Nutcracker-Themed Events for Local Youth This Holiday Season

Children’s Activities Around The Nutcracker Enhance the Beloved Family Classic

November 16, 2022

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) will offer more than six different Nutcracker-themed programs for children of all ages throughout November and December. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will be presenting the holiday classic at the Benedum Center from Dec. 9-28.  Some of these activities take place at performances of The Nutcracker, while others are offered separately.  The children’s offerings include:

  • Afternoon of Enchantment from the PBT School - Sunday, November 20.  Spend an enchanting afternoon filled with ballet class samplings, performance excerpts, crafts, photo opportunities and more. Over the course of the afternoon children learn ballet basics, take home a magical craft and experience the wonder of the season as they watch Pre-Professional students perform excerpts from Act II of The Nutcracker. Be on the look-out for appearances from the Sugar Plum Fairy and stop by the photo booth to capture memories with special Nutcracker characters. The event includes activities and performances that are inclusive for all audiences and welcomes guests with sensory sensitivities and individualized needs.  Two sessions are offered.  Register here.
  • PBT School The Nutcracker One-Day Workshop - Sunday, December 4. 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.  The workshop will be offered for ages 3-7 from 12:30-1:45.  Register here.
  • Sugar Plum Fairy Photos - December 9- December 28.  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.  
  • In-Person Student Matinee TheNutcracker Performance - Friday, December 9. Teachers are encouraged to bring their classrooms to a student matinee performance of The Nutcracker to experience the magic of live theater! The performance is at 11a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. Tickets are available at a discounted price and bus funding is available with professional development workshop attendance. Registration:
  • Livestream Student The Nutcracker Performance - Friday, December 9. Experience the magic and wonder of The Nutcracker ballet from your classroom! Schools and homeschool groups who can’t make it to the theater for our in-person performance can watch the student matinée live online.  The livestream is available for the live performance only at 11:00 a.m.; it will not be recorded for later viewing. Registration:
  • The Nutcracker Family Workshop - Saturday, Dec. 10.   This event will take place at 12:45 p.m., prior to the afternoon matinée.  The event will include Nutcracker story time, crafts and more for kids and families! Register here
  • Sensory-Friendly Performances - Friday, Dec. 16 and Tuesday, Dec. 27.  These sensory-friendly performances are offered for children (and adults) with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities or other individualized needs. These are relaxed performances that are open to all. By “relaxed” we mean 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. More information here.

“We’re so happy to offer such a variety of family-friendly activities in conjunction with The Nutcracker this year,” said PBT Acting Executive Director Kathryn Gigler.  “These programs will complete the fun-filled holiday experience that The Nutcracker provides for children across the Pittsburgh area.”

In this distinctly Pittsburgh production of a holiday classic, PBT’s The Nutcracker follows Marie, her Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy on a journey into the Land of Enchantment. This is the 20th year that Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will be performing The Nutcracker based on the choreography and concept by former PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr.  The annual production also features Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score as well as costume and set designs by Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown. It’s a can’t miss holiday tradition.

The company’s production of The Nutcracker features five scenes, over 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 over 30 sleight of hand tricks created by a professional magician add to the production’s enchantment.

Ticket Information

Single tickets start at $29 and are available at or 412-456-6666. Subscription packages start at $84 at or 412-454-9107 and offer subscriber benefits and 20% savings over single tickets. Groups of eight or more save up to 50% at PBT's new flex passes allow you to enjoy ballet your way! Purchase 4, 6, 8 or 10 passes now and use them at any time, at any performance in any seat (zones 1-4 only). Enjoy subscriber prices and benefits while having complete flexibility over your ballet experience. Detailed information about the theater’s COVID-19 protocols – including mask and vaccine requirements – is available at Find a full list of performance times here.

About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is one of the best-known ballets of all time, based on German author E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The first ballet adaptation premiered in 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. PBT has performed versions of The Nutcracker since the 1970s and presented Orr’s Pittsburgh-inspired interpretation since 2002.

PBT’s version opens with a Christmas Eve party in early 20th-century Shadyside, where a gift from mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer sparks an adventure for young Marie Stahlbaum.

The story unfolds through classical dancing, ranging from the ethereal Snow Scene to the virtuosic dances of the Land of Enchantment. The choreography culminates with a grand pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier before the story returns to the Stahlbaum home, leaving Marie to wonder, “Was it all a dream?” 

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker is generously sponsored by Highmark, Giant Eagle and Clearview.

Theater Programs

Audience members are invited to join PBT online and at the theater for a series of pre- and post-show programs. Find a full listing here.  

Accessibility Programs

PBT will offer audio-described performances of The Nutcracker, featuring live narration for patrons with blindness or low vision, on Fri., Dec. 16 at 2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 18 at noon and Tue., Dec. 27 at 2 p.m. Patrons should visit Guest Services before the show for assistance and can find additional information about accessibility services at

Coming Up Next in the 2022-2023 Season:

  • Dracula:  February 10-12 at the Benedum Center
  • The Masters Program with the PBT Orchestra:  April 14-16 at the Benedum Center
  • The Sleeping Beauty with the PBT Orchestra: May 19-21 at the Benedum Center

About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has been Pittsburgh’s premier professional ballet company since 1969. Today, PBT is a nationally recognized ballet company of 35 professional dancers, a training institution for over 1,200 students of all ages, and an incubator for education and accessibility programs in classrooms, libraries and community centers throughout the region. The company performs a wide-ranging repertoire of classical ballets, contemporary masterworks and new commissions in more than 50 performances annually at home and on tour.