Studio 1 Theatre

2408 Hillsborough Street,
Raleigh, NC 27607

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: North Carolina Theatres, Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: Erle G. Stillwell

Functions: Retail

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Varsity Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Studio 1 Theatre

First opened as the Varsity Theatre on November 22, 1941 with Dorothy Lamour in “Moon Over Burma”. It had a seating capacity of 505. It was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary H.F. Kincey. Later operated by North Carolina Theatres.

I never went to this theatre. But, I remember it being located on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, NC, located across from NC State University. It became Studio 1 in the early-1970’s. It was closed on September 13, 1984 with Timothy Bottoms in “The Last Picture Show”. It was turned into a McDonald’s which has since departed and it is now a book store.

I remember the new Studio I & II that was opened up the street in the Electric Company Mall. God, that was AWFUL!!! It was claustrophobic and the seats were uncomfortable as hell.

Contributed by Travis Tarrant

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Micah on September 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm

One more thing, the Varsity/Studio 1 had 350 seats when it closed. I’m nearly certain this was the capacity for it’s entire life. This was not a large theater at all. There is no way it could have ever sat 700 as the description above states.

raysson on March 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm

THE SOUND OF MUSIC played here as a re-issue in October of 1966. It was a general release showing for those who didn’t see it the first time where it played for 61 weeks at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre.

raysson on March 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Correct: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS was not a reserved seat engagement showing at Raleigh’s Varsity Theatre. The film’s Eastern North Carolina premiere was a reserved seat engagement on May 16,1957 as Raleigh’s State Theatre,not the Varsity Theatre.

The Varsity Theatre’s ONLY reserved seat engagement was for the Eastern North Carolina premiere showing of Cecil B. DeMille’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS on November 23,1957.

I have in my possession the ads for this and if you need to see them please by all means contact me at the following address at

Thank You.

travistarrant on July 10, 2014 at 8:56 pm

The one thing I hated so much about the Studio 1 and 2 that opened up at The Electric Company Mall was the seats were so uncomfortable. It was like sitting on concrete slabs.

raysson on November 9, 2015 at 2:59 pm

VARSITY THEATRE opening November 9, 1941 with 505 seats. Closed in the early-1970’s when it became the STUDIO 1 cinema with 493 seats.

Jibby on February 25, 2016 at 9:35 am

I’ll always remember the Studio 1 because I first experienced the Marv Newland’s marvelous work “Bambi Meets Godzilla” there at an animation film festival in the mid 70’s.

rivest266 on May 5, 2020 at 1:20 pm

This reopened as the Studio One on November 22nd, 1972. Grand opening ad posted.

DavidZornig on February 16, 2023 at 9:14 pm

January 1948 photo in below Facebook link. Marquee on far left.

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