National Tours Leave Mark (Literally) on Walls of the Durham Performing Arts Center

Backstage the walls at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) boast a who’s who of A-list stars. That’s because every act from Robin Williams to Rob Lowe who has performed at DPAC from the time the theater opened its doors in 2008, has signed the hallowed halls. And the celebrities aren’t the only ones who have left their mark. Every national touring production since Rent opened at DPAC in January 2009 has “tagged” the walls with a painted logo.


In 2011, the national touring production of Shrek painted the first “mimic” logo, which has become a DPAC wall tag tradition ever since. The mimic wall tags appropriate logos from other shows. For example, the School of Rock wall tag is reminiscent of the poster from The Sound of Music and The Sound of Music company painted a mimic logo reminiscent of The Book of Mormon.


DPAC isn’t the only theater with wall tags. Other theaters like the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California, the Ohio Theatre in Columbus and The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis all have large amounts of wall tags and autographs. In fact, according to Paige McNamara, who toured internationally with the company of Sister Act, wall tags have started to become a tradition at theaters overseas as well. McNamara says the Sister Act Asia Tour was one of the first productions to tag the walls at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre in Singapore.

At DPAC, several floors backstage are covered with wall tags and signatures, but according to Jacob Holland, DPAC’s Membership Manager, there are still empty walls to be painted. Holland says the public can see the wall tags during one of DPAC’s monthly behind-the-scenes tours. For more information visit:

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Did you know…

  • DPAC is owned by the City of Durham but operated by PFM and Nederlander, who operates 24 facilities worldwide including theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, Tucson, and London.
  • DPAC is currently the #4 ranked theater in the United States (according to Pollstar magazine’s annual worldwide theater rankings.
  • DPAC has 2700 seats, and the furthest seat in Section 8 of the third level balcony is still only 135 feet from the stage.
  • DPAC is the largest performing arts center in the Carolinas.



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