When it comes to great performing arts in North Carolina's Research Triangle Region, your options are limited only by the length of your visit. Whether you choose to rest overnight in Chapel Hill/Orange County, Durham, Raleigh/Wake County or Smithfield/Johnston County, there's a surrounding region that’s filled with things for arts-lovers to do.

For lovers of the four major disciplines, we’ve got you covered:

  • Classical Music: Chapel Hill has the UNC Symphony Orchestra, Durham has its Durham Symphony Orchestra and Raleigh has the North Carolina Symphony, Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra and Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. Also, there are smaller but no less renowned choirs, chorales and chamber players performing in each destination.
  • Dance: Chapel Hill is home to the Triangle Youth Ballet, Durham to the African American Dance Ensemble and American Dance Festival and Raleigh to the Carolina Ballet. Many other groups perform during the year at the region’s performing arts centers (see sidebar at right).
  • Opera: The UNC Opera is based in Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina Opera is based in Raleigh. Both stage performances throughout the year and across the region.
  • Theatre: The Deep Dish Theater Company and PlayMakers Repertory Company entertain in Chapel Hill, Manbites Dog Theater Company and the SunTrust Broadway Series offer performances in Durham and North Carolina Theatre produces Broadway shows in Raleigh. Dozens of other troupes round out the region’s local offerings, plus the region’s major performing arts centers host nationally touring shows.

Most of the Triangle’s 14 colleges and universities, including Duke, Meredith College, N.C. Central, N.C. State and UNC, stage student productions and also host international performers during their school year. Savvy visitors can experience one-of-a-kind performances through these school’s arts programs.

What’s more, there are burgeoning entertainment and nightlife scenes throughout the Triangle. These offer thousands of opportunities to enjoy live music and local bands any time of year. Carrboro and Chapel Hill are known as indie-rock havens, Durham is remembered for jazz and Bull City blues and Raleigh is noted for its PNC Arena and five concert amphitheatres.

Plan your Triangle arts getaway using official visitor information, including a detailed calendar of events, from the region’s four destinations:

Chapel Hill/Orange County | Durham County
Johnston County
| Wake County

performing arts sampler

While you’ll never run out of indigenous arts to see here, the Research Triangle Region also provides plenty of opportunities to see national, touring acts in its destinations’ small, mid-size and large performing arts venues. The ArtsCenter in Carrboro presents jazz, folk-traditional and world music in an intimate setting; the Durham Performing Arts Center draws sellout crowds to Broadway shows and other acts with international acclaim; and, Raleigh’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts hosts nationally recognized performers, concerts and comedians in its suite of live-performance venues.

For enjoying the performing arts in Johnston County, visit the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium or Neuse Little Theatre in Smithfield, The Clayton Center in historic downtown Clayton or the W. J. Barefoot Auditorium in Benson; the Farm Entertainment Venue brings nationally-renowned country and beach music artists, and The American Music Jubilee delivers family fun with a mix of county, classic rock and gospel.

Map of the Triangle