Waterside Theater – Manteo NC


Relief workers from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped carve out and construct the Waterside Theatre at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. The theater has undergone renovations and changes over the years but is still very much in operation.

Waterside Theater is home of the long-running play “The Lost Colony,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Green, a native of North Carolina.  The story of the mysterious lost colony of Roanoke has been running consistently, though not entirely uninterrupted, since 1937.  WPA Federal Theater Project (FTP) actors took part in the original performances.

As FTP historian Susan Quinn has noted:

One piece of live theatre survives from the days of the Federal Theatre Project. The Lost Colony…continues to draw large crowds to Roanoke Island in North Carolina every summer. Otherwise, the Federal Theatre Project lives on only in the archives and in the stories of those who took part.

Source notes

National Park Service, “Fort Raleigh National Historic Site: Long-Range Interpretive Plan,” 2010.

"The Lost Colony" performances at https://thelostcolony.org/

“Roanoke Island Re-Lives 350-Year-Old Tragedy Of ‘The Lost Colony,’ First Anglo Saxon Settlement In Americas,” Gastonia Daily Gazette, August 16, 1937.

Susan Quinn, Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art out of Desperate Times. New York: Walker & Company, 2008.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - wpatoday.org on September 22, 2013.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
Manteo, NC 27954

Coordinates: 35.939413, -75.709087

One comment on “Waterside Theater – Manteo NC

Leave a Reply

Before leaving a comment, please note:

  • Comments allow viewers to share information with others or alert us to errors or changes in a New Deal site.
  • We are not involved in the management of New Deal sites and have no information about visits, hours or rentals.
  • This page shows all the information we have for this site; if you have new information or photos to share, click below.


We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Your email address will not be published.