It’s ‘Nutcracker’ season at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, with a slew of kid-friendly events and performances
Photo above courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
One of Pittsburgh’s favorite traditions — Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s holiday production of “The Nutcracker” — is celebrating its 20th season of performing this classic show with choreography by former PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr.
The shows run from Dec. 9 through Dec. 28, featuring gorgeous costumes and set designs by Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown. The three-week run includes a range of special events, including two family-inclusive and sensory-friendly performances.
These programs for children of all ages, happening throughout November and December, include:
Sunday, Nov. 20: An Afternoon of Enchantment from the PBT School. This event includes ballet class samplings, performance excerpts, crafts, photo opportunities and more. Over the course of the afternoon, children can learn ballet basics, take home a “magical” craft project and get into the holiday spirit as they watch pre-professional students perform excerpts from Act II of “The Nutcracker.” Be on the lookout for appearances from the Sugar Plum Fairy and stop by the photo booth to capture memories with special “Nutcracker” characters. These activities and performances are inclusive for all audiences, including those with sensory sensitivities and individualized needs. Two sessions are offered. Get details and register here.
Sunday, Dec. 4: PBT School “Nutcracker” One-Day Workshop. Students and family members are invited to participate in a Nutcracker-themed ballet class. All are invited to dress festively, participate in a ballet class and learn a dance from “The Nutcracker.” This workshop is offered for ages 3-7 from 12:30-1:45. Register here.
Dec. 9-28: Sugar Plum Fairy Photos. The Sugar Plum Fairy will be returning for photos for the first time since 2019. Children can meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and take photos with her in the lower lobby at the Benedum Center before each show and during intermission. Physical photos will not be printed, but families will be able to capture memories with their own cameras or mobile phones. The event is free, but donations benefiting the PBT School are recommended, and thank-you gifts will be provided.
Friday, Dec. 9: In-Person Student Matinee. Teachers are encouraged to bring their classrooms to this student matinee happening at 11 a.m. on Dec. 9. Discount tickets and bus funding are available with professional development workshop attendance. Learn more at pbt.org/studentmatinee and register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, Dec. 9: Livestream Performance for students. Schools and homeschool groups who can’t make it to the theater can watch the 11 a.m. student matinee live online. Register at email@example.com.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Family Workshop. This event will take place at 12:45 p.m., prior to the afternoon matinee, and will include “Nutcracker” story time, crafts and more. Register here
Friday, Dec. 16 and Tuesday, Dec. 27: Sensory-Friendly Performances. These sensory-friendly, relaxed performances are offered for children (and adults) with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities or other individualized needs, and are open to all. By “relaxed,” PBT tells us they’re offering “a come-as-you-are atmosphere that is perfect for families with small children or those needing any kind of additional support. It is a judgment-free zone where theater staff and patrons accept (and expect) extra sound or movement in the audience and where we celebrate the myriad ways audience members can experience a live stage performance.” Get details here.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker” features five scenes, more than 150 costumes, 1,500 costume accessories and more than 100 artists from the professional company and PBT School. A Christmas tree that grows to 15 times its size, falling snow and more than 30 sleight-of-hand tricks created by a professional magician add to the fun.
“Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker is a magical experience for families year after year,” said PBT Acting Executive Director Kathryn Gigler. “The stunning costumes, beloved characters and Pittsburgh touches like the Kaufmann’s clock make it a holiday classic. We love performing this ballet, and can’t wait to see audiences back at the Benedum again this December!”