The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama
1409 national Park Road
Manteo, NC 27954


About the Site

The Lost Colony is America's longest-running outdoor symphonic drama and tells the story of 117 English colonists under the leadership of Sir Walter Raleigh who settled on the shores on Roanoke Island in 1587 only to disappear without a trace. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning North Carolina playwright, Paul Green, the drama brings this tragic event to life with words, music, production values, and dance.

Commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I and financed by Sir Walter Raleigh, the Roanoke Colony arrived here in 1587 after a brief exploration of Roanoke Island and the Albemarle Region in 1584 by John White. Among the 117 men, women and children who arrived was Ananias Dare and his wife, Eleanor, who would give birth weeks later to the first English child in America: Virginia Dare.

Governor John White returned to England later that summer for supplies only to find England on the brink of war with Spain. Detained due to the war for three years, he returned to Roanoke Island in 1590 only to find the colony deserted, and a tantalizing word carved on a palisade post: "Croatoan." Subsequent investigations failed to uncover any evidence of the vanished colonists.

The Lost Colony is produced every summer in historic Waterside Theater on the shores of Roanoke Sound, only yards from where the colonists settled in 1587. Surrounding Waterside Theater, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site interprets the story of the first English settlement in the New World and its mysterious disappearance. The adjacent Elizabethan Gardens commemorate the colonists with stunning formal English gardens and statuary. Nearby, the Freedman's Colony, a Civil War era settlement of freed slaves on Roanoke Island, is commemorated with a trail that details their story.

    Production Season and Times: 8:30 PM, Monday-Saturday, June - August
    Admission Fees: Producer's Circle seating, $20; Adults $16; Seniors $15; Children 3-11, $8.
    Discounts: AAA and groups

About the Facilities
  • Visitor center (Fort Raleigh NHS)
  • Gift shop
  • Picnic facilities
  • Free parking
  • Audio/visual presentation
  • Recreational trails
  • Vending/food service (summer)
  • On-site banquet facilities
  • Public restrooms
  • Motorcoach parking
  • Exhibits
  • Historic structures
  • Handicap Accessibility: Site and visitor center are fully accessible

    Nearest Major Town/City: Manteo

    For Visitor Information:

      Outer Banks Visitors Bureau
      One Visitors Center Circle
      Manteo, NC 27954
      Toll-Free: (800) 446-6262
      Fax: (252) 473-5777

    About the Programs

    Major Program Areas: Early American Settlement, Native American, Civil War/Reconstruction, African American, Performing Arts

    Education Resources:
  • Guided backstage tours
  • Theatrical production
  • Costumed programs during summer
  • Self-guided exhibits
  • Classroom resources (workbooks, A/V, web-based, etc.)
  • Backstage Tour Requirements:
    • Maximum group size: 65
    • Reservations required
    • $3.00/student
    • 1 hour tour
    • Suggested chaperone ratio of one adult for every 15 students
    • Curriculum-based tours if requested, to 4th, 8th and 11th grade North Carolina students