The Durham Performing Arts Center is getting a makeover.
A $1.8 million renovation of DPAC began Monday with workers removing 2,700 seats and carpet. DPAC, which opened in 2008, has been one of the busiest venues in the country. It was time for a good sprucing up.
“Usually projects like this would be done after about 15 to 20 years, but we’ve been fortunate to have had so many guests at DPAC that the change to new carpet and seats needed to be made earlier than normal to keep DPAC among the very best theaters in America,” DPAC’s General Manager Bob Klaus said in a news release. “We are most excited about using this opportunity to install a much improved seat so that guests can be even more comfortable when they come to DPAC to enjoy a superstar live event.”
DPAC isn’t just one of the country’s top-drawing arts venues — it’s in the top 10 worldwide.
DPAC was rated No. 4 among U.S. theaters in terms of attendance, according to Pollstar’s mid-year rankings released in July. It held 223 events during the ranking period and sold more than 240,000 tickets. That ranked DPAC No. 6 in the world for theater-sized venues, behind The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
DPAC’s Facebook page featured pictures of the initial work. It showed all seats from Section 1, the one closest to the stage, as well as a good number from Section 4 on the right side of the theater already removed.
The project is being paid for out of a dedicated account maintained by the City of Durham. It is funded by a facility fee on each ticket sold at DPAC.
“These improvements are the best kind of investment in DPAC, ones that will continue to beautify the theater, while enhancing the comfort of the millions of show and concert guests season after season to come,” Durham mayor Bill Bell said in a news release.
DPAC’s signature red carpet will remain red. The new carpet will be a blend of two shades of red. It also will be fade resistant, an upgrade over the original, in light of the building’s numerous windows.
The new seats are from a seating company that is used by 95 percent of New York’s Broadway theaters, according to a news release.
Once the seats are replaced, the old ones will find new homes. DPAC said the seats will be donated.
Jordan High School in Durham will receive 1,041 seats for its auditorium. Carrboro will get 180 for the Arts Center, while Fuquay-Varina will get 330 for its new arts center. The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources will receive 600 to replace seats in two theaters. The remaining 500 seats will be placed in surplus.
The venue is owned by the City of Durham and is operated by Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management.