Presentation: Betsy Kessler – DPAC Group Sales

Following an invocation from Rotarian Kim Blair, the awarding of Paul Harris Society honors to folks integral to Croasdaile Village Retirement Community and finally the Rotary induction of John Blanton by fellow Rotarian Eric Benson, the day’s speaker, Betsy Kessler from DPAC group sales was introduced by Rotarian Carver Weaver. 

Carver Weaver introduced Betsy to the Club

Betsy and her DPAC team are behind the group pricing rates that the Rotary Club has been able to secure and allow more than 20 children from East Durham Children’s Initiative and several International Rotary Youth Exchange students to attend the Aladdin performance this past autumn. 

 Originally from the Philadelphia area, in 2008, Betsy became the first hire at the DPAC as a sales representative. In November that year, DPAC opened with four shows and has grown that number into 8. Since its inception, it has consistently ranked top 10 in the nation in sales and ended 2019 ranked third. 

 DPAC shows are full 90 percent of the time or more and saw more than 520,000 attendants, 20,000 of them season subscribers, came through its doors last year. Because of its constant sell-outs, Betsy suggested Rotarians interested in attending shows come in groups of 10 or more to see a performance. In fact, groups have the first opportunity to see DPAC’s upcoming Wicked performance in September. 

 Betsy mentioned how touching it was to have Carver and other Rotarians bringing underprivileged youth to DPAC. 

 “One kid said that she would have never, ever had the opportunity to go to one of these shows,” Betsy said if it hadn’t been made possible by Rotary.  

 To hear that, she said, broke her heart. 

 “What Rotary does for these kids is great,” she added. 

 Betsy shared that the folks making DPAC run are one of her favorite reasons to stay. In her 12 years at the theater no one has ever been fired and she noted that everyone working there consistently receives A+ ratings. This is possible due to extensive customer service training as well as spot checks. 

 Staff, which works 30 hours per week, is trained to treat guests like they would want to be treated. 

 Betsy said if there is some performance that Rotarians wish to see and it’s not at the DPAC, to send an email and if there’s enough interest, they will get it. 

 In addition to what DPAC has done for EDCI kids, the performing arts center has touched youth in other ways like donating their original overhauled theater seats to Durham Public Schools and their auditoriums like at Jordan High School. 

 Rotarian Nick Malinowski, executive director at the local youth orchestra Kidznotes, said that DPAC has invited the youth orchestra to play at the venue Fri., Feb. 7. 

 “Students play in the DPAC lobby so they are a great partner,” Nick said. 

 Even with the recent opening of the Steven Tanger Center for Performing Arts in Greensboro, Betsy said with about 40 percent of guests attending DPAC are coming from outside of Durham and the two venues will never have the same shows at the same time. 

 She mentioned that the “slow” season at DPAC is typically summer and mid-winter when new subscribers sign up and the list of new shows are released. Still, she said, shows are constantly running. 

 “December has 31 days and we had 21 shows,” she said. “We’re always busy.” 

Submitted By – Carlton Koonce



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