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Children's Dinner Theatre: A Child's Introduction To The World Of Live Entertainment

Updated on May 14, 2014
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.

Dinner Theatre
Dinner Theatre | Source

What is a Dinner Theatre?

A Dinner Theatre is a combination of having dinner in a restaurant and seeing a live show. That show may be a musical or a play; it can feature a one-man show by a recognized actor or recognized actors. The dinner menu is already selected and can be buffet style. For most people, particularly children, the opportunity of having dinner and seeing a show at the same time is few and far between, but a dinner theatre is a great introduction to the world of live entertainment. I like a dinner theatre better than a traditional dinner and a movie; a movie you should be quiet. There are different types of dinner theatres that kids can enjoy, and these different types introduce kids to different arenas within the visual arts such as medieval productions, comedy, mystery, musicals, drama or slapstick. I like mystery and comedy. Dinner theatre performances are not always in the evening, there are matinees for the littler ones who may not be able to stay up late.

Children's Dinner Theatre
Children's Dinner Theatre | Source

Up Close And Personal

A dinner theatre's guests are sometimes up close and personal with the actors and the props. Before you take your child to a children's dinner theatre, you may need to explain that the actors might be close to them or even touch them or ask them questions during the performance to get them involved. Smaller children that might be frightened by all the costumes and by being approached by a performer may need to have a family table not so close to the stage. My visit to a dinner theatre called for a member of the audience to sing, which was hilarious!


What Does A Dinner Theatre Have To Offer A Child?

Besides the fun of it all with the excitement of eating out, dinner theatres can offer a child the following:

  • An opportunity for a child to participate and become part of the cast as an audience participant.
  • The opportunity for a child to use their imagination to solve a mystery, if that's the performance.
  • A chance for a child to meet and greet the actors / performers, and also to take photos with them and get their autographs.
  • A chance for a child to keep part of a costume for being a willing participant.
  • Might pique a child's interest in acting classes.
  • A child might have the chance to win prizes such as free tickets or discount tickets, free food, or be entered in drawings.
  • A children's dinner theatre will sometimes give children's book performances such as Cinderella, Gulliver's Travel, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, etc.
  • Autographed photos of the performers.
  • A chance to see child performers in Kids Kabaret performances.

Decorated Dinner Table
Decorated Dinner Table | Source

Dining Etiquette For Children

Children's Dinner Theatre Occasions

Reasons to visit a children's dinner theatre:

  • Have a child's birthday party.
  • Have a child's high school graduation celebration.
  • Have a child's off to college celebration.
  • Have a child's welcome home party.
  • Have a child's celebration of health party (survivor of a life threatening illness).
  • Have a girls or boys night out.
  • Have a class outing.
  • Have a child's award dinner.
  • Children's Education Night.
  • Student Appreciation Evening.
  • Teacher Appreciation Evening.
  • Family Night Out.
  • To see a friend perform.
  • To see a fellow student perform.
  • Just for the love of theatre.


What type of Dinner Theatre do you enjoy?

See results

The Costs Of A Dinner Theatre

  • Dinner theatre costs include dinner, entertainment, theatre ticket, sales tax and gratuity.
  • There are discounts for students, children, staff, faculty, and senior citizens. Please remember that if you're a student or faculty to bring in your I.D. from school to obtain your discount.
  • Dinner theatres also have special discounts around specific holidays, so plan ahead.
  • There are also deep discounts if you make reservations way in advance.
  • Dinner theatres discount costs for larger groups, so get as many people as you can to join the outing.
  • Dinner just might be free for a birthday girl or boy - just ask before making reservations.
  • Make reservations, and please be mindful of cancellation policies.


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    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks James

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      What an awesome idea! I didn't know they had Dinner Theatres for children. Your writeup is most excellent and your photographs exquisitely beautiful. Thank you for this pleasure. :-)

    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Cardelean, Sesame Place sounds fun. I went with some children to a children's dinner theatre and we had a blast.

    • cardelean profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      This is a really great hub. I don't know of any children's dinner theaters in our area but I will have to look into it. When we visited Sesame Place this summer we had dinner with Elmo and friends. It wasn't really a theater but the characters walked around and visited with the guests and about every 15 minutes, a character would perform. It was fantastic.

    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Danette, as a child I never heard of a Dinner Theatre. It wasn't until I was in college and a Nanny that I experienced taking the children to Dinner Theatres - what a great time we had. I think every child should experience a Dinner Theatre. Thanks

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      When we moved to the St. Louis area, I found a theater that had a series of children's theater over the winter months. We took our children there for about 10 years. Sometimes it was participatory but more often than not it wasn't. I think this dinner theater idea for children sounds absolutely awesome and would have taken my kids if there had been that opportunity when they younger.

      I think children need to be exposed to live theater so they can see the difference between plays and movies. Voted up and interesting.

    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      rebecca, it would be a nice place to have a birthday party.

    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks JennDin, being served by the actors is really cool. I haven't had that happen yet, but I look forward to it.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very interesting! It would be an awesome event for a child's birthday. I will check it out. Bookmarked! For the granddaughters!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Dinner Theatre is a wonderful way to combine a meal and theatre into one evening. Any method of introducing children to theatre is fantastic. I have been to a couple of Dinner Theatres where the meal was in one room and we moved to a theatre setting for the entertainment. Some meals are also served by the actors which is an added bonus. A Dinner Theatre geared towards Children is a fantastic idea.


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