Lost Colony

1409 National Park Drive (off U.S. Highway 64), Waterside Theatre, inside Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo
(252) 473-2127
(252) 473-6000

In July of 1587, 117 English men, women and children came ashore on Roanoke Island with the commission from Queen Elizabeth I to establish a permanent English settlement in the New World. They vanished just three years later. The only clues were “CROATOAN" carved into the surface of an abandoned structure and the letters "CRO" carved into a nearby tree. After nearly 450 years, the mystery of what happened to the colonists remains unsolved. The Lost Colony outdoor drama is their story.

The Lost Colony, Paul Green's Symphonic Outdoor Drama, is performed on the site where these actual events occurred. Each summer, a company of more than 100 actors, technicians, dancers, designers and volunteers bring The Lost Colony to life for another season. The production is enormous. The stage itself is three times larger than most Broadway stages in New York City. You are seated in an open-air theater, located on the Roanoke Sound, with the stars above and live action happening on three sides. See epic battles and Indian dances. Experience the sorrow and heartbreak of tragedy and loss. Witness the pageantry of the queen and her court and celebrate the birth of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America. There is music, laughter, romance and dance.

The Lost Colony is the “grandfather” of all outdoor dramas and is produced by the Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA), a nonprofit organization with the mission to celebrate the history of the first English colonies on Roanoke Island and to honor the founders of The Lost Colony through drama, education and literature. Outer Banks locals and visitors have loved it for more than eight decades. Seeing the play is a quintessential Outer Banks activity. 

The 2020 season begins May 29 and runs through August 21. Shows are performed nightly, Monday through Saturday, at 7:45 p.m. Ticket prices start at $20. Tickets are half-price for children ages 12 and younger and free for kids 5 and younger every night. Monday nights, all children age 12 and younger get in free. Senior, military, AAA, group discounts and VIP packages are available. For best seats, advance reservations are recommended. For tickets call (252) 473-6000 or purchase online anytime.

Backstage Tours are offered at 6:30 p.m. and cost $10 (free for children ages 5 and younger). The theater opens at 7:15 p.m. for seating. The house breezeways, with restrooms, a gift shop and concession stands (including wine and beer), open at 6 p.m. The show starts promptly at 7:45 p.m. and lasts two hours, with a 15-minute intermission. The play ends at approximately 10 p.m.

On Thursday evenings at 6:15 p.m., The Lost Colony hosts a Royal Tea. Enjoy tea and sweets and take pictures with Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth. Tickets cost $12 ($5 for ages 3 to 5 and free for children 2 and younger) and seating is limited so be sure to reserve this experience in advance. You do not have to attend The Lost Colony to experience tea with the queen.

The 2020 children’s show is Mystery of the Lost Colony. Members of The Lost Colony cast and crew stage a fun children's show in the air-conditioned SoundStage Theatre every summer. Mystery of the Lost Colony runs June 17 to August 20, Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $10, and children ages 2 and younger get in free.

The 4th Annual Lost Colony Wine, Beer & Culinary Festival Grand Tasting will be held on the grounds of The Lost Colony on Saturday, September 26, 2020. Tickets go on sale July 1.