25 May 2023
The iconic Pioneer Theater in downtown Manteo has been reborn. Or at least almost reborn, and will be opening once again in about a week.
The Pioneer Theater was in the Creef family since 1905, but last year, after two years of COVID, Buddy Creef finally came to the conclusion that he just couldn’t keep the theater running any more. The building on Budleigh Street was built in 1934 and the upkeep combined with cost of movies had gotten to the point the Buddy felt it was time to let it go.
Luckily a local family, the Basnights, stepped in and bought the theater and by combining resources have brought it back to life.
The building has gone back to its original facade. The faux Elizabethan exterior that had been on the Pioneer was put there as part of a town wide marketing campaign in the 1980s.
Also, soon to reappear, will be the beautiful Pioneer Theater art deco style sign that once graced the top of the building.
If there are changes being made, a couple of things aren’t changing. The popcorn will still be popped fresh for every show in the lobby. Drinks and candy are a good $1.00 to $2.00 cheaper than in a theater showing first run movies.
Of course, one of the things that new owner Mike Basnight said is they won’t be able to show first run movies—mostly because the contract for those films call for a protracted run with three showings daily. However, it does looks as though there will be an emphasis on bringing back some classics.
Plans call for using the stage for more than just movies, with some groups already booked and the Laughing Gull Comedy Club has booked the theater June 21 for comedian Kevin Farley, the brother of the late comedian Chris Farley.
Something that was very apparent in the presentation this evening were the acoustics in the theater—they were absolutely outstanding. Should make for some excellent music when groups come calling.
That’s some good news for the Outer Banks. Everyone from Hatteras to Corolla will be cheering this. Stop by for a bit and stay in a Brindley Beach Vacations home and see what all the excitement is about.