Center Theatre

117 S. Elm Street,
Greensboro, NC 27401

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: R.M. Kennedy

Architects: Erle G. Stillwell

Functions: Nightclub

Previous Names: Imperial Theatre, Piedmont Theatre, Victory Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Center Theatre

I found opening dates for the Imperial Theatre from 1917 to 1925. The Imperial Theatre was another downtown movie house located on S. Elm Street at Market Street. Seating was listed at 1,750.

By 1955 it had been renamed Center Theatre and was operated by the R.M. Kennedy chain. it closed sometime in the 1960’s.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

RICHARDHANNER on December 15, 2006 at 7:34 am

This theatre was called the Center theatre in the 60’s. It is now a night club.

Ralph Daniel
Ralph Daniel on January 15, 2007 at 7:20 pm

The Imperial Theatre was an ornate movie palace with appointments as good as those of the still-standing Carolina Theatre. In 1949 it was gutted, and the south half of the space became the Center Theatre. The Center is rather plain. Without checking to see if they were dimmable, fluorescent fixtures were installed on the walls. When the house lights were dimmed, these fixtures flickered erratically until finally doused. When you’re in the Center today, imagine what it would be like if it was twice as wide, and you’ll have a good idea of how big the Imperial was.

raysson on February 13, 2009 at 11:24 am

Was also known as the Center Theatre during the 1950’s and 1960’s where numerous protests took place during the civil rights movement.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on March 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm

A vintage photo from 1946 of the Imperial Theatre while promoting an on stage appearance of western star Johnny Mack Brown along with a photo of the star himself.

raysson on November 14, 2011 at 11:46 am

Wasn’t this theatre also known as “The Cinema” which is NOT listed on this site.

raysson on November 14, 2011 at 11:49 am

“Lawrence of Arabia” played at the Center Theatre on October 17,1963.

“West Side Story” also played here at the Center Theatre on October 18,1962.

“My Fair Lady” also played here around June or July of 1966 as a General Release.

rivest266 on July 31, 2012 at 6:51 am

This opened on August 1st, 1949. Grand opening ad uploaded here.

Nocaro on December 21, 2016 at 1:03 pm

I was an usher and later the assistant manager of the Center Theater in the years 1965-1967. The manager of this theater for many years was Mr. Jim Bellows. The company that owned the Center Theater also owned and operated both the Skyline and South Drive-In Theaters in Greensboro, NC. Just some of the films shown at the Center Theater during my time there included: “A Man For All Seasons”, “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”, “Our Man Flint”, “Alfie”, “Georgy Girl”, “Born Free”, “The Professionals”, “Torn Curtain”, and a re-run of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” shortly after it won so many Academy Awards. Working there was my after-school job, and I used to do my homework by flashlight in the balcony during the last show each evening. I think its final year of operation was 1981. At the time I left the Center Theater, there were only 5 indoor theaters in operation in Greensboro: The Center, The Carolina, The National (all of which were downtown), The Cinema (on Tate St. near UNC-G), and the newly opened Terrace at Friendly Shopping Center.

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