Old Greenbelt Theatre

The Old Greenbelt Theatre

The Old Greenbelt Theatre is a single screen movie theatre located in the heart of Greenbelt, Maryland, showing contemporary films in addition to offering a schedule of diverse and community based film programming.

Completed in 1938, the Old Greenbelt Theatre is an iconic building in Greenbelt, MD, a federally planned New-Deal-era community. The core of Old Greenbelt was declared a National Historic District in 1997, with the Theatre a prominent reminder of a bygone era of cinema as well as a living institution whose values of community service and collective responsibility continue to be pertinent and valuable.

Greenbelt Theatre, 1949

The theater, like the supermarket and many other enterprises, initially was run as a cooperative, with members working together to staff the Theater, to make decisions about which films to show, and to determine what concessions to sell. The first screening, which took place on September 21, 1938, was Little Miss Broadway, a musical drama starring Shirley Temple. Admission prices were 30 cents for adults and 15 cents for children, and during this period the theater typically showed four new features per week.

The Theatre is remarkable not only for its original design but also for having survived eras of economic instability without being split into a duplex or a different kind of venue altogether, as has been the fate of so many historic single-screen cinemas. The Old Greenbelt Theatre is both a reminder of a bygone era of cinema exhibition as well as a living institution whose values of community service and collective responsibility are as pertinent and valuable as ever.

Remodeled in 2014-2015 by the City of Greenbelt, today the Theatre has 363 seats, a 40’ CinemaScope screen, two Simplex XL 35mm projectors, a Christie 4K digital projector, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound system. In 2015, Friends of Greenbelt Theatre signed a contract with the City of Greenbelt to operate the Theatre as a non-profit organization.

Roosevelt Center

Old Greenbelt Theatre is a key component of Roosevelt Center, built in 1938 as the heart of Greenbelt, Maryland.

Old Greenbelt TheatreGreenbelt was one of three towns planned in 1935 by Rexford Guy Tugwell, head of the United States Resettlement Administration, under authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Built on “garden-city” principles, these communities combined progressive values and straightforward functionality. Although often referred to as an Art Deco, the Theatre and Roosevelt Center are more accurately described as Streamlined Moderne, for which the architecture of the Bauhaus served as a model. Replacing the tendency toward ornamentation and color that characterizes much of Art Deco with basic geometric shapes and simple colors, the Theatre exemplifies Streamlined Moderne’s celebration of modern, machine-age design. The Theatre embodies the values of a community that prioritizes safe, healthy, affordable housing for all citizens, with special emphasis placed upon the role of a community in nurturing children.

The Theatre, together with the core of Old Greenbelt, was declared a National Historic District in 1997.

For more information on the history of Greenbelt, visit the Greenbelt Museum.

Accessibility

The Friends of Greenbelt Theatre has a mission to be a hub for film in Prince George’s County, and we believe this means making the movies accessible to all, both financially and for patrons with various assistive needs. We are a fully ADA-compliant cinema with a variety of assistive devices; closed captioning and descriptive video service devices are available for most screenings, and we provide a weekly open captioned screening (if available from the distributor) for our weekly first-run feature.

Open Captioning (OC)
Open captioning means words show on the screen and everyone can see them. It’s similar to subtitles for films in a language other than English, however open captioning also includes words that describe relevant sounds in the movie. Our Sunday matinee is usually Open Captioned (if available from distributor), but check our calendar and look for the OC designation in the showtime for the weekly OC screening.

Closed Captioning (CC)
Closed captioning can only be seen by using a special device that can be requested at our concessions counter. Not everyone can see the captions, only the people using the device. In our main auditorium, we provide closed captioning through Rear Window Captioning (RWC). Our Pop-up uses infrared technology to deliver the captions. 

Descriptive Video Service (DVS)
DVS is a descriptive audio recording that provides a verbal description of visual elements in a film for patrons with visual impairments. This device, available to borrow at Concessions, is worn around the neck and used with headphones (provided). To find out if a film offers DVS, go to our calendar, then click the title of the film.

Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive listening devices help people who are hard of hearing amplify the audio of a film. There are two assistive kinds of listening devices available to borrow at Concessions:

  • For people who do NOT use a hearing aid: the device increases the volume of the film just for you. You wear it around your neck and use headphones to hear the sound.  
  • For people who DO use a hearing aid: wear the device around your neck and click the T switch on your hearing aid. The T-switch blocks out environmental sounds and so you can tune in specifically to the audio from the film.

Are all films available with OC, CC, and DVS?
OC, CC, and DVS features are added by the studios, so OGT does not have control over which films are and are not captioned. Most first-run features from major studios have captions. But many older films or independent films are not available with captions. Go to our calendar, then click the film title to see whether OC, CC, or DVS is available for that film.

Directions

The Greenbelt Theatre is located in the Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt, MD. Parking is available surrounding the theater. The main entrance is on the square.

Our address is 129 Centerway, Greenbelt, MD 20770.

From Washington, DC:

Take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Route 295) North to MD-193/Greenbelt Road. Stay in the right lane as you take the off ramp to MD-193/Greenbelt Road. Keep right at the fork to continue west on Greenbelt Road for approximately one-half mile.  Keep right again to turn right onto Southway. Continue on Southway until you see Roosevelt Center. Enter the shopping center by going straight over Crescent Road, which will lead you between the Greenbelt Municipal Building and the Roosevelt Center. The spots you’ll see to your right along Centerway (in front of the storefront in Roosevelt Center) are limited to 30 minutes and one hour, so continue to the parking lot to the left. Park your vehicle and walk toward the shops. The first you’ll pass is the New Deal Café to your right. The Theatre is located across the square from the New Deal Café.

From Baltimore:

Using MD-295 South: Take the exit to MD-193/Greenbelt/Goddard Space Flight Center. At the first traffic light, turn right onto Southway. Continue on Southway until you see Roosevelt Center. Enter the shopping center by going straight over Crescent Road, which will lead you between the Greenbelt Municipal Building and the Roosevelt Center. The spots you’ll see to your right along Centerway (in front of the storefront in Roosevelt Center) are limited to 30 minutes and one hour, so continue to the parking lot to the left. Park your vehicle and walk toward the shops. The first you’ll pass is the New Deal Café to your right. The Theatre is located across the square from the New Deal Café.

Using I-95 South: Take Exit 22A (Baltimore/Washington Parkway-Rt. 295 North). Take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Route 295) North to Greenbelt Road (Route 193).  Stay in the right lane as you take the off ramp to Greenbelt Road. Turn right at Greenbelt Road and go West on Greenbelt Road for approximately one-half mile. Turn right at the traffic light onto Southway. Continue on Southway until you see Roosevelt Center Shopping Center. Enter the shopping center by going straight over Crescent Road, which will lead you between the Greenbelt Municipal Building and the Roosevelt Center. The spots you’ll see to your right along Centerway (in front of the storefront in Roosevelt Center) are limited to 30 minutes and one hour, so continue to the parking lot to the left. Park your vehicle and walk toward the shops. The first you’ll pass is the New Deal Café to your right. The Theatre is located across the square from the New Deal Café.

From the Greenbelt Metro Station (Green line):

Take the G12 or G14 Metro bus from the Greenbelt Metro Station. Get off at the Crescent Road and Gardenway stop. Walk toward Roosevelt Center. The Theater is located at 125 and 129 Centerway, closest to the Greenbelt Co-op Grocery Store, and across the plaza from the New Deal Café.

THE WMATA G12/G14 BUSES RUN EVERY DAY. CLICK HERE FOR A MAP AND SCHEDULE.

 

Take Prince George’s County “TheBus” Route 11 from the Greenbelt Metro (Bus Bay E). Get off at the bus stop at the corner of Crescent Road and Gardenway. Walk toward Roosevelt Center Shopping Center. The Theater is located at 125 and 129 Centerway, closest to the Greenbelt Co-op Grocery Store, and across the plaza from the New Deal Café. 

THE BUS OPERATES MONDAY-FRIDAY EVERY THIRTY MINUTES BETWEEN 5:18 AM TO 8:29 PM. NO SERVICE IS PROVIDED ON SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS OR MAJOR HOLIDAYS. CLICK HERE FOR A MAP AND SCHEDULE.

Parking

There is ample free parking in the lot behind the Greenbelt Municipal Building (25 Crescent Road). Note that the parking lots on Centerway in front of the Roosevelt Center shops are limited to 30 minute and 1 hour parking, and are therefore not suitable options for patrons coming to films (though there are handicap spots in that row for patrons needing easier accessibility).

There are also lots on the opposite side of the Roosevelt Center behind the Greenbelt Auto & Truck Repair, next to the Greenbelt Co-op Grocery Store. 

Finally, there is a parking lot behind Roosevelt Center next to the Greenbelt Aquatic & Fitness Center. Patrons will need to go up the long staircase beside the Greenbelt Arts Center to enter the plaza and main entrance of the Theatre.