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.