Pioneer Theatre

115 Budleigh Street,
Manteo, NC 27954

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Styles: Tudor Revival

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Pioneer Theatre

Originally opened in Manteo, NC, in 1918 by George W. Creef Jr. It moved to it’s current location in 1937 and was owned and operated by George’s son Herbert Creef, Sr. It has been continuously owned and operated by the Creef family ever since, now being operated by H.A. Creef, Jr., with the help of his son Buddy (Herbert Creef III).

The Pioneer Theatre catered to the local community and shows no R rated movies to maintain it’s predominantly family, teen, and child patronage. In spring of 2007, tickets were $5.00 for adults and children alike, and the most expensive thing at the concession stand is $1.00. It is a home town, large single screen movie house of days gone by and still reflected the past in it’s family friendly pricing. It was closed on November 16, 2022 with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

Contributed by Buddy Creef

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Patsy on January 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm

This theatre was recently featured on WTVI in the Charlotte NC area.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm

In William C.Cline’s book about the theatre business in the Carolinas.“STROKE OF FORTUNE'he writes about the theatre once called THE YE OLDE PIONEER THEATRE.Cline writes."when the family passed the Pioneer Theatre on to Herbert A Creef Jr. He wanted no part of the theatre business. Creef Jr, had already owned a local hotel and a fuel oil business and wanted no part of running a theatre”.Cline writes that he met with Creef Jr. and told him he {Cline} would help him learn the ropes.Creef Jr,said “Go ahead,I don’t have anything to Lose”.You guys can thank the Late William C.Cline for the advice and encouragement to keep it still a family theatre.

Patsy on August 16, 2010 at 8:07 am

To the late William C. Cline….thanks!

Patsy on August 16, 2010 at 8:09 am

I see that someone by the name of Buddy Creef added this theatre…thanks. Herbert A. Creef Jr. and my father had something in common…..they both owned a fuel oil business.

hacreefIII on July 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm


You are truely clueless. The William C. Cline you refer to was a movie booker that we used for many many years. After his untimely, and unexpected death, we found out he had been booking movies with the studios at one percentage, and charging us a different higher percentage in addition to his booking fee……. ie skimming…….For many many years he portrayed himself.if you want the true history of the pioneer theater come to Manteo, NC and I will fill you in, show you a movie house like you have never seen, and embarrass you regarding your arrogant ignorance regarding this theater, it’s history, and the movie industry in general. I am a 4th generation owner operator, and know things about which you speak that you have no idea of. If you want to come visit and become enlightened email me and we can talk some real truths. Until then speak of that which you know, no more and no less. A man who speaks of what he has heard is ignorant….no more….no less…..Buddy, Herbert A Creef III

Kris4077 on September 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Somewhere I saw a picture of this theater before manteo went crazy and went all colonial, I wish I could find it. It was neat it had a marquee and a ticket booth. I will look for it then see if I can get permission to post it.

Kris4077 on February 9, 2016 at 10:11 am

Here is the link to the photo I promised over 2 years ago:

Sorry I work very, very, very, very slow!LOL

Kris4077 on February 9, 2016 at 10:20 am

And her is another link with another pic with a newer marquis:

dallasmovietheaters on December 14, 2022 at 7:00 pm

The 104-year tradition has ended. The Pioneer Theatre in Manteo last showed a film on November 16, 2022 with “Wakanda Forever.” A temporary closure occurred for a projector issue. But on December 13, 2022, the management decided to make the closure permanent ending the Pioneer’s run - one of the nation’s longest running movie theaters.

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