How to Immerse Your Children in St. Louis Theatre

This week, St. Louis’ largest outdoor theatre, The Muny, is presenting a wild and whimsical production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Featuring a host of singing, dancing school kids and a magical lead character, it’s the perfect way to wrap up summer with your little ones. It’s also a great way to introduce kids to an amazingly imaginative and diverse art form. Incorporating dance, music, art, engineering, design, and so much more, theatre is medium in which any kid can find a place to imagine, play, and grow. Lucky for us, St. Louis has a host of theatre companies that each provide unique opportunities to explore the world of the stage. 


The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

For 53 years, The Rep has been St. Louis’ premier live theatre, complete with family performances and offerings both on stage and off. Join them for a performance by Imaginary Theatre Company, their children’s troupe, which brings shows for all ages to the stage from October through April. Your whole family will enjoy The Elves and the Shoemaker at holiday time, and there’s a special sensory friendly performance of The Ant and the Grasshopper in November, so every kid can feel welcome and safe in the theatre. And older kids will love Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, or a free backstage tour where they can see the professional dressing rooms, costume shop, crafts space (where they build puppets!) and much more. 

Stages St. Louis

If you have a budding performer in the house, Stages St. Louis is the place for you. Stages has a whole performing arts academy, complete with classes, private lessons and camps for kids of all ages and interests. Unique to the area, Stages also has the Access the Arts program, with classes, workshops and performance opportunities that enable area youth with special physical, cognitive or developmental needs to fully participate in the musical theatre arts. And the stages Triple Threat Teens group is for the really serious performers. Remember Kennedy Holmes—the awesome St. Louis teen who made it to the finals on last season of The Voice? She got her start at Stages. 

Metro Theater Company

With three different shows a season and a host of different workshops both in and out of schools, Metro Theater Company is just for kids. They only produce work for children, and they do it with just as much passion and professionalism as theatre for adults. Metro has performances and programs for kids starting as early as pre-school, and they specialize in bringing new work to the stage. In recent years they’ve presented shows with messages about bullying, racism, immigration and the environment, in ways even the youngest theatergoer can understand.


Don’t live in St. Louis? Don’t worry—there is a theatre company or a school near you where your kids can discover the magic of theatre. Take them to a performance, let them play dress-up, help them build a set out of cardboard or write their own play, and watch as their little imaginations soar. 

The Ant and The Grasshopper image courtesy of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
Preview image of performers on stage by Irfan Widyan.