What's on Tap

What's on Tap

DPAC's growth has been 'wicked' fast

Posted January 6, 2015

When the popular musical "Wicked" hits the Durham Performing Arts Center Wednesday night, it will be the show's third time playing the venue. It is among the hundreds that have graced the center since its opening in 2008.

"A lot of times, we are the only stop in North Carolina (for touring shows)," senior director of marketing Rachel Traversari said. "We're the biggest performing arts center between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and I think that's one of the drawing points." 

Durham Mayor William Bell also credits the venue's success to a partnership between the city and Duke University. 

"We were able to build the theater that you see primarily because Duke was able to provide $7.5 million," Bell said. 

Since opening six years ago, the DPAC has garnered numerous honors, including being named a finalist last year for a Billboard Magazine Touring Award for top venue under 5,000 seats. It has also ranked among the top venues for attendance in the nation. 

From Broadway touring shows to world-class comedians, the DPAC hosts more than 180 performances a year. 

Bell says the DPAC has helped transform downtown and serve as a catalyst for revitalization, attracting new tenants to the area, including luxury hotel 21c. 

"When we talked to them, they said one of the attractions for coming to Durham was the DPAC and the number of people it was bringing in," he said. 

The Aloft hotel is opening right next to the DPAC, and numerous restaurants continue to open in the American Tobacco Campus building nearby. 

"Restaurants and hotels and nightlife continue to grow, and DPAC continues to be a beacon for that area," Traversari said. 


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  • eyeoneastsky Jan 7, 2015

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    Gentrification is causing many decent law abiding poor people to either die or be driven to living in the streets. They cannot afford the high rent that your yuppies can. May they reap what they are sowing and become homeless.

  • jurydoc Jan 7, 2015

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    Yes, because we all know that Duke is a massive "public" source of funding.

  • Joseph Shepard Jan 7, 2015
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    Been to the DPAC several times, and have enjoyed each show, and not had a bit of trouble. But, not just Durham, but with any city--there are areas that people recognize as being unsafe, and you stay out of them.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 7, 2015

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    I go where I want I'm just smart about it.

  • iopsyc Jan 7, 2015

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    You should probably just stay inside all day; it's safer there.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 7, 2015

    As long as you enter and exit the down town area from the west towards Duke you'll probably be fine I'd never go unarmed though. Just avoid going north south or east of downtown.

  • Christopher Rose Jan 6, 2015
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    Give it up. Durham is not that dangerous now. Go take a look for yourself. Gentrification of hipster yuppies is driving out the crime and jacking the prices and rents. Crime can't afford to live there anymore unless you count white collar crime.