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A Guide to Durham Performing Arts Center, DPAC

Explore your guide to Durham Performing Arts Center, complete with venue details, recommendations and FAQs.

Posted By Heather Darnell on Jun 28, 2024

If you’re headed to Durham Performing Arts Center, DPAC, prepare to be dazzled by one of the top ranking theaters in the United States! DPAC is known for hosting spectacular touring Broadway productions, high-profile concert and comedy events, family shows and festivals in Durham, North Carolina. DPAC aims to entertain all types of audiences, hosting over 250 performances a year, impressing young and old alike. Owned by the City of Durham and operated under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management, DPAC is regularly recognized as one of the top performing arts organizations in the region and in the nation.

The venue front of Durham Performing Arts Center welcomes viewers on a sunny day.

DPAC hosts all kinds of amazing performances and events year-round. Photo: DPAC

DPAC has hosted popular and sell-out Broadway shows like Hamilton, Wicked and The Lion King; comedy acts like Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan and Trevor Noah; musical artists like Patti LaBelle, Lucinda Williams and Harry Connick Jr.; and performances like Disney’s Frozen, Dancing with the Stars and The Nutcracker. Your favorite artists and acts are sure to have graced the DPAC stage, or will make an upcoming appearance soon.

Centrally located in downtown Durham, DPAC is located next to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the historic American Tobacco campus. It’s easily walkable to restaurants, bars and shops for dinner, drinks and more to round out a full night out in Durham. Grab dinner, see a show and stay the night in downtown Durham to make the most of your magical entertainment experience.

DPAC Venue Details

From the street-level of downtown Durham the striking rectangular glass facade of DPAC can’t be missed. At performances, friendly staff welcome visitors through the glass doors and onto a red carpet. Guests are then pointed up the grand staircases and hallways to the theater doors. The stage at DPAC is one of the largest in the region, allowing larger Broadway productions and shows to perform at scale. The theater seats 2,700 people, which is spacious enough for world-renowned artists and intimate enough to have an unforgettable evening. Boasting an orchestra level along with tier and balcony levels, there is truly no bad seat in the house. From the moment you slip into the cushy red velvet seats, you’ll leave your worries behind as you laugh, cry and sing along in a memorable experience.

A wide-angle view displays the large amount of comfortable seating in the Durham Performing Arts Center.

DPAC's seating arrangements leave for a great view for all guests. Photo: DPAC

History, Mission, Values and Impact

When DPAC was built, it brought to life a vision for the arts in Durham and the Triangle region. Now, DPAC welcomes more than 600,000 guests every year who travel from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro and all over the East Coast. These visitors experience one-of-a-kind live entertainment events including Broadway, concerts, comedy and family shows. Since its opening in 2008, DPAC has generated over 1.2 billion dollars in measured economic impact and that continues to grow. DPAC is guided by its vision, mission and values, which has made it a fixture in the community. DPAC strives to produce great entertainment experiences and to be its guests’ favorite place for live events while valuing quality, safety and service delivered with warmth, friendliness and attention to detail. DPAC also welcomes all guests, performers and events in an open, friendly and respectful setting and stands committed against all forms of discrimination. DPAC’s values align with the City of Durham’s mission, as it works to make Durham a great place to live, work and play.

A group of employees stand and bow at a closing ceremony at Durham Performing Arts Center under Durham flag colored lights.

DPAC is committed to delivering quality, safe, one-of-a-kind experiences to all who come through its doors. Photo: SP Murray

Community Involvement

Community involvement is one of DPAC’s core values and is embodied in several programs and initiatives that serve the local community:

  • Next Stop Broadway is a week-long theater intensive for 10-17 year-olds
  • The DPAC Rising Star Awards recognizes achievements in high school musical theater throughout Central North Carolina
  • Performing Arts Ambassadors provides opportunities for high schoolers to shadow DPAC staff across multiple departments, attend events and report on their experiences
  • DPAC for All is an initiative to make the arts accessible to Durham residents at a reduced ticket rate
  • Local Hero Spotlight recognizes locals who do great things in service to their communities and or families
  • One Community provides opportunities for local charities, non-profits and youth driven organizations to have access to tickets for touring events
  • Discover Broadway is a ticket donation program that allows season ticket holders to donate unused seats to low-income students.
  • DPAC also reserves select days to waive rental fees for charitable and community events

Annual Programming, Events and Festivals

Each year, DPAC hosts touring productions of popular Broadway shows, along with annual events and festivals.

The Truist Broadway Series

Each year the Truist Broadway Series welcomes several travelling Broadway shows to the DPAC stage. These productions replicate the experience one would have on Broadway in New York City. In the past DPAC has hosted shows like Hamilton, Wicked, The Lion King, The Book of Morman, Les Misérables and other popular productions. Broadway enthusiasts have the option to purchase individual or season tickets to the entire series each season. Learn more about upcoming Broadway shows.

A giant Hamilton poster covers the side of Durham Performing Arts Center.

Get tickets to a Broadway experience at DPAC. Photo: Discover Durham

The Bull City Food & Beer Experience

DPAC also hosts annual festivals like the Bull City Food & Beer Experience, which features unlimited food and beer sampling from more than 25 local restaurants and breweries spread throughout all three of DPAC’s floors. The event features live music and benefits a good cause.


What Is DPAC?

DPAC is one of Durham's biggest attractions, located in downtown Durham's American Tobacco Campus district near many restaurants, bars and hotels.

Where is DPAC Located?

123 Vivian St., next to the Aloft Hotel and Durham Bulls Athletic Park.


DPAC meets or exceeds ADA standards. The venue offers accessible seating, parking, bathrooms, courtesy wheelchairs and listening devices. Audio captioning, audio description and sign language interpretation are available at select shows and upon request. Service animals are welcome at DPAC. Read more in its accessibility guide.

How to Purchase DPAC Tickets?

Purchase tickets via the DPAC website. Mobile tickets are preferred, and the use of DPAC's mobile app makes storing and organizing your tickets easy. You can also call the box office at 919-680-2787 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What are DPAC's Age Requirements?

Children under six are not allowed at most DPAC performances and teens under 16 are required to have a chaperone.

Can I Bring a Bag to DPAC?

All guests and their bags are subject to inspection before entry. Small bags are recommended.

Are Refreshments Available During Shows?

DPAC has lobby bars with snacks and drinks available for purchase. Drinks include soft drinks, bottled water, cocktails, wine and beer. Snacks include a variety of candy, chips, soft pretzels and fresh baked cookies.

Where Should I Go for Dinner and Drinks Before or After a Show at DPAC?

There are dozens of restaurants and bars within walking distance of DPAC. Several locally-owned restaurants and bars are located near DPAC in the American Tobacco district, including NanaSteak, Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, Boricua Soul, Ekhaya, QueenBurger, Seraphine and The Waiting Room. Durham also has a social district, “The Bullpen,” where visitors can enjoy alcoholic beverages served to-go at participating businesses while walking outside, and at retail businesses allowing open containers. Discover more downtown Durham Restaurants and learn more about the Bullpen social district.

What Shows, Artists and Acts are Coming to DPAC?

See the complete list of upcoming shows and plan your visit today.

String lights hang over the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.

Bookend your amazing night at DPAC with the dreamy ambiance of The American Tobacco Campus. Photo: Keenan Hairston

Where to Stay Near DPAC

When you come to Durham to attend a show, festival or event at DPAC, don't forget you'll be right in the heart of downtown Durham, a walkable district with plenty of new things to see and do. There are several hotels within walking distance of DPAC:

  • Aloft Durham Downtown Located right next to DPAC near the American Tobacco Campus, Aloft offers a modern aesthetic, heated pool and proximity to plenty of dining and entertainment options (.1 miles from DPAC).
  • 21c Museum Hotel Explore the hotel’s art collection and snag a selfie with the 21c mascot – a hot magenta penguin (.3 miles from DPAC).
  • The Durham Hotel A mid-century boutique hotel with a celebrated restaurant and rooftop bar (.3 miles from DPAC).
  • Unscripted Durham An eclectic hotel with a rooftop deck, pool and unique cocktail and cuisine options. (.3 miles from DPAC).
  • Springhill Suites by Marriott City View A stylish, all-suite hotel with modern amenities and sustainable practices. Enjoy free breakfast and bring along the pup for a pet-friendly stay. (.3 miles from DPAC).

About the Author

Heather Darnell
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If eating in Durham were a sport, Heather Darnell would be on the winning team. She craves omakase meals at MSushi, the barbacoa tacos at Taqueria La Vaquita, and the gingersnaps at Rose’s. She also loves to see shows at the Durham Performing Arts Center and the Carolina Theatre. Heather enjoys freelance writing and spending time with her husband and two young children.