School Matinees


Make a lasting impression by expanding your classroom with a visit to the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Students, many having never seen live theatre before, come with wide-eyed wonder. When the lights dim, they see a favorite story in a new way, visit new lands, imagine lives different from their own, encounter new experiences, and grow.

We’re proud to offer a literature-based season and pleased to be your partner in creating a rich educational environment for your class. Through your visit to the Playhouse, students are encouraged to read, develop creative thinking skills, and be curious about their world.

What else makes the Playhouse visit unique?

  • The Playhouse provides short, 5-10 minute question-and-answer sessions immediately following each school matinee performance.
  • Each child attending the show receives P. Bill Jr., a program with background information on the book’s author as well as language arts exercises.
  • No student is more than 7 rows away from the stage in the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre. The Mainstage is also an intimate setting, with only 399 total seats.
  • Convenient, easy access parking on site.
  • Robin Spahr, education director, is your personal contact. She will take your reservation, answer any questions you have, and greet you and your students when you come to the theatre! Robin can be reached at 515-974-5365,

2019-20 School Matinee Schedule

James and the Giant Peach
Presented by Nationwide
Adventures this big don’t grow on trees!
Recently orphaned James Trotter finds himself free of his cruel and repulsive aunts. He escapes in a giant peach with some peculiar occupants, sailing halfway across the world, encountering danger and excitement every step of the way.
Recommended grades: Kindergarten-Grade 8
School matinee: 9:30 AM & Noon, Jan. 13-14, 2020
Public performances: Jan. 3-19, 2020

The Diary of Anne Frank
“Where there’s hope, there’s life.” – Anne Frank
In a powerful new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, Anne Frank emerges from history a living, lyrical, intensely gifted young girl, who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit, and determination. An impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic. This is a new adaptation for a new generation.
Recommended grades: Grades 6-12
School matinee: 9:30 AM, Feb. 3, 2020
Public performances: Jan. 24-Feb. 9, 2020

Tinker Bell
Do you believe in fairies? Because they believe in you!
Of all the stories told about Neverland, Tinker Bell’s has gone untold. Until now. Witness the origin of one of the most famous fairies in literature, from her first encounters with cherished children’s characters like Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Wendy Darling, to her triumph at the Battle for Neverland.
Recommended grades: Kindergarten-Grade 8
School matinee: 9:30 AM & Noon, Mar. 2-3, 2020
Public performances: Feb. 21-Mar. 8, 2020

Pippi Longstocking
Presented by Nationwide
Rules are made to be broken.
Her father is a pirate captain. Her mother is an angel. She does her own thing. Pippi Longstocking will always come out on top no matter who she’s up against, whether the head of the Child Welfare Board, naughty burglars, or thieves with an eye on her pirate gold
Recommended grades: Grades 1-8
School matinee: 9:30 AM & Noon, May 4-5, 2020
Public performances: Apr. 24-May 17, 2020

To make your reservations, contact Robin Spahr, education director, at 515-974-5365.

Reservations for Weekday Matinees
IT’S AS EASY AS 1, 2, 3

1. Count ’em up!
Groups of 15 or more are $7 per person for school matinees (Public performances offer group rates, but they are higher than school matinee prices.)
Reduced rates are available to students who receive free or reduced lunches. Please make requests for discounted tickets at the time of the reservation.

2. Get in touch!
Robin Spahr, education director, provides personal service to make your visit to the Playhouse an experience you and your students won’t forget! Our matinees sell out early, so call now!

3. Get the ball rollin’!
After your reservation we will send you an invoice. A deposit is due at that time and is required to hold your reservation. The full amount is due 30 days prior to the performance. If the amount is not paid, the tickets will be released. Depending on the availability of seating you may change your numbers up to 45 days prior to the performance. After that you will be financially responsible for the number you have reserved. Once tickets have been purchased, they are non-refundable. Performances typically last 90 minutes.


Educator Perks: The Inside Scoop

Workshops and Tours: To arrange an extended experience at the Playhouse, contact Robin Spahr, education director, at 515-974-5365.

Lunch Space: A limited number of rooms are available to schools needing space where students can eat a sack lunch. Space is subject to availability, and arrangements must be made in advance with Robin Spahr, education director, at 515-974-5365.


Evening/Weekend Events

Some classes have found attending an evening or weekend performance works better in schedules than a school matinee. Most children’s theatre productions have performances 7:00 PM Friday, and 1:00 PM  and 4:00 PM Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for groups of 15+ attending public performances are $16 for adults and $10 for students. Click here for a complete list of Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre shows.

High School drama, vocal music, and English classes can enjoy an evening or weekend trip to the Playhouse for our Mainstage shows. Tickets start at $25. Show times are 7:30 PM Wednesday-Saturday, and 2:00 PM Sunday. The Family Holiday Classic show times are 7:00 PM Wednesday-Friday, and 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM Saturday-Sunday. Click here for a complete list of Mainstage shows.

Group (15+) tickets for evening and weekend performances are available by contacting Debbie Jacobson, group sales director, at 515-277-6261.


Spotlight Literacy: Actors in the Classroom

Life-long readers are people who perceive significant benefit from reading literature. Young people learning to read and write benefit greatly from seeing their literature brought to life. Performing, creative drama, playwriting, discussion, and critical review are all ways in which children and adults alike can become involved on a personal level with theatre’s literature. It is our goal to provide a strong link between the page and stage.

  • For each of the shows in the season, we designate a Spotlight School. The deciding factor is usually the number of free or reduced priced tickets requested by a school.
  • Before the performance, actors from the show visit the classroom. They read from the book upon which the show is based, answer questions and give a copy of the book to each child, which is theirs to keep.
  • The children attend the show and receive P. Bill Jr., a program with language arts exercises.
  • After attending the show, the children write letters to the actors with a brief review and a couple of questions. About a week later, each child receives a written response from the actors.
  • Each season, we give away more than 500 books and 1000 letters pass back and forth between schoolchildren and our actors!

If you would like to be considered a Spotlight School, please contact Robin Spahr, education director, 515-974-5365, to inquire about this very special educational experience.


School Matinee Sponsors

Reduced ticket prices for students who qualify under free or reduced price lunch guidelines are made possible by:

  • Bravo Greater Des Moines
    • Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Des Moines, Grimes, Indianola, Johnston, Norwalk, Polk City, Polk County, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights
  • Kate Goldman Education Fund-named for long-time Des Moines Community Playhouse teacher and performer, Kate Goldman. In her memory, the Goldman family established a fund to ensure that theatre education is available to all, regardless of financial considerations.
  • Prairie Meadows
  • Variety – the Children’s Charity