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Chapel Hill and Durham art venues offer discounted tickets to students

Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall is Carolina Performing Arts' largest venue. Carolina Performing Arts plans to implement sensory-friendly systems to make their productions more inclusive for patrons. 

Bound by budgets, students still have ample opportunity to attend performances in Chapel Hill and the surrounding area with an array of venues offering student discounts. 

The ArtsCenter near Cat's Cradle in Carrboro is running a back-to-school offer for UNC students to attend concerts with a 25 percent discount through Sept. 22. The discount promo is STUDENT2019. 

Patrick Phelps-McKeown, marketing director for the ArtsCenter, said the goal of the center is to be a community hub where the price of events doesn't deter students from coming. 

“We try to have a range of offerings, so we are not excluding anyone who wants to experience world-class quality art here,” Phelps-McKeown said. 

While the ArtsCenter charges more for popular artists, they also offer free events, such as movie screenings. On Aug. 31, No Shame Theatre will offer anyone a chance to present their own short monologues, comedic skits, songs, dances or other means of performance. The fee for No Shame Theatre is $5 and will be hosted at the West End Theater in Carrboro. 

“On a general level, we try to keep prices for events reasonable for college students and people on a budget,” Phelps-McKeown said. “About half of our tickets are under $25, and a quarter are $15 or less, very reasonable prices for performing arts shows.” 

In January 2019, another performance venue opened in Durham — Rhythms Live Music Hall. Victor Graham, owner and operator of Rhythms Live Music Hall, said the venue usually attracts an older crowd because he aims to capture the essence of musical performance that was more present before the 90s. 

“We offer exposure to dynamic presentation, and most of our stuff is nostalgic,” Graham said. “When younger people come, they have a ball because they see things in a pure form that isn’t watered down by changes of the times.” 

Still, Graham said students who have come have really enjoyed their time. To incentivize student engagement, all students can get a 20 percent discount on tickets at the door. 

“I have been a student once. I know what it is like," Graham said. "Many students don’t have the corporate jobs to have a high income, and I want to give them an opportunity to come here.” 

The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) offers discounted tickets for students of all ages. Discounts range from 20 to 75 percent, and tickets can be picked up at the ticket center two hours before showings with a student ID. Upcoming student discounted shows include "Aladdin" in October and "A Bronx Tale" in November. 

On campus, Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) provides undergraduate and graduate UNC students with $10 tickets to all shows. Sometimes students can even buy two student-priced tickets. Occasionally, shows have a cap on the number of student-priced tickets available. 

Along with $10 student tickets, CPA offers Buckley Public Service Scholars free tickets for shows related to their classes. Carolina Covenant students can also redeem free tickets at the box office for most shows. 

Christina Rodriguez, associate director of marketing and communications for CPA, said about 30 percent of ticket buyers are students, which she said is a fairly high number for a university presenter. 

“It is very gratifying to know our undergraduate and graduate students are taking advantage of the $10 tickets we offer,” Rodriguez said. “Carolina Performing Arts has evolved quite a lot in programing, and I would encourage students take advantage of these student prices, as many who have graduated say they miss the opportunity for these low prices for great shows.” 

CPA has offered student-priced tickets since it opened 15 years ago. A 15 percent discount is also offered for UNC faculty and staff. Coordinators with CPA work with UNC staff to incorporate attending shows as part of class curriculum to engage more students with performing arts on campus. 

“I really think that the arts are such an important mechanism to broaden student horizons, to expose people to new ideas and engage them in the business of asking questions of the world,” Rodriguez said.


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