History of the Sunrise

The Sunrise Theater is situated amidst the magnolias and long-leaf pines on Broad Street in Southern Pines, North Carolina. The building, erected in 1898, began as a hardware store. In the 1940s, the building became a movie theater which remained a staple of downtown Southern Pines for over 40 years. When the movie house closed its doors, for what appeared to be its last time, in the early 1980s, the Arts Council of Moore County (ACMC) and the Sandhills Little Theater rallied enough community support to restore the building and give it a third life as the Performing Arts Center, owned and operated by ACMC.

exterior-view-sunrise-1953In 1998, ACMC transferred the theater's operation to the Sunrise Preservation Group (SPG), citizens concerned with keeping the theater alive for the community. SPG formed a not-for-profit organization and through dedicated effort, compromise and goodwill, the historical theater building has a new lease on life. ACMC transferred ownership of the theater building to the Sunrise Preservation Group in 2005.

Today, the Sunrise Preservation Group is running a thriving entertainment center, an "Art House" of sorts. Another great Sunrise eventWith first-run and independent films running weekly, the movies at Sunrise have become a popular source of entertainment for Sandhills residents. Musical concerts, live broadcasts of the Met Opera, live community theater and a smorgasbord of other offerings has helped Sunrise Theater continue to be the cornerstone of arts and entertainment in the Sandhills.

2017 Sunrise History Poster

The illustrated history of the Sunrise Theater from 1898 to 2016 is presented in the image to the left. In addition to the timeline of events, it is sprinkled with interesting trivia about the Sunrise. To view a larger, more legible image, simply click on "The Sunrise" image on the left. It will open the larger image in browser window of it's own.

Rent the Sunrise

Sunrise Outdoor 2

The Sunrise Theater has two incredible venues perfect for your event, right in the heart of historic and charming Southern Pines.

Sunrise Theater IndoorThe theater, with comfortable seating for 360, is ideal for business meetings, presentations, private movie showings, musical performances and so much more.









Sunrise outdoorThe outdoor space, First Bank Stage at Sunrise Square, has an impressive covered stage and expansive lawn. This beautiful park-like setting is ideal for outdoor weddings, parties, children's events, exercise classes, business presentations, live concerts, movies and more. 








Both locations just need your imagination to make them come alive!

Contact the Sunrise Theater office for more information (910) 692-3611.


Support the Sunrise - Sponsor a Movie or Event

The Sunrise Theater offers numerous opportunities to promote your organization at a variety of financial levels. Pick an event that represents your brand or mission and a sponsorship level that meets your budget. The Sunrise will do the rest.

Your support of the Sunrise will be seen on the big screen by movie goers leading up to your event. Your name or logo will be featured in advertising campaigns, on posters, and blasted to thousands via social media. And you'll be thanked for your support of the Sunrise before every movie in the pre-show announcements. 

Contact the Sunrise Theater office at (910) 692-3611 for more information.

The historic Sunrise Theater is a community focused, community supported, non-profit venue.


2019 Best of the Pines