First-Time Guests

Things You Need to Know for a Great Visit

Let go of any ideas you may have about a Performing Arts Center, and open yourself up to a new live entertainment experience unlike any other you’ll find in the region.

1. We're Here To Help.

Above all, we hope you enjoy your experience at DPAC, and please know that we are here to help. If you have a question or need assistance of any kind, please just ask a member of our staff. We believe in great entertainment experiences, and we want to be our guests’ favorite place for live events.

2. There is No Dress Code.

While going to DPAC is certainly a special occasion, there is no required dress code. You'll probably be most comfortable in casual business attire, but you’ll often see people in jeans, khakis, and other more less formal wear. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it, and you can too, but most of all we want our guests to be comfortable.

We would ask you to politely consider other guests’ possible allergic reactions when applying fragrances like perfumes or colognes, as DPAC is a closed area with many people in close proximity to each other.

3. Come Early. Don't Be Late.

It's the #1 complaint we hear from our veteran guests. Late-arriving guests can truly dampen the magic and the mood that is created when the lights go down and a performance starts. We recommend planning your travel so that you arrive in downtown Durham no later than 45-60 minutes before show time. You should then budget about 15 minutes to park and walk to the theater. There is nothing worse than having to rush to the theater, and then arrive just as the doors close for the start of the show. Our lobby doors open 60 minutes prior to show time; seating areas open 30 minutes prior to show time for Broadway, 30-60 minutes prior to show time for concerts, comedy and other events. With the schedule we recommend above, you'll arrive with plenty of time to find your seat, get settled, or enjoy a pre-show drink or a light snack. Also, if you’re late, you may end up listening to the beginning of the show from the lobby. Most shows require that our ushers hold late arrivals in the lobby until a suitable pause in the program. The timing of allowing late arrivals into the seating area is determined by the show and designed to cause as little disruption as possible to other guests and the performers on stage.

Added note: On show dates that coincide with a Durham Bulls home game, please allow yourself an additional 10-15 minutes travel time.

4. Snacks and Refreshments.

We invite you to enjoy drinks and light snacks before the show in the BlueCross BlueShield Atrium. The atrium has three distinct lobbies: Entry Lobby (Ground Floor); Orchestra Lobby (2nd Floor); and the Grand Tier / Balcony Lobby (3rd Floor).

Snack and Beverage Windows: In each of our three lobbies are permanent snack and beverage windows; Entry Lobby – Broadway Bar, Orchestra Lobby – Encore Café and Stage Door Bar, Grand Tier / Balcony Lobby—Applause Café and Backstage Bar. These locations feature soft drinks, bottled water, wine by the glass (Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris), and a selection of premium domestic beer. Our snack menu includes a variety of candy, chips, pretzels and fresh baked cookies. Please note that while we do sell a limited menu of hot food items such as hot dogs and pizza, our overall menu is much more snack-oriented than meal-oriented. For recommended pre-show dining options, please visit the Plan Your Visit page at

Lobby Bars: Located in the Entry, Orchestra and Grand Tier / Balcony Lobbies, these stand-alone bars focus on a beverage menu as follows:

Cocktails: Featuring Jack Daniels, Tanqueray Gin, Jim Beam Bourbon, José Cuervo Tequila, Bacardi Rum, Malibu Coconut Rum, Johnnie Walker - Red Label Scotch Whiskey, Smirnoff Vodka, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Amaretto Liqueur, and Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey

Wine Selections: DPAC's House Wines include highly-rated selections of Columbia Crest-Grand Estates Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. These are available at all Lobby Bars. For guests looking for a wider selection of wine varietals, please visit the Skyline Wine and Martini Bar in the Orchestra Lobby. This special location offers an expanded menu of premium wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Sparkling Wine as well as Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris.

Beer Selections: Our lobby bars feature an expanded menu of premium domestic beer, import and craft beer.

Pre-order Drink Service: For Broadway shows, DPAC offers a pre-order drink service. You simply pre-pay for your favorite beverage before the show begins, and it will be ready and waiting for you at the start of intermission.

5. Temperatures

Temperature management in a large four-story high open room filled with 2,700 guests, all with varying perceptions of comfort is a complex challenge. Our temperature settings call for discharge air of between 65 and 70 degrees. By having air of that temperature enter the room, it mixes with the heat from body temperatures and the heat from the theatrical lighting, with the end goal being to achieve a temperature of 70 to 74 degrees. This range can be affected by many factors including closeness of the air vents, the air pressure of the system, the number of guests at the event and the amount of humidity in the air coming into the system. In analyzing our guest survey feedback, about 6% of guests tell us that temperatures are the #1 thing we could improve at DPAC. Of that 6%, about half said temperatures were too warm and the other half said temperatures were too cool. As you can see from this survey data, meeting everyone's sense of the perfect temperature is a complicated part of managing a large public assembly building like DPAC since perceptions of warm and cold can vary greatly and be affected by the age and gender of each guest. Our recommendation is to dress comfortably for being in a large crowd, and if you are susceptible to cold, just bring a sweatshirt, light jacket or sweater just in case. We wish the temperature could be perfect (and adjustable) in each and every one of our 2,700 seats, but that technology just does not exist yet.

6. Show Length

Most shows usually last two to three hours, and many have an intermission including almost all Broadway shows. You can find the exact schedule posted in the lobby near the doors to the seating area and the restrooms.

7. Intermission

Intermissions for most shows move very quickly and commonly run just 15-20 minutes. While we wish we could extend these breaks, each show we host sets a very strict schedule from which we cannot vary. Within the time allowed, you can socialize with your companions, get a drink or a snack in the lobby, or simply stay in your seat and relax so you'll be ready for the second half of the show.

8. Restrooms

DPAC has twice the number of restrooms as required by code; but for our most popular performances, lines do form, so please plan accordingly. DPAC regularly receives many compliments about our restroom attendants who assist in moving lines quickly so please do not be dissuaded by the lines you might see at the start of intermission.

9. Big and Tall?

For taller guests looking for more legroom, DPAC recommends seats in the Grand Tier, Section 6, Row J. Seats in this aisle offer several inches of added leg room. For guests of size, DPAC also has 30-inch-wide bariatric seating available in all sections of the theater. In addition, DPAC also has aisle seats with removable armrests that rotate open (and allow greater accessibility in and out of the seat) and affords some extra seat width. For more information on any of these seating options please contact our Ticket Center at 919.680.2787 or email us at

10. Content Advisory / Parental Discretion

DPAC offers a diverse selection of entertainment. Not all productions may appeal to or be appropriate for every guest or for all ages. Ticket buyers should take responsibility for making informed decisions regarding their purchases. We recommend visiting the official website of each show, or for popular Broadway shows, websites like are a good resource to learn more about the show you are coming to see at DPAC. If you ever have questions about the content or appropriateness of a show, please contact us at

Guest Etiquette

At DPAC we're committed to Guest Courtesy. Please follow these rules when attending any of our events:

Quiet Please.
Once the show starts, please let the stage be the center of attention. We ask that you turn off all cell phones and limit conversation. If children are attending this performance with you please exit the theater immediately if they become restless or talkative.

It Can Wait.
Please also save texting until AFTER the show. The light from phones is distracting to others throughout the theater. Please keep them turned off.

It’s Superstar Entertainment, not a Food Fest.
Small snacks and drinks are welcome in the seating area, but as a courtesy to those around you, eat and drink as quietly as possible. Please know that odors and noisy wrappers can disturb others. We also ask that you finish sandwiches or other large food items before entering the seating area.

Kids at DPAC.
All guests require a ticket, regardless of age. Children under the age of 6 are not allowed at most DPAC performances including Broadway, Concerts and Comedy shows. Children must be able to sit quietly in their own seat without disturbing other guests. Some shows make further age appropriate recommendations, and DPAC will provide those on its website; however, parental discretion is always advised, and judgment of the content for each show should be made on an individual basis prior to purchase. When available, DPAC provides links to show websites for further information and recommendations. As a further courtesy to our patrons, DPAC recommends one parent or chaperone for every one child in attendance. This policy does not include special kids shows such as Disney Live.

Cameras / Recording
Photography and video recording is prohibited. All electronic devices (cell phones, smart phones, tablets, digital cameras) must be turned off before entering the seating area. Cameras with detachable lens are not allowed into the building, and for some shows no cameras of any kind are allowed including small point-and-shoot cameras.

Arts Center Info

  • 919.680.2787
  • 919.688.3722
The American Tobacco District
123 Vivian Street
Durham, NC 27701

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