If you’re a theater buff or enjoy going to plays or musicals, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term dinner theatre before. If you’ve heard about this before you may not know what it is or what it entails. Even if you haven’t heard about dinner theatre before, your in luck because this article gives you all the details.
As the name gives away, dinner theater is essentially dinner combined with or apart of a performance. It is live entertainment with a meal. Sometimes the meal takes place before the entertainment starts. While other times the meal goes along with the show. Dinner theatre aims to provide those in attendance with the feeling of immersion into the environment set up around them. Some venues even go as far as letting guest interact with and play as unique elements in the show.
No matter if the performance is taking place in the backdrop while guests enjoy their meals or the show is going on with the meal, the performers usually make it a point to interact with guests. Even if guests are not given the unique opportunity to play a part in the outcome of the show as mentioned above, they will most certainly interact with the live performers at one point or another. This makes dinner theatre a very special type of show and this is why many individuals enjoy it over regular stage performances.
The themes of dinner theatres are also as unique as the venue itself. Usually, the plays are low-budget performances that were too small to create a full show on stage, but that does not make them less enjoyable. Some popular themes of dinner theatre are murder mystery, drama, and comedy. Who wouldn’t enjoy a few laughs or gasps while enjoying a catered meal?
As history shows, the concept of dinner and a show dates back to the early middle ages. These shows usually served the meal in one room and the show in another room. As time went on dinner theatres gained more and more popularity during the Renaissance. It continued this way in Europe and eventually came to the United States. The first formal dinner theatres took place in the 1950s.
For a while, they were extremely popular. Then, they were replaced by other forms of entertainment like movies and drive-ins. Nowadays dinner and a show are very scarce and only a handful of venues still operate in the U.S. You will likely find amateur performances at your local community centers or high school fundraisers still trying to keep the experience alive.
While there are not many professional venues left for dinner theatre, it is not gone completely. There are some individuals who are still trying to keep this form of entertainment alive. Even though they may not be as popular as on stage plays or musicals, dinner theatre is a very unique experience. It can also be as enjoyable as any show you find on stage. If you can find a venue or performance around your area, I would take advantage of the unique opportunity to go to a dinner theatre and add it to your life experience checklist.