mini-park. The building is structurally sound, the exterior has been repaired and repainted.

In April 2013, the city of Charlotte sold the Carolina Theatre for $1.00 to the Foundation for the Carolinas which intends to restore it as a performing arts and community center seating between 1,000 and 1,200. This project, estimated to cost $25,000,000, benefited from a $5,000,000 pledge from the Bank of America on January 28, 2014, to kick-start its fundraising campaign for the restoration. They are planning on reopening the Carolina Theatre in 2016.

Contributed by Ross Melnick, Dave Litterer

Recent comments (view all 149 comments)

Patsy on October 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm

“The Carolina Theatre’s facade, dismantled by the city in the late 1980s and stacked under the stage, will be placed on the front of the new lobby, facing Tryon.” I would like to see the new lobby based on the original design though it doesn’t exactly say that in the article. I would think that it would be based on the original so it would be in keeping with the original design in the auditorium. I have entered that space a few times and each time I am struck by how beautiful it must have been in its heyday. Congrats to the City of Charlotte and the Belk Foundation for realizing the importance of saving this historic theatre in uptown Charlotte.

Scott on October 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

Thanks Patsy. I read the Observer article but it didn’t come across to me whether they were going to attempt to replicate the original lobby. Hopefully they will at least adhere to it in style. I didn’t realize the facade was saved. That was a good bit of foresight.

raysson on December 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm

It was the only CINERAMA Theatre in the Carolinas….. The Reserved Seat Cinerama Engagements for…..

“The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm”

“How The West Was Won”

“Krakatoa: East of Java”

“Ice Station Zebra”

“2001: A Space Odyssey”

“Circus World”

“This is CINERAMA”

“CINERAMA’S South Seas Adventure”

raysson on December 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm

“PATTON” was the only Reserved Seat Engagement Showing in the Carolinas at Charlotte’s Carolina Theatre in 1970.

Patsy on December 22, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I see there are accent colored lights on the former Carolina Theatre uptown corner now. Hope to see work started on the theatre and rebuilding of the lobby in 2015!!

ncmark on April 5, 2015 at 4:53 am

The Charlotte Observer reports that a recent gift from Wells Fargo of $2 million brings the total raised for renovation of the Carolina Theater to $27 million.

Patsy on April 5, 2015 at 8:17 am

That is wonderful news on Easter Sunday! I recall when I first came to town and saw that corner in 2003..knowing that a great theatre building was there waiting to be restored. Thanks “ncmark” for your recent post and for keeping us all updated. I hope to see the Charlotte Ballet perform on the Carolina Theatre stage someday.

LuisV on June 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm

This appeared in today’s Charlotte Observer. It looks like this project is a go. Per the article it does not appear like it will function in any way as a true theater and that’s very disappointing.

“Despite its theatrical history, the renovated Carolina Theatre is being designed to serve as more of a civic gathering space with 1,000 seats for public discourse, including speeches, lectures, debates and conferences. Proposed plans for the renovated theatre include expanding outward with a main lobby that will replace the park currently located on Tryon and upward with three floors of office space and a boutique hotel.”

raysson on June 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm


1927-1957 Paramount/Publix/North Carolina Theatres

1957-1971 Wilby-Kincey Corporation

1971-1978 ABC Southeastern Theatres

Patsy on June 25, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for the ever important updates. At least the project is a go and the building will be saved!

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