Auditorium Renovation

On June 3, the Old Greenbelt Theatre’s main auditorium closed for a major, four-month long renovation, managed jointly by the City of Greenbelt’s Department of Public Works and the nonprofit Friends of Greenbelt Theatre. During the closure of the main auditorium, Friends of Greenbelt Theatre will be showing films in The Pop-up at Old Greenbelt Theatre, a temporary microcinema the organization has installed next door to the Old Greenbelt Theatre at 125 Centerway.

Learn more below about the planned renovation. Learn more about our Pop-up here.

What is the renovation going to do?

While the nonprofit organization Friends of Greenbelt Theatre (FGT) manages the theater’s operations, the City of Greenbelt owns and maintains the building. The theater’s current HVAC system is over 26 years old (with some components dating back to its original construction in the 1930s). The City’s Public Works Department determined that the system requires a full replacement, and is currently working to replace the roof and install an all new HVAC system in the main auditorium. (More details in the Greenbelt News Review article from Jan. 24.) 

In 2018, FGT’s Save Me a Seat campaign raised funds to replace the 40-year-old theater chairs. Thanks to generous donations from members, supporters, and local businesses, the campaign exceeded expectations. With these additional funds, FGT will be able to replace the seats, as well as make significant additional improvements. 

In total, the City of Greenbelt and Friends of Greenbelt Theatre will be installing a new roof, new HVAC system, new seats, new screen and draperies, and audio/video upgrades.

How long will the renovation last?

The City of Greenbelt’s Public Works Department is estimating that the renovations will take approximately four months. While they and FGT are doing their utmost to adhere to this original timeline, construction projects can be unpredictable, and the timeline could shift. Our goal is to be open before the 2019/2020 Oscar season begins in the fall (end of October).

What about the movies?

Never fear. When Friends of Greenbelt Theatre took over management of the Old Greenbelt Theatre, we promised never to go dark, and we’re keeping that promise! In April, FGT became the leaseholder of the storefront next door to the Old Greenbelt Theatre (at 125 Centerway), and installed a temporary 40-seat microcinema in the space. We’re calling it the Pop-up at The Old Greenbelt Theatre.

During our renovation, our first run films and Stage on Screen series will continue in the Pop-up. Our Monday Matinee, Storytime on Screen, and School’s Out! Series will be held in various locations at the Greenbelt Community Center thanks to the City of Greenbelt’s Recreation Department. More information on these off-site locations, click here.

Where do I go during the renovation?

During the main auditorium renovation, OGT’s lobby, concessions counter, and restrooms remain open. When you come to see a movie, you’ll enter the lobby at 129 Centerway, purchase your tickets and concessions, then head next door to enjoy the show.

But remember, our three free series (Monday Matinees, School’s Out!, and Storytime on Screen) will be held off-site for the duration of the main auditorium closure. Please pay close attention to locations in showtime announcements.

Does this mean the new seats are coming?

Yes! Thanks to the support of our wonderful donors and generous community businesses, our Save Me a Seat campaign successfully raised well over our $100,000 goal! This means we will not only be able to replace the seats, we will also be able to complete other needed auditorium upgrades to further enhance your movie-going experience. These renovations will happen in tandem with the HVAC closure period. When we reopen, you can expect a very much improved Old Greenbelt Theatre.

We are so grateful to all of our patrons for their dedicated support of the Old Greenbelt Theatre. Know that in all of this planning, our number one goal is to ensure that you continue to enjoy our programming through the closure and that you’ll have an even more comfortable, entertaining, and educational experience here at OGT when we reopen.

Didn’t the City of Greenbelt already renovate the Old Greenbelt Theatre?

In 2014, the City of Greenbelt closed the Old Greenbelt Theatre for a first round of renovations. This included a fully refurbished concessions area, inner lobby, and restrooms. The renovation also included some upgrades to the marquee and facade of the Theatre. However, beyond installing new carpet, a Christie Digital 4K projector, and minor A/V elements, the main auditorium was left largely untouched. This Summer 2019 renovation completes the work begun by the City in 2014, and includes updates the City would be unable to make without the financial support of the Friends of Greenbelt Theatre’s Save Me a Seat campaign.

Will you be extending memberships due to the closure?

We love our members, and we understand that with the main auditorium closed and only the Pop-up in operation, you will have a lesser experience than the one you’ve come to expect of OGT. Therefore, on June 3, we proactively applied a four-month extension to all active memberships.

Where do I get the latest information about the Pop-up and showtimes?